What School is supposed to be about.
There’s a relatively new group in town.
They call themselves “Educate Loudoun!”
Now doesn’t that sound arrogant?
These folk are going to “educate” us about what we want and need in Loudoun County.
This Johnny-come-lately group sprung into existence at the sound of the first spring peepers – and now they presume to commend who should be our school board members in the upcoming election.
They say they are a political action committee (“PAC”) that’s going to contribute to right-thinking candidates.
The blogs are alive with the sound of gossip about this group and the message is clear - Caveat Voter!
Let’s deconstruct this group and find out what makes it tick
It was founded by the current School Board Chairman, John Stevens (Potomac), who no doubt expects to be endorsed by the PAC he created when he announces, any day now, to succeed himself.
Another founder, who has underwritten this group, is Telos, a hi-tech government contractor. I want Telos to tell us how it hopes to “help” us. Telos’ CEO John Wood has contributed about a third of the funds, at $5,000, that make up the PAC’s war chest.
On their web site, Mr. Wood explains that he sees our educational system as “a catalyst of economic growth,” that shall encourage families “to move here and stay here,” because of the “long term investment” that “Educate!” reportedly supports, meaning an accelerated building development of even more schools than presently scheduled.
In other words, they prefer that hard-earned and scant tax payer money from our property assessments underwrite infrastructure (roads, electricity, water, etc.) favoring even more development in a county struggling to recover the home asset value we’ve lost in the ongoing recession. Overdevelopment can only dilute our most important asset, the value of our homes.
One commentator, Erv Addison, wrote a recent letter, stating that he might support this group if they meant charter schools when they said “new public school choices for all families.”
When Mr. Addison asked “Educate!” what they really supported, he learned that the “Educate!” founders couldn’t agree. Nor could they say whether they were for performance pay for teachers. I would oppose the group if they support charter schools or performance pay. But neither of us can dispel the group’s enforced “ambiguity and uncertainty” - as Mr. Addison aptly described their stonewalling practices.
Mr. Wood claimed he suffered no disqualifying conflict of interest in advancing this group, not while Telos employee, Robert Dupree, was a school board member (indeed, the Chairman), nor now while Telos employee, Ralph Buona, is a Republican candidate for the Board of Supervisors.
County-wide, Telos and Mr. Wood personally have contributed a total of $7,050.00 (on 10/23/10, and on 3/31/11) to Scott York’s campaign coffers. That contribution is 15% of York’s entire fund-raising effort. (Interestingly, Mr. Wood’s contribution bore an Illinois home address. Tell us John that you’re a Loudoun resident (and this is some oversight)). See Campaign Report - http://inter4.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=344&fmpath=/Electoral%20Board/2010%20Campaign%20Finance%20Reports.
Incidentally, it appears that, on the same day, March 29, 2011, that Telos contributed $213.18 in catering costs, Mr. York received an additional $6,150.00 in checks dated that same day from, among others, William Hazel, the Lansdowne Development Group, and the Virginia Investment Partnership. Did you host a fund-raiser, John, in order to impress upon Mr. York your concern about education?
Telos won’t tell us plainly what they really want. But it appears that it’s about asphalt and development rather than much having to do with educating our young. Voters and candidates would be well advised to steer clear of this group.