Last but certainly not least from today’s “Road to Richmond” event by the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, check out the superb speech by Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarsky. As you can see, Pekarsky really cuts loose – and for VERY good reason – against how “our public schools and elected school board members [have] come under attack across this nation”; about how “democracy dies without an informed citizenry”; and about how we all need to support our public schools – the “fundamental bedrock of our society.” Bolding added for emphasis…
“These past two years, we have witnessed our public schools and elected school board members come under attack across this nation. We must acknowledge that when public education is under attack, so is our very democracy. Our founding fathers made clear the necessity of strong, well-funded public schools, because democracy dies without an informed citizenry.
We have seen misinformation campaigns take hold, encouraging deep mistrust in our public institutions and our public servants. Those interested in destroying our public schools have taken advantage of the trauma and pain the pandemic has caused for so many and encouraged a mob rule mentality. Nationally and locally, we have seen school board meetings devolve into violent, unruly shows, where orderly business is interrupted. School board members, including our very own, have been harassed, humiliated, dehumanized and even threatened. And make no mistake about it – questioning elected leaders, demanding transparency and accountability, is indeed necessary in our democratic process. Manipulation and misinformation, however, is a far cry from that. Tracking hardworking, passionate elected school board members into court and wasting public monies because a small minority of well-funded individuals wants to overturn legitimate elections on the basis of policy disagreements is an attack on our democracy. In the United States, we hold our leaders accountable at the ballot box; we do not manipulate free and fair elections in the courts for political gain. We prioritize country over individual gain. Those are our shared American values. And while today it may be school board members, make no mistake: if the January 6th insurrection is any indication, it won’t stop there.
And to our legislators, I implore you please do all you can to protect our public schools. Do not allow our local control to be ripped from those elected leaders who know their communities best and have been afforded the constitutional power to make the decisions that impact them. Do not support any non-public school initiatives that will rip money away from our public schools. And please do everything you can to preserve this public institution, this fundamental bedrock of our society, for it is our best hope in combating segregation… and inequities. Please stay healthy and safe in Richmond and know that we stand you behind you as you fight to protect our shared values and the future of the children of Fairfax County and of this Commonwealth. Strong public schools make for a strong Commonwealth. The citizens of Fairfax County overwhelmingly support our public schools.”