Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Stark differences between the Mount Vernon District School Board Candidates

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Stark differences between the Mount Vernon District School Board Candidates

Having recently heard different candidates for public office on the upcoming election and reading online campaign content, I found the contrast between, Karen L. Corbett Sanders supported by Democrats and Steven D. Mosley supported by Republicans significant.

Our democracy must remain the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and our nation's diversity is our promise, not our problem. … Mount Vernon citizens know that society must foster basic decency: good parenting, respect for law, and tolerance for all. The contempt and animosity of virtue politics aimed at groups through campaign rhetoric focuses on school boundaries and underperforming schools as proxies for issues of class and race. Dividing citizens only undermines the social cohesion necessary for the universal social provision of our schools.

I believe candidate Sanders message is one of unity. Candidate Sanders is firmly universalist and oriented toward social conditions rather than individual attributes. She unites citizens as advocates for social equity by looking to expand the rights and opportunities of students, parents and educators and to overcome biases that harm our students, schools and communities. Equity in education is the cornerstone of her efforts on behalf of our youth and schools. Her opponent favors introducing charter schools to Fairfax County. Who is to say the charter schools will be better than the existing schools in the area? Charter schools [often] do not provide teachers with the same benefits as public schools, ... and they lack the oversight public schools have.

A study on Charter Schools by the National Education Association in 2017 issued a report card on such schools in all 50 states. The 63 Virginia based charter schools received a grade of D and a mediocre rating. Fairfax County is a top school system in Virginia. How does bringing a caliber of schools with only a D grade and mediocre rating improve an already highly ranked school system? ...

For youth to succeed in today's scientifically sophisticated world, students need a sound education in science. Today's fast-growing and high-paying jobs require a familiarity with the core concepts, applications, and implications of science. To make informed decisions about public policies, people need to know how scientific evidence supports those policies and whether that evidence was gathered using well-established scientific practice and principles.

Candidate Sanders promotes the ideals and goals of our public schools that support high quality science education. She recognizes that our youth are sharing a common experience, a common fate, and common values all of which will strengthen our schools and communities into the future. Social equity politics is behind the New Deal, the abolition and civil rights movements, and equal rights for women. ...

Martin Tillett

Mount Vernon