A plan to hire more blacks and other minorities as teachers in Fairfax County schools appears to be receiving only moderate attention - in fact, only nine county residents showed up recently at a public hearing on the affirmative action proposal.
"But that's nothing unusual," remarked one county observer. "After all, it's only the results that count."
All but two speakers at the school board hearing last week supported the plan and expressed the sale sentiment: Fairfax school is need an affirmative action plan, but its worth [WORD ILLEGIBLE] on whether the school board guarantees that it will be followed.
The plan would require that racial minorities, mostly blacks, make up [WORD ILLEGIBLE] percent of the Fairfax County teaching staff within five years. A school board decision on the proposal is expected June 15.
The plan also calls for recruiting women as administrators and men as teachers. The plan suggests, that within five years, 45 percent of all school administrators be women and that 12 percent of the teaching staff be men.
"Commitment (from the school board) is the most important element of this plan," said Annabel Seidman, president of the Fairfax County Council on Human Relations. "The plan calls for a lot of things, but to get the people you want, you're going to have to actively seek them out."
Harley Williams, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, charged that the plan, by considering race and sex in selecting teacher applicants, does not follow a merit system for hiring school teachers.
"A real merit system is color blind," Williams said, adding that the schools should develop a "genuine" merit system for hiring school employes rather than an affirmative action plan.
Another critic of the plan, Thomas W. Shaaf, president of the Luther Jackson PTA, told the school board, "You should get off your backsides and see what's really happening in the schools before you get into another fancy plan."
The school system has no formal merit system for hiring teachers, as does the county government, but teachers are hired on the basis of "best qualified," according to Warren Eisenhower, director of school-employe relations.
Minorities, mainly blacks, now account for about 6 percent of the county's 6,388 teachers, according to the affirmative action plan. About 35 percent of Fairfax school administrators are women, and 8.6 percent of the county's elementary school teachers are men, the plan states.