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Numbers Game: AAP in Fairfax County

A flawed numbers game with the new AAP plan

By Asra Q. Nomani

Last fall, Fairfax County Public Schools started a public debate about the future of the Advanced Academic Program, formerly known as the gifted and talented program. 

The debate has been fierce. Thursday, Jan. 24,  the board votes on a motion by a school board member, Tammy Kaufax, to delay implementation on any changes. That's how the board should vote. 

After the early December working meeting of the Fairfax County School Board, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Fairfax County Public Schools to try to get some insight into the thinking of FCPS officials. 

In one email, Carol Horn, AAP Coordinator, acknowledges there may be "capacity issues" at some schools, including Cooper Middle School, where another email to Cooper Principal Arlene Randall proposes turning "general education" classrooms into AAP classrooms to make room for a new AAP center at Cooper. 

Poring through the documents, one thing becomes clear: it's a numbers game--and a flawed one at that, as an analysis by a Fairfax County parent, Scott Parks, reveals. 

This new plan isn't ready for primetime at any school. The School Board needs to vote with member Kaufax. It needs to do one thing: Stop and think. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Julie Reiss January 24, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Absolutely agree with you, Asra. Why are some members of the School Board rushing to implement unnecessary AAP Centers when over crowding simply moves from school to school? When the new Superintendent is hired, it will be a done deal, the decision not easily reversed. That much is clear. Why are those members so convinced this is their last chance to get it done? If it's the right decision, it'll be right next year with a new Superintendent's blessing. The reason they rush is because they know it's not the right course of action, just part of a fierce internal political agenda.

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