Basic Education Is Supposed to Be NonPartisan

Elections are coming soon both here in Fairfax county and in the Philippines. In our district, April 24 is an important date. On the evening (7 pm - 9pm) of this day at Annandale High School, members of the Mason District Democratic Committee will decide whom to endorse to take the Mason District seat in the Fairfax County School Board. Yes, only members of the Mason District Democratic will get to decide. That is about 300 individuals deciding for the thousands and thousands of children enrolled in the public schools at Mason District. The endorsement from the Democratic Committee since this basically decides who will win in the November election. It sure brings an exclamation to an opinion raised by Jay Spiegel at The Connection;
"School Board elections are required to be non-partisan. While this is technically true, it is actually a fiction."
Becoming a school board member, however, requires more than rubbing elbows with the right people. Just read what one of the candidates says:

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Having spent almost a year in two committees at Fairfax County public schools, having spent time with fellow parents on soccer fields, and having the opportunity to listen to some students, I know some of the pressing issues schools in our county face. There is inequity. There is a lingering and even increasing stratification of schools. Opportunities are often available only to those who can afford to engage themselves in the learning of their children. There is gross under-representation of minorities, English language learners and low-income families in the county's advanced academic programs although these programs enroll a number that is at least an order of magnitude higher than what one would expect from sheer giftedness. There is likewise disparity in disciplinary measures. Here, the opposite is true, minorities, low-income and special education children tend to receive more suspensions and detentions. Resources are not evenly distributed given the stark contrast between the facilities of Thomas Jefferson High School and the other high schools in the district. These issues urgently need to be addressed. Yet, parents whose children are adversely affected by inequity are more likely to be not engaged in school policies. These parents often have to work and cannot attend meetings. These parents are often less vocal since some of them cannot even communicate in English. These parents are not likely to be among the 300 individuals who will decide later this month on who will be the next school board member from Mason District.

Being nonpartisan is certainly fiction. Being less likely to be representative, however, is a sadder fact.


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