FCPS Needs to do More for Special Ed
FCPS needs to do better in Special Education. At recent events, parents of special needs children discussed the services they received and how COVID virtual learning affected their children academically and emotionally. The School Board's decision to extend virtual learning longer than other Virginia school districts particularly affected our special needs students.
A 2021-2022 Special Education report showed FCPS missed state English/Reading and Math benchmarks for 8th graders and high school students. Some parents choose private or homeschooling over public school due to inadequate services and academics. However, with the rising cost of living, many parents can't afford that.
FCPS is facing legal action over this issue. WTOP reports,
"Thousands of students are entitled to the compensatory services after a federal investigation revealed that Virginia’s largest school system failed to offer a sufficient education to thousands of students with disabilities during the pandemic.” Families have received $5.5 million from the County. That is a lot of tax money to fix something that shouldn't have happened. FCPS will spend approximately $690 million on Special Education in Fiscal Year 2024, up 9.5% from FY2023. Additional funding is a good start for FCPS's Special Education, but will it be enough?
As your School Board member, I will push for an FCPS program audit to identify duplicative and inefficient spending and find ways to allocate more funding to students and instruction. We need a new School Board that prioritizes and supports Special Education.
Early voting started last Friday, and I voted at the Fairfax County Government Center because I will be traveling through Fairfax County on Election Day.
I also stopped by the Mount Vernon and Reston sites to greet voters. I am happy to report that voter enthusiasm is up, and they want change on the School Board.
On a final note, I want to update you on FCPS’s interesting explanation on the recently released SOL test results. The numbers are disappointingly low as I wrote in a previous newsletter, linked here. FCPS described the recent results as "remain steady and in line with state and local post pandemic data trends." The underperformance is actually significant and counter to the reputation that Fairfax County has great schools.
This is a good example of why I am running -- to break the groupthink that has captured this School Board and school administration, thanks to one-party rule. The Democrats are recycling candidates who were instrumental in the sad state of our public education system today.
We need change and balance on the School Board. I am not afraid to stand up to the status quo and tell FCPS that we can do better.