Dear Mr. Zackrisson,
Thank you for stepping up to run for the school board.
Parents, citizens, staff, and students in Albemarle County are discouraged by the lack of meaningful dialogue and community engagement by the ACPS administration and school board. A wave of sweeping reforms, largely formed during the COVID pandemic, were passed this summer despite record numbers of citizens attempting to engage with the administration and board to voice concerns. These reforms fundamentally change the focus and mission of the schools and are expected to have impacts in the quality of education provided to all children. Furthermore, there are several aspects of policy recently passed that increase the influence and authority of the school system in ways that degrade the rights of parents.
Citizens began to speak up on these topics, asking for simple things: more community input, more dialogue, more transparency, discussion of alternatives, diversity of thought. Most expressed disagreement with methods, but not intent, of achieving the stated goals of ACPS – and a willingness to participate in any forums, focus groups, working groups or other joint efforts with the administration and board. To date, those offers have not been accepted or even acknowledged.
These citizens felt abandoned and as if there was no recourse whatsoever. After repeated engagements with the administration and board, using all established protocols, no progress was made. As word spread, more and more citizens and staff have come forward – citizens who beforehand were afraid to speak up for fear of retribution, being “cancelled,” being doxxed, losing their jobs, and so forth. We wish that these fears were unfounded, but they are not.
Organically, as a direct result of the unacceptable engagements with the school system over the summer, a loose collection of individual citizens formed together to facilitate crowd sourcing and sharing of information: Citizens Advocating for Responsible Education in Albemarle County Schools (or CARE for short). Many CARE citizens have been hoping that someone would step up to run for the open seats on the school board. When people learned of your candidacy, they finally felt some hope.
Because this group is a collection of INDIVIDUALS, all members were first consulted prior to issuing this statement. Each individual advocates for themselves, in public and in private. CARE is an apolitical, issue-focused group. However, because this year’s election of the school board directly influences the common goals of the group, because you are an independent candidate, and because you have stated that your goals align with those of the group:
CARE is pleased to endorse you, Randy Zackrisson, as a candidate for the Albemarle County School Board.
If you are elected, we ask you to keep these principles in mind as you and your colleagues tackle the difficult topics facing the schools today:
- Parental rights and controls for all parents
- Children’s right to a safe learning environment
- Teachers having proper training
- Teachers with different views than ACPS having freedom of expression without mistreatment or retribution
- Counselors who focus their efforts to help any student in need
- Schools free of racism
- Schools with healthy diversity and inclusion for all individuals
- Education that presents all sides of a topic presented to ACPS students
- Evidence based teachings
- Proper expenditure of school funds for academics rather than social justice ideologies
We wish you the best of luck in your candidacy!
Citizens Advocating for Responsible Education