Village News, 6/3/21

Dear Village Neighbor / Friend,

Help  Bob! My computer went off the tracks this morning and I don't know how to get it back. So, sending this via gmail and hoping Mr. Havey, the Computer Whisperer can put it back the way it was (again)

1. Calendar:
  • 11 June - Last Day of School
  • 20 June – Father’s Day
  • 14 October – Village Meeting, 7:30 PM, vote to Ratify FY21 Audit Report, vote to pass a FY22 Budget Proposal with markups if needed and vote to elect new Board of Directors.
2. Covid-19 – Those who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are encouraged to continue wearing a mask. Click here https://vaccinefinder.org to find who has which vaccine and to schedule an appointment to include for those 12+.

3. CAWSV Signs – At our last meeting, it was recommended that we invest in yard signs to help all know that we do have a citizens’ association representing the majority interest of our village and also Rolling Valley subdivision north of us. Thanks to Don & Bob Cheney’s R & D Stamp & Sign Company we now have them and looking for certain yards to put the signs in so that our neighbors will see one or more. There are certain homes that have cars stop at intersections in front of their home and homes that have more traffic heading to school or to/from work. Are you willing to put one of the signs in your yard? I hope to provide a sign for you to display now and then from now (you decide when) until 1 November when I’d pick them up back up for storage.

 
4. Neighbor Lady Needs Help – Woody Weir (7903 Springfield Village Drive) reports that his elderly, over-the-backyard-fence neighbor had several trees cut down a couple years back, but could not afford to have the cut trees hauled away. Now they need to be removed, but some of it is well seasoned for anyone needing free firewood. The rest will need to be hauled to the dump’s incinerator.

Calling young men, scouts, church groups or just a bunch of us wanting to help others – who wants to be a part of this? And, do you have a pickup that we can use? Woody is our point of contact and can be reached at 703/400-4947 for text or call; woody.weir@gmail for email.

Best way to see the job and if the wood is something you may want is from Woody’s 7903 SVD backyard.

Full disclosure here – the lady’s property backs up to our village, but in another community. Does that change her need for help or should it affect our willingness to help her? No!

5. Who do They RepresentI certainly hope most of us have submitted or will submit comments about certain issues to the elected members of County Board of Supervisors (BOS) and the School Board. It seems that we elect them and they forget us; certainly don't listen to our public input to the decision process.

The BOS just passed another budget with another marked increase in Real Estate (RE) taxes we’ll pay. That was the second such budget passed during the pandemic with RE tax increases. Sure, they’ll boast about actually lowering the residential tax levy, but our taxes continue northward! Did any of you support their plan? We did have one BOS representative vote no.

Couple that with the zMod changes to county code and makes me wonder what are they doing and why? zMod now allows an additional living unit (apartment) in each of our homes and also allows for an administrative approval (no public input) of home based businesses. No citizens’ groups asked for this and none spoke or wrote in favor of these proposals; no civic associations (certainly not ours), no homeowners associations, no district councils and not even the Fairfax Federation of Citizens Associations. But still the BOS passed them into the code with only 3 supervisors listening to their constituents and voting “No”.

And now, another group of elected representatives, the Fairfax County Public School Board has invested in equity education and critical race theory that may actually hold back certain groups for the sake of others due to what they believe are socio-economic conditions that exist outside the classroom. Can those conditions be fixed by a school board? Were you parents of school aged children invited into that conversation? Hopefully all of you with school aged children provided feedback pro or con to the FCPS Board. Below is a synopsis of one family’s response.  

“My concern is that FCPS seems to be focusing on equal OUTCOMES, rather than attempting to guarantee equal opportunity. But even this focus is broadly/loosely "defined".  It seems that the main proof for these "inequities" in our schools is that too few "minority students" (which basically means kids who aren't Asian) are enrolled in or taking advanced classes, or scoring as well on standardized tests. This focus on outcomes however is misguided, because it seems to assume that every student is getting the same amount of preparation, enrichment and reinforcement, or that every student receives the same amount of parental engagement and support, which is not the case. 
 
It is this quest for "equity" that leads to mistaken decisions such as the recent proposals to reshape our math curriculum, and once again changing the TJ enrollment standards. I remember back in the late 80's-90's that the TJ admissions procedures were judged by some to be unfair...so when they moved to a greater reliance on the test there was much rejoicing (at the time). While doing a quick search, I stumbled across this article from an education blog called "Education Next" that talks about the quest for diversity at TJ over the years that you should find interesting: A Stubborn Excellence Gap.
 
