For Congress in Virginia and DC State Board of Education
With so many races around the region, we sadly haven't had time to write in-depth articles about every one. Here are a few important ones to keep in mind as you go to the polls tomorrow.
We support Gerry Connolly for Congress in Virginia's 11th Congressional district in Fairfax and Prince William Counties. Connolly has a solid record of fighting for improvements to the area, including a multi-decade campaign to get the Silver Line built and turn Tysons Corner into a walkable urban area.
Keith Fimian is an ideologue who would put national Republican battles above the interests of Fairfax County, even to the detriment of the DC region. Our local delegation needs to work together, and while former Republican Rep. Tom Davis did so as has Connolly, Fimian has already taken pugnacious stances toward DC and others.
But not all Republicans are bad. We endorse Republican Patrick Mara for the DC State Board of Education. When the Mayor took control of schools, the State Board of Education switched from being the school board for DCPS to a much more advisory role. However, its members still have opportunities to influence the course of education reform in DC, especially in the way DCPS relates to the charter schools.
Mara, who David endorsed in 2008 for DC Council at-large, is challenging incumbent Dotti Love Wade for the Ward 1 seat.
Mara is running as a hardcore reformer. Wade is more of just an in-the-trenches Board member who works on nitty gritty things like curriculum and teacher certification. We need a voice for change at the "state" level and Mara would certainly bring it.
Mara would also provide an opportunity for Adrian Fenty's and Michelle Rhee's supporters to add strength toward keeping her reforms going. The one big practical difference between Rhee and Mara is that Mara strongly supports funding parity for DC public charter schools, which presumptive Mayor-elect Vince Gray also does and which Fenty did not, creating yet another reason to vote for Mara.
The only thing to disappoint public education supporters in DC could be Mara's vocal support for the private school voucher system that was imposed on DC by Congress. We feel that it's better to provide choice through the robust charter system and the DCPS out of boundary system if their neighborhood schools are not making the grade.
Ward 6 features a contest between two mothers who bring real energy to the cause of school reform. We endorse Monica Warren-Jones, who despite her tepid support of charter schools, is a serious candidate with a strong background and well thought out positions on how to continue to move schools forward.
The other candidate, Melissa Rohan is a vigorous proponent of school choice, but seems to lack specifics beyond supporting charter schools and vouchers. Her debate performance failed to fill in the blanks, with answers such as "I'm going to be an advocate for your kids!" and "I care about your kids!" Additionally, she canceled the long-scheduled debate at the last minute, only to hurriedly rescind her cancellation. This raises questions about her understanding of the process and reliability.
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