Virginia’s largest school district shelled out $32.7 million in bonuses to teachers for their “extraordinary contributions and sacrifices” during the COVID-19 pandemic, though teachers in the district worked almost exclusively from home.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, school board member Ricardy Anderson announced that Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) district would use its federal COVID-19 relief funds to pay teachers, bus drivers, and other staff for their “extraordinary” work during the pandemic.
FCPS teachers never returned to full in-person learning during the 2020-2021 school year. The district’s top unions successfully lobbied to keep schools closed and children at home for much of the school year.
The Fairfax County Federation of Teachers demanded that educators remain online during the 2020-2021 school year. It also demanded that the district implement “proactive school closures” for the ongoing 2021-2022 school year.
Similarly, the Fairfax Education Association (FEA) president Kimberly Adams said that students must receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to full-time, in-person instruction. Adams made these comments before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the COVID-19 vaccine for those age 12 and older.
“The timeline and return to in-person instruction must reflect that we wait for the second dose to be effective,” Adams said. “Concerns also remain that students will not be vaccinated before they return to school. This will require that we maintain the hybrid model and continue social distancing, masking, and all other mitigation strategies.”
Dee O’Neal, a Fairfax County parent who operates the “Open FCPS Coalition,” told the Free Beacon that she doesn’t believe that most teachers deserve these bonuses.
“The union members who pushed to stay home are not deserving of this bonus.” Bonuses are only appropriate for teachers “whose voices were drowned out by the lazy a**es who wanted to stay home.”
According to the Free Beacon’s reporting, FCPS approved the district’s plan to spend $188.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, including the one-time bonuses for teachers. The money will also be spent to fund viral mitigation strategies and address “pandemic-related learning loss[es].”
The district’s relief funds will also increase bus driver wages to $22.91 per hour.
FCPS has been at the forefront of controversy over the past year after parent groups began exposing the district’s push for critical race theory. Per The Daily Wire’s reporting, the district sent a PowerPoint to teachers explaining how to explicitly implement Critical Race Theory in the classroom.
The PowerPoint defined Critical Race Theory, among other progressive ideologies, and explained how to implement the ideologies in the classroom. Examples included “culturally relevant pedagogy,” “institutional/systemic racism,” “anti-racism education,” “anti-hate education,” and more.
“In adopting this approach, [Critical Race Theory] scholars attempt to understand how victims of systemic racism are affected by cultural perceptions of race and how they are able to represent themselves to counter prejudice,” the PowerPoint reads.
Under the “application/example” portion of the slide, educators were told that Critical Race Theory is a helpful tool for analyzing issues such as “school funding, segregation, language policies, discipline policies, curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and accountability policies.”
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