My concern is that I question whether the pursuit of "equity" (as seems to be defined by FCPS) is fundamentally compatible with the goal of encouraging and fostering academic excellence.  Based on what is being stated in professional development sessions, the focus on ensuring each student has the tools to achieve is NOT what FCPS considers "equity"...rather, they seem to be focused on the OUTCOME. To simplify it, rather than make sure our kids are at the same starting line in the race, they're looking at the finish line. 

There seems to be conflicting information concerning the math curriculum in their plan.  Moving forward, are ALL 9th & 10th graders going to be pushed into a one-size-fits-all math class by grade?  I thought I saw another quote by a DOE spokesman saying that existing classes would continue to be offered, but if that's the case, then what's the point of these new courses? 
 
However, I believe that even that noble pursuit is not totally achievable within the scope of FCPS.  While there are certainly actions/measures that FCPS can and should take to make sure our students' fundamental baseline needs are met (Getting kids breakfast in the morning, monitoring for signs of child abuse or neglect), there are families and parents that invest in outside enrichment and education programs for their kids well beyond their regular schoolwork that FCPS cannot replicate.  (I mean, is FCPS really going to tell parents that they can't enroll their kid in a summer STEM camp?)
 
It has been difficult to follow these new developments since there tends to not be a lot of sunlight on FCPS' actions. Case in point would be redistricting...I think I saw it mentioned early on when the "One Fairfax" policy was introduced, but after some degree of controversy I think the School Board dumped it off on an outside body for "study". I suspect this is a way for FCPS to wash their hands of any accountability if/when (surprise, surprise) the recommendation comes back in favor of it. 
 
There are a number of disturbing trends and movements that have or are taking hold in FCPS that I question if they really are doing our students any favors.  My frustration is that I feel like even when I voice my dissent, at the end of the day the Board is going to do what the Board is going to do."

I am happy to share opposing views on this issue, but thought this family's response could be cut, pasted and changed to your personal format if you want to comment.

Look at their voting records on just these three issues before we vote again.
 
6. Featured Directory Advertiser – Windows Plus – 4321 Markham Street, Annandale, VA 22003 – with decades of field experience in windows, doors, siding and roofs – they offer energy efficient products that will protect you home. They are superior in performance and honest in pricing. Contact them at 703/256-0600 and if you do – thank them for their ad in our village directory.

7. Help Needed - ECHO needs summertime help with their Backpack Program. ECHO will distribute up to 1300 backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies to children of families experiencing financial hardship. Volunteers will organize donated supplies and to fill the backpacks for distribution later in the summer. Must be over 13 years old; those under 18 will need a permission form signed by a parent. Work sessions will be at ECHO on Mondays and Thursdays from 1:30 - 5:00 PM, beginning 8 July to 26 August. You may sign up for a single or multiple sessions. Interested? Email madehart@aol.com and include:  1) the age of the volunteer and 2) the dates they are interested in helping.

Some permanent volunteer positions are now also open:  
  • Donation Door greeters who could commit two mornings per month on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays;
  • Clothing volunteers who could commit  two mornings per month on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays;  
  • Family Counselors who would work directly with clients one morning per week.  (Current counselors will train new volunteers;)  
  • Backpack Program Co-Chair to order supplies, directing volunteers, and keeping program records.
  • Diaper Buyer to purchase diapers once a week using ECHO credit card.   
Those interested in permanent volunteer positions should email Volunteercoordinator@echo-inc.org for more information.

8. Ice Cream Social Fundraiser - The Workhouse Ceramics Ice Cream Social Fundraiser is back for 2021!  Saturday, June 5, 12 – 4 PM on the quad at the Workhouse Arts Center (workhousearts.org).  For $20 you can select a fabulous handmade ceramic bowl and have it filled with ice cream (TBH, it's an ice cream novelty this year). At the same time, The Workhouse Community Market Celebrating Cultural Diversity will also be going on (10 AM – 2 PM) and at 1:30 there will be a performance by The Great Zucchini for the kids.  If that's not enough, the new Lucy Burns Museum and all the galleries will also be open 11 AM – 5 PM.  

Take care, stay safe & healthy!

John Cooley, CAWSV
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