Andi on the Issues

Education - The Top Priority

An excellent education is the best gift we can give to our children. It lays the foundation on which they can build the rest of their lives. As parents, taxpayers, and community members, it is our common duty to ensure that our public schools provide every child with a rigorous educational opportunity so they can reach and maximize their individual potential. 

 

We must also acknowledge that parents are the first and foremost educators in a child’s life. As such, every parent has a right to be informed about what their child is learning in school. It is the responsibility of our schools to effectively and openly communicate with all parents to ensure they are able to not only engage but provide oversight in their child’s education process. Given that over 200 languages are now spoken by the families in Fairfax County, our schools must be extra diligent in their efforts to communicate.​

 

Unfortunately in Fairfax County — as in school districts across our great Nation — our School Board has been more focused on adopting the agendas of various special interest groups and granting these groups access and control over our school policy and curricula. As a result, our schools have strayed from the academic foundations that are critical to the success of our children, and have instead become tools for pushing partisan politics and secondary priorities.  

Parental Involvement & Oversight

As a mother of three daughters (ages 26, 22 and 16) — as well as a former teacher and substitute teacher, PTA president, room mom, school volunteer (for over 20 years), religious education teacher, and now a private tutor (for 15 years) — I know the importance of a having parents involved in the education process.   

 

As an elected member on the Fairfax County School Board, I will work to ensure that all parents have the opportunity to help their child succeed, feel both valued and respected, and be safe. 

The FCPS Budget

In Fairfax County, 53% of every county tax dollar you pay in personal property and real estate goes to funding our Fairfax County Public Schools. Specifically, this money is transferred to FCPS from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS).

 

This year’s (FY 2019-2020) FCPS annual operating budget is $3 BILLION DOLLARS. As shown in the second chart below, the portion of FCPS’ budget that is provided by your local/county tax dollars accounts for a little over 71% of the total budget.

 

The next major portion (16.6%) of the budget comes from the state of Virginia. However, because Fairfax County is relatively wealthy, our schools only get back about 17 cents of every dollar. The rest of the budget comes from sales tax (7.2%), reserves (3.8%), the City of Fairfax (1.6%), federal aid (1.5%), as well as carry-over and a few minor sources. 

 

Sadly, since the year 2000, Personal Property Taxes have increased by 176%, while household income has only increased by 44% and inflation by 57%. During this same period, FCPS’s student population has only increased by 24%.

Technology in the Classroom

Over the past dozen years, educational instruction in Fairfax County (and across the country) has become increasingly digitized as FCPS and other school districts have rushed to purchase online textbooks, incorporate cell phones, and now dole out laptops to every student. Yet the most important question of: “Is this what’s academically, physically, socially, and emotionally best for our students?” has been either ignored or glossed over. 

 

As for academic results from going digital, they’re actually abysmal, with academic performance slipping in most of the districts that have made the costly investment. Indeed, all across the country — in Baltimore, Boston, Fort Wayne (IN), and Austin (TX) — parents are demanding proof technology works as an educational tool and insisting on limits. They’re demanding their schools offer low or screen-free classrooms, picketing board meetings, and demanding more information about what data is being collected on their students via the technology. 

 

Today, we even have research that suggests too much screen time can actually: 1) impair learning, and 2) delay motor, communication, and problem-solving skills in children. One study even concluded that as little as 2 hours or screen time per day could significantly lower test scores.

The Truth Behind 'One Fairfax'

"One Fairfax" is the ‘policy’ that both the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and Fairfax County School Board (FCBS) adopted in 2017 to “guide all of the County’s decisions.” 

 

But what exactly is "One Fairfax"? No one really knows!  And those who claim to know cannot provide real answers.  

 

I attended the November 2017 school board meeting at which they adopted this policy. Ever since, I’ve spoken out about One Fairfax, and have even condemned its nefarious creation, misconceptions, and intentional AMBIGUITY that render complete AUTHORITARIAN power to both our BOS and FCSB.

   

To be sure, this Policy is full of nice-sounding words all strung together with no real discernible meaning. Yet a recent article openly discusses the origins of One Fairfax, as well as its real purpose within our County.

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Dunn Loring, VA 22027

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Email: andi@andrea4schoolboard.com

 

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