Concerned by a rising tide of ideology among school board candidates, Fairfax County Board Chairman Sharon Bulova is cautioning voters not to “mistake ideology for ideas or soundbites for sound policy.”
Bulova apparently was responding to allegations by some candidates that the 177,000-student county school system shortchanges affluent students by providing assistance to impoverished children as well as those with special needs, including language differences.
“The Fairfax County School Boardâ€™s responsibility is to educate all students at all schools despite differing socioeconomic backgrounds,” Bulova said. “It has long been school policy to tailor resources to fit the needs of individual students and schools so that all Fairfax County students are given the tools they need to succeed.
“The allegation that this policy is somehow unfair to affluent students is offensive.”
Bulova noted that Fairfax County schools are consistently among the highest-performing in the nation and said the county’s school system is the reason most often cited by families and businesses for locating in Fairfax County.
“With so much change coming to the school board this year, we must be careful not to mistake ideology for ideas or soundbites for sound policy,” she said.
Bulova did not name any specific candidates whose campaigns had sparked her concern.
“After the November 8 election, the Fairfax County School Board will count among its members at least six new leaders. What kind of leaders will they be? Will they offer pragmatic, thoughtful solutions to the problems they face? Will they serve their community by using their experience and knowledge to craft policy? Or will they instead use a political playbook that will produce gridlock instead of progress?” Bulova asked.
“Will they owe their allegiance to party instead of community? These are the questions we must answer in the coming weeks,” she said.
Bulova, a Democrat, faces challenger Michael “Spike” Williams, a Republican without previous experience in public office.