The Coalition of The Silence is an advocacy organization committed to ending the achievement and discipline gaps that negatively impact African American and Latino students in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). “COTS kids” comprise about one-third of the FCPS student body. That’s nearly 60,000 students — making COTS the largest single stakeholder voice within FCPS.
WHAT IS “THE SILENCE”
“We must listen to The Silence” were the words of former school board member Robert “Bob” Frye. The Coalition of The Silence© is a tribute to Bob’s longtime leadership on behalf of those communities that are rarely seen or heard at school board meetings. COTS works to give “The Silence” its rightful voice.
WHAT WE DO:
While there are many WONDERFUL organizations working on behalf of African American and Latino children (and their families) in Fairfax County, COTS is unique because it is the ONLY organization that brings the African American and Latino communities together as a unified voice that speaks for ALL of our children within the county school system.
WHY WE DO IT:
FCPS is one of the most affluent and successful public school systems in the country. We know that. We also know that COTS kids do not have full and fair access to all the opportunities available within FCPS. For example, we know that African American and Latino children are more likely to be disciplined and less likely to be identified as “gifted. ” We know it is nearly impossible for African American and Latino students to be admitted to TJ – the nationally recognized math and science magnet school that is the “crown jewel” of FCPS. Out of the 1600 students in TJ, only a handful are African American or Latino.
HOW WE DO IT:
Founded by lawyer and former Fairfax County School Board Member Tina Hone, COTS has unique insights into the policies, practices and operations of FCPS. COTS knows exactly what FCPS can achieve with proper policy priorities and allocation of resources. So COTS meets the school system on the policy playing field. And when that doesn’t work, we go to court. COTS advocates for wholesale change at the strategic policy level for our kids. We do not operate specific programs. And we rarely engage on individual student matters, unless we believe the case will set a precedent and help other COTS kids within the system.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Stand with us! We need your time, energy and commitment. Most of all, we need your voice! Sign up for our newsletter. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Join us at a school board meeting.