Congratulations to Ricardy Anderson for winning the nomination of the Mason District Democratic Committee for a seat in the Fairfax County School Board. In Anderson's address to the Mason District community, she also thanked Jessica Swanson for running a great race and for her service to Mason District. Swanson did bring something valuable to this election, her advocacy and experience, and I only hoped that Anderson would pick some of the things Swanson mentioned during last night's election. One particular item was in response to a question regarding making a choice between having one full time advanced academic resource teacher in each school or having one additional full time head-start teacher. With limited resources, the school board does have to make the choice. And in Swanson's response, she stated that our budget must reflect our values. Swanson advocates for early childhood education especially for low income children thus, it was straightforward her to make the choice - one head-start teacher to fill the very much needed slots for early childhood education for low-income children in our schools. After all, this is where the academic achievement gap begins. This choice is in fact very relevant at this point. Retiring school board member Sandy Evans wrote this as one of the main priorities of the board's budget in her recent newsletter, "Funding a 1.0 position for Advanced Academic Resource Teachers at all our Title I schools, most of which now have only a 0.5 position". On the other hand, candidate for board chairman, Alicia Pierhoples writes, "17,000 low-income children are eligible for pre-K in FCPS but the Board has only added 36 new pre-K slots in the FY20 budget." With limited resources, we do need to pay attention to our priorities.
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