Ricardy Anderson: Making "One Fairfax" a Reality

"Every student should have access to grade-appropriate assignments, strong instruction, deep engagement, and teachers with high expectations, every day, in every class—regardless of their race, ethnicity, or any other part of their identity. Every student and family is an authentic partner and should have real opportunities to shape the experiences students have in school, receive accurate and accessible information about students’ progress, and have a legitimate role in decision-making." These are the two commitments that school leaders should make according to TNTP, an organization in the United States that advocates equity in education. These commitments have been drawn from a study across several districts in the country that unfortunately show minority children, English language learners, and those who qualify for free or reduced lunch are given "watered down content even when they take rigorous course sequences."

Reading this report makes it even clearer why we need school leaders who believe in every child.. Reading this report shows why it is necessary that we choose leaders for our schools who are themselves part of the school. What is happening inside our schools needs our attention so that correct policies can be implemented. Formal reports can be misleading if we ourselves are not directly observing the classrooms. We need leaders who know what students are actually learning inside their classrooms. We need leaders who are committed to having high expectations for every child inside a classroom.

A student's success based on the study by TNTP hinges on the following four factors:

1. Consistent opportunities to work on GRADE-APPROPRIATE ASSIGNMENTS
2. STRONG INSTRUCTION, where students do most of the thinking in a lesson
3. DEEP ENGAGEMENT in what they’re learning
4. Teachers who hold HIGH EXPECTATIONS for students and believe they can meet grade-level standards

Of the above four, teachers holding high expectations turns out to be the factor that has the strongest impact on student learning.

I just came from a campaign kick-off of Ricardy Anderson who aspires to become our district representative to the Fairfax County School Board. Her platform starts with:

I want to make One Fairfax a reality for Mason Kids by equitably equipping our teachers and staff with needed resources to facilitate the delivery of personalized and individualized instruction to students in 21st century facilities.

In her speech, she made this clear by citing that Jefferson High School is not the only school in Fairfax that deserves a working science laboratory. All high schools deserve 21st century facilities. She also notes that disciplinary actions in the schools require our attention as these are often purely punitive and inequitable especially when underprivileged students as well as those who are in special education are frequently on the receiving end of suspensions and detentions.

Ricardy can easily relate to what TNTP is talking about in its report, The Opportunity Myth She has been an educator for the past twenty years. She has been a teacher. She has been a principal. But most importantly, she is a parent of two children who are currently enrolled in our schools.

Everyone can easily pick up the slogan "One Fairfax" but very few really understand what it takes for our county to be equitable and why it is really important that we do become one. For Ricardy, this crystallizes in the awareness that every child has been entrusted to schools, and as a parent, Ricardy expects every child to be given ample opportunity to succeed and develop into productive citizens for the county. "One Fairfax" is still a dream and we need people like Ricardy to make this dream come true.

Dr. Ricardy Anderson
in her campaign kick-off for Fairfax County School Board