FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Since the beginning of the pandemic, many have had to make tough decisions and sacrifices in the best interest of their family. In Fairfax County, thousands of families have pulled their children out of FCPS in pursuit of more structured education.

Over 9,300 students have left FCPS within the past year. Parents say virtual learning is not sufficient and they need to learn in-person, not through a screen.

Theresa Talavera is now homeschooling her four children, pulling them out after she heard FCPS would return students to virtual learning last summer.

“As soon as I heard that, I decided we’re not going back because I didn’t have very much confidence that they were ever going back this school year,” said Talavera.

She said she hasn’t looked back and questions FCPS’s priorities.

“I have not regretted that decision one day since I made it… I’ve had the impression that it is not about the kids and it’s not about educating them; it’s about serving an agenda for certain people that are pushing for certain things. You know, I know there’s a lot of great teachers that really want to be in the classroom that haven’t been able to, and I know that it’s wonderful now that they finally are getting kids back in the classroom, but I think it’s too little and it’s too late,” expressed Talavera.

Parent Aaron Taliaferro disliked what he’s calling the “equity agenda.”

“The buzz word for them is ‘equity.’ Equity to us is just a term for lowest common denominator teaching, sacrificing merit for the sake of some allegedly equal playing field they’re trying to create, on the basis of no standards whatsoever. There’s no way we’re going to put our kids in a school system that’s promoting that idea. There’s a big difference between equity and equality,” explained Taliaferro.

He pulled both his daughter and son out last year and enrolled them into local catholic schools where one is in-person five days a week and the other is participating in hybrid instruction.  

Some parents say they’re skeptical if FCPS will return students to five-day instruction this fall, potentially causing more families to seek education elsewhere if those plans don’t follow through.  

WDVM reached out to the school for more information on how they’re handling the decrease in enrollment, and they did not immediately respond.