Making Democracy Work

Arlington Local Positions B.

B. Education

PRESCHOOL EDUCATION (1988; updated 2010)


1. Make public preschool available free or at a nominal charge to all at-risk four-year olds.

2. Provide preschool for all four-year olds as space becomes available. Absent state or federal funds, a sliding scale based on family ability to pay should exist to assist enrollment of children in a public program for 4-year-olds.
3. Allow at-risk four-year olds' participation in the existing Extended Day Program.

4. Provide transportation for those at-risk four-year olds who would be excluded from preschool because of a lack of transportation.

5. Expand public preschools with attention paid to low-income and minority-dominated areas as well as Metro stops and other locations accessible to the working poor.

6. Expand public preschool beyond existing models, using pilot projects to test different early childhood education curricula. Teachers for such programs should have specific training and/or experience in meeting the particular needs of young children.

B. Education

SCHOOLS/EDUCATION

The League of Women Voters of Arlington supports:

Curriculum —

1. Curriculum that is designed to include:


  • programs that impart basic skills (reading, writing, and
    mathematics) (2015);
  • programs in music and art, science, human relations,
    social studies, ESOL, special education and programs for
    the academically gifted;
  • programs for early childhood education;
  • options in type of school and programs for students,
    teachers and parents within existing school districts when
    possible;
  • preparation for new programs through staff development and
    extensive communication between school and community, to be
    followed by adequate evaluation (1973); and
  • career education as a part of all K-12 curriculum. (1996)

  • 2. Providing for differences in individual learning needs through separate alternative programs so long as they are not detrimental to the regular program. (1982)

    3. The continuation of alternative schools, the Exemplary School Projects and the Career Center. (1992)

    4. Thematically enriching the base curriculum in middle schools and high schools, and encouraging more school projects like those found in the Exemplary School Projects. (1992)

    5. Initiatives that keep school programs tuned to the technological developments that are changing the way we communicate, develop, receive and record information. Continuing effort should be made to keep the Career Center and all other one-of-a-kind facilities accessible to all. (1992)

    6. Funding of locally supported programs for the arts and athletics at a level that permits participation of all interested students. (1979)

    7. Increased emphasis on social studies in the curriculum including:
    • A social studies requirement in each grade beginning in
      kindergarten and continuing without interruption
      through grade 12.
    • A strong interdisciplinary and global approach that
      incorporates information on the controversies that have
      propelled world events. Materials such as myths,
      legends and biographies should be used to enrich
      understanding.
    • More emphasis given to geography beginning Grade 3.
    • World history required in at least two consecutive
      years in later grades.
    • Economics and geography should be integral parts of
      every social studies course. Time must be allotted in
      the school year for the study of the history and
      economic developments of the twentieth century.
    • Additional electives that could include Advanced
      Placement courses, regional studies (e.g., African,
      Asian, Latin American, European studies and history)
      and current events. (1990)


    8. The inclusion of foreign language instruction at all levels: At the elementary level various types of programs should be available. At the middle and high school levels, language instruction should build on previous instruction. Adequate lab materials and instruction for various levels should be provided. Language choices should be broad at the high school level. (1987)

    9. Adherence to Title IX regulations.(2003)



    School Bond Issues —
    A cost-benefit study prior to a bond decision to determine the desirability of new construction versus renovation and/or the feasibility of the project; early publication of notification of intent to present a bond issue; separate questions on the ballot for each school, unless the plan is an interdependent, integrated package. (1974)

    Teacher Evaluation and Retirement —
    Expanded input to the personnel evaluation system to include principals, supervisors, peers, students and parents; optional early retirement for teachers at age 55. (1974)

    Salaries —
    Equal treatment for Arlington school and county employees in any salary adjustment that reflects cost of living factors. Strong consideration of salary increases based on merit. (1979)

    School Consolidation —
    The consideration of five components when making school consolidation decisions. Those components are:
    • Giving priority to educational considerations over financial considerations.
    • Two classrooms per grade in elementary schools as a prime educational consideration.
    • Full utilization of schools, not limited to three "Rs," space for laboratories and studios, and special education needs.
    • School plants in all areas of the county.
    • Consideration of the future use of buildings before closing schools. (1979)

    Program Diversity —

    1. Maintaining the present program diversity in the face of shifting enrollment patterns. Exploration of innovative means of providing education with a consideration of their cost effectiveness. (1982; 2015)

    2. Access to equal educational programs for all groups and equitable distribution of the county's diverse racial and ethnic school population in any kind of reorganization or consolidation. (1982)

    Class Size —

    1. A maximum class size set by the School Board for each discipline at the secondary level varying according to the discipline. Each class should be assured of adequate supplies, texts, equipment and desks necessary for quality instruction.

    2. Allowing principals to make exceptions to the class size specified in the Budget Planning Factors, reporting and justifying such exceptions to the Superintendent and the School Board at the time they occur.

    3. Holding principals accountable to consult with staff regarding any possible trade of a teaching position for a non-teaching position in their schools. Use of a discretionary fund for additional instructional positions to discourage possible trade-offs.

    4. Using any available funds in the Schools' budget to reduce class size, where needed. (1988)

    Home/School Communication —
    Concrete, individualized, home/school communication at all school levels. (1992)

    Staff Development —
    Resources devoted to a strong staff development program in all disciplines. (1996)