The Right Note is a biweekly opinion column. The views expressed are solely the author’s.
In response to School Board Member Reid Goldstein’s column yesterday, let’s talk about schools in Arlington.
First, here are some numbers to provide some perspective. The FY 2021 adopted budget was set to spend $670.3 million. When it was passed, the School Board projected enrollment at 29,142 — an increase of 1,122. The total cost per student was projected to be $23,001.
The official count for our closed school buildings enrollment on September 30th was actually 26,895 — a decrease of 1,125. The total cost per student for this school year is actually $24,923. Few school districts in the country match the resources of Arlington Public Schools.
Instead of talking about how the school board intended to use these resources to solve the current COVID challenges, Mr. Goldstein’s spent 710 words opining on the current buzzword on the left — “equity.” In fact, he did not mention COVID once in the entire piece. It reads as if it was written in January 2020, not January 2021.
At the end, Mr. Goldstein sums it up with these words, “Equity is the path to equality of opportunity for our students.” Providing equality of opportunity for our students is certainly something Mr. Goldstein can find agreement on across party lines. So how should we go about it?
Here are a couple simple suggestions for where Mr. Goldstein and the School Board can start.
Suggestion number one: Outline a plan to get our kids back to school in person as soon as possible.
Last spring, many of our kids received virtually no instruction between March and June. Teachers were not allowed to teach new curriculum. Grades were not given for the fourth quarter, not even on a pass fail basis. Assignments and class attendance were essentially optional.
Over the summer, parents were told our children would be able to return to school to begin the academic year. Then we were told it would be later in the fall. Then we were told it would be for the second semester. Now it looks increasingly unlikely that it will happen at all. The stress of the past three academic quarters is highest on parents who do not have the luxury of working from home during this pandemic.
There is no doubt that some children from all socio-economic backgrounds are not faring as well at learning in a virtual environment, and some are regressing. Studies show the academic results are the worst for the children who Mr. Goldstein professes to be the most concerned about.
After 10 months of virtual learning, certainly APS should have figured out how to return to the classroom by now. And the scientific studies suggest it can be done safely. It should be priorities one, two, and three.
Suggestion number two: Stop making excuses.
Mr. Goldstein suggests that Arlington County policies on density may be the reason our children are not receiving the equality of opportunity they deserve. However, APS is spending nearly $25,000 to educate each child in the county this year. And Arlington taxpayers have been funding our school system at generous levels for years.
If our current Arlington School Board cannot figure out how to achieve equality of opportunity with these funding levels, maybe we need new school board members?
Mark Kelly is a long-time Arlington resident, former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village