Editor’s Note: Two candidates are running for the seat of Pat Hynes, who currently holds the Hunter Mill District seat on the Fairfax County School Board. Earlier this year, Hynes said she would not seek reelection after serving on the 12-member board for the last seven years. This week, Reston Now will publish statements by the candidates.
Statements are published in the order in which they are received. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form.
My name is Laura Ramirez-Drain and I am a unique political candidate running in my first election. I am an engineer, a small-business entrepreneur and a parent of two sons who attended FCPS from elementary to high school. I have been advocating for students for many years as an active PTA volunteer. As a busy, working mother I had never given any thought to running for office.
But as my children went through school, I realized that while FCPS has some of the strongest schools in the country too many children were able to fall through the cracks of that system. Furthermore, it became clear that the schools were veering away from teaching academic fundamentals and allowing a political agenda to permeate the curriculum at all levels. I felt that I could no longer sit on the sidelines and that the time had come for me to stand up and advocate for the policies that will ensure our students thrive.
I’m running to be a voice on the School Board for people of all backgrounds in Hunter Mill district. I strongly believe in the importance of high-quality public education for all students. As a naturalized citizen having immigrated here from Mexico, empowering minority students has always been a priority of mine. I founded the Alcanzando Metas (Reaching Goals) Foundation to foster academic excellence in minority youth, particularly in STEM subjects. The Foundation helped over 200 students of color in Washington, DC and Birmingham, AL, successfully graduate from high school and pursue careers in their areas of interest. I plan to draw on that experience in helping to reduce the current racial achievement gap in Fairfax County schools. Democratic-endorsed members of the school board have held a majority for almost 25 years but have done nothing to close this gap.
As committed as I am to equality of opportunity, I do not believe that “equity” has to mean changing boundaries of schools to achieve arbitrary ratios of students by ethnic group. Students should go to schools in the communities that have nurtured them throughout their childhood. We should be building up all of our schools, and not spending resources to move children out of their own neighborhoods
Finally, I believe education is a partnership among students, teachers, and families. I believe parents, as the first and educators of their children, should hold the primary responsibility for determining when and how their children should be educated on issues of sexuality. As a school board member, I will commit to fighting to make Family Life Education opt-in, as opposed to opt-out. I will also do everything in my power to ensure that we are not inappropriately sexualizing young children via a politicized curriculum.
I look forward to continue getting to know the families of Hunter Mill District. I want to make it clear that whether or not you have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew or other family member in FCPS, this election is critically important. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders and how we educate our future leaders is an issue that affects all of us. I hope you will visit my website, vote4laura.com, and learn more about my background and platform.
Photo courtesy Vadym Guliuk