Once in awhile, a document, or an article, comes along that strikes the chord of truth.  Someone, or a group of people, makes a statement that brings eyeopening perspective to what, on the surface, appears to be a controversial issue.

Clarity ensues!  And, so it did for me when the Arlington County (VA) School Board clearly restated their purpose last week:  “.  .  .we believe it is important to reiterate and reaffirm the beliefs and values as articulated in the Arlington Public Schools mission, vision and core values.” 

Here’s an excerpt:

As School Board members, educators and school leaders, we welcome all students, regardless of their country of origin, native language, religious, ethnic, social or sexual identity. We value and appreciate Arlington’s diversity for the varied perspectives, history and culture that our immigrant and native families bring to APS. We welcome every student who lives in Arlington, and we are committed to doing our best to ensure that all children achieve their best and are prepared to thrive in our multicultural and global world.

 As educational leaders, we are committed to supporting the emotional well-being of our students and strive to ensure that they feel safe and supported at school.

  • As we have shared in the past, APS does not require any information about the legal status for ANY of our students. Not only is this required by federal law, but we believe that, morally and ethically, our mission is to serve ALL children in our community. 
  • We also do not share any confidential student information with outside groups without parental consent. 
  • We also do not share any confidential student information with outside groups without parental consent.

 As elected leaders, we will continue to urge our national and state leaders to support legislation to protect the rights of our DACA students and immigrant families. All APS administrators and school staff, including our principals, teachers, counselors, classroom assistants, social workers and other members of our APS team, are here to support EVERY student or family who needs help.

 We believe that America’s diversity is a major strength and a key component of what makes our nation great. We are grateful for the privilege of serving the Arlington community and we value your continued care and support.


As far as I’m concerned, these words should come from every County School Board in the country.  I doubt that any group can improve upon them.

This is the America I grew up believing in — “Liberty and Justice for All” — a concept initially introduced to me when I entered the first grade in 1939 in a small public school in South Dakota.  We all stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.

To parse that phrase is an exercise in ultimate futility.  It means, literally, exactly what it says, “Liberty and Justice for All.”

Yet, throughout our history the angry and the insecure have attempted just that — to impose exceptions to “All.”  Wounded Knee, the MS St. Louis, Selma and Kent State are just a very few examples.  And, now we have the Dreamers. 

It’s that distorted view of America we are experiencing today, on several fronts, and, once again, those five words in the Pledge of Allegiance are under attack. 

Today’s national discourse is, too often, punctuated by intolerance for people from certain nations as well as attempts to measure individuals or groups of people by their color, gender, religion or nationality.

Yet, I continue to believe — as I did as a child — that the America we shall eventually become will fully embrace — “Liberty and Justice for All.”  

The United States of America is a democracy of dialog — not a country of confrontation.  We’re all invited to participate.  

This week, I’ll be spending a long weekend with one of my children and her family. 
More next Wednesday—  

                                                                                    — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning
                                                                                                            January 24, 2018  (Mondays & Wednesdays)

 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)