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Letter: Losing Battle For Education?

Decisions. When it comes to public policy, the decisions are never as simple as everyone would like and many times, you never really understand why people make the decisions they make. The Superintendent’s salary was increased salary increased to $244,080 ($44,380 more than what the U.S. Secretary of Education makes and $69,080 more than what the Governor of Virginia makes), and what has Alexandria gotten for that money?

An audit recently revealed that $211 million had been mismanaged.

School officials had to ask City Council for an additional $18 million.

The chief financial officer resigns claiming that ACPS is a “hostile work environment.”

ACPS hires an expensive executive who ran the company that ACPS purchased a scripted reading program from.

And now it is eliminating important educational services impacting ACPS students with disabilities:

  • Elimination of 13 Special Education staff positions at Mount Vernon Elementary School.

  • Elimination of seven Special Education staff positions at T.C. Williams.

  • Elimination of an Early Childhood Education position.

  • Elimination of summer school programs

  • Elimination of four physical therapy and occupational therapy positions.

  • Elimination of two technology integration teachers.

  • Elimination of an instructional coach who worked to meet student needs for language acquisition, special education, English language learners, cultural competency, and student engagement.

  • Elimination of the district level social work coordinator.

These cuts impact ACPS students with disabilities, like my son, a teenager with Autism, who will be attending T.C. Williams High School next year — great to know that there will be even less of the very little help he currently gets in middle school, for him, when he gets to high school.

Virginia's Constitution states that all of the children in Virginia are guaranteed a high quality educational program and that educational program has to be maintained. It does not improve student learning or academic achievement.

Instead, it pays lip service that Alexandria's children deserve the best possible education, rewards the bureaucracy down at 2000 N. Beauregard Street and guts that constitutional guarantee.

Michael J. Carrasco