When heading west over the Blue Ridge into Frederick County, Republican candidate for the House of Delegates, Leesburg’s Nick Clemente, had best understand his trip “over the mountain” encompasses not only the 40 miles he travels, but also a step back into the mid-20th century. Some local GOP Supervisors (Back Creek’s Shawn Graber?) appear not to have progressed beyond the “separate but equal” doctrine of 1950’s Virginia. You see, Supervisor Graber considers the idea of equity training for educators to be too progressive for Frederick County. But Mr. Graber should keep in mind that if the late Sen. Harry Byrd Jr. had been exposed to equity training, he might have realized that even had Virginia’s segregated schools been truly equal, they could never have produced equity (fairness) for Black students, who by their segregation, were made to feel different and of lesser worth.
According to an April 2 Josh Janney Star article, candidate Clemente came to understand educational equity vs. equality through the life experience of being a dyslexic child. Fortunately for him, his family had the resources to enroll him in an expensive private school that provided the help not available in his public school. Per the article, “He acknowledged that other kids might not be as fortunate and there are educational disparities for children from lower-income households, special needs children, and children in rural communities without access to high-speed internet. He said he hopes to close the education gap and provide resources and opportunities for all children, regardless of race, income level or learning disabilities...We are leaving children behind.”
(Luckily, the 10th District already has Democratic Rep. Wendy Gooditis fulfilling Clemente’s wish list, and nationally, Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, with no help from any Republican, helped pass President Biden’s stimulus package, a bill that provides much of the local school aid Clemente’s Republican allies consider superfluous.)
So why is equity training important? “Mr. Google” offered this scenario: Lacking the price of admission, three kids went to the ballpark hoping to see the game from outside the fence. The tallest was able to see over the fence without standing on a box. The next tallest was able to see the game standing on one box, but the shortest needed to stand on two boxes to peek over the fence. If treated equally, each would have been given a box to stand on, but that would have meant two could see the game, but one could not. Since one’s height is a fate left to the gods, the equitable solution would have been for the boxes to be allocated in a way that all three boys got to see the game.
It would seem Supervisor Graber assumes he represents only “tall people who can see over the fence.” If he were to avail himself of the equity training of which he has such disdain, he might discover his Back Creek district is also home to “a few little fellas in need of a box or two to stand on.”
Donald Sears Frederick County