The race for the at-large seat on the Fairfax County School Board (VA) is heating up. The special election is August 29 and we need to make sure every Democrat in Fairfax gets out to vote for Democrat Karen Keys-Gamarra (who introduced herself here). Please spread the word!
1. Karen supports the successful student-led effort to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School. In the wake of Charlottesville, this takes on added importance. If the poisonous hatred, the loss of innocent life, the ugliness and violence and pain of what we saw doesn’t show us the harm in commemorating these traitors to our country, then what will? 78% of the children who attend J.E.B. Stuart High are African-American, Asian-American, or Latino/Hispanic-American, but no child should grow up believing these important figures in our history are to be honored. Studied, yes, but not honored.
Chris Grisafe, Karen’s Republican opponent, thinks it costs too much money to spare children the
pain and humiliation of attending a school named to honor the memory of a man who killed and died in order to oppress their ancestors. This is from a press release:
The cost estimates associated with the name change have ranged between $700,000 up to $1 million. The Fairfax County School Board faces very public budget challenges each year with the Board of Supervisors,” Grisafe added, “so maintaining trust with stakeholders is essential when demonstrating priorities in the $2.8 billion budget. What kind of Pandora’s Box has the School Board opened and what could other name changes cost the county in the future?”
Oh my, oh me! Slippery slope! Whee, whee!
You know, what everyone forgets about Pandora’s Box (which was really a jar, but never mind), is that one good remained in it and didn’t escape with the evils: Hope. Hope is always with us, so we can HOPE that some day soon we will consider it an incalculable good to confront our racist and oppressive past and present and lance the boil.
2. Karen Keys-Gamarra is the better-qualified candidate: she is a lawyer with years of experience working as a guardian ad litem representing at-risk children in court, with three sons graduated from Fairfax County public schools. She has served on the Planning Commission where she had to deal with complex budgets — unlike some people. Read on.
Her opponent does not have that close experience with the Fairfax schools and has lived in the area for only a decade. More to the point has this to say about budgets:
The budget presentation is too difficult to understand, even for me who has an MBA. It must be made accessible and readable at the 8th grade level because most parents and citizens don’t have the time to drill down into the details.
Eighth-grade level? He’s kidding, right? Please tell me he does not actually mean this. The Fairfax County Public School budget is $2.5+ billion. It’s going to be complicated so you need to know what you’re doing!!! If this is too difficult for you, drop out of the race now! Sorry to lose it, but have had my fill of Republican whingeing for the week….
3. Karen Keys-Gamarra has the interests of children to heart. My father was a wonderful artist and an art teacher in an elementary school. He transformed that school, painting murals on the walls of all the corridor, and turning the entrance hall into a menagerie with all sorts of animals. Long before the self-esteem craze, my father knew that “the troublemakers” mostly needed a boost. He made taking care of the animals a special privilege for them, which developed their sense of empathy along with their sense of self-worth. He was loved by the students who, years later as adults, would go out of their way to greet him and thank him when they saw him on the street.
I feel gut-level that Karen Keys-Gamarra will be the sort of school board member that will support teachers like my father — the ones who are out there transforming children’s lives every day.
There’s a lot at stake. Please contribute if you can — and spread the word. When we vote, we win.