Every child in Virginia deserves a world-class public education, regardless of race, ethnicity, or zip code. I’m proud of my record, which includes supporting student achievement by sponsoring HB1526, which establishes student literacy measures and requires school districts to offer help to students who are not meeting standards by offering the services of reading specialists.
I myself am grateful for the education I received in Suffolk’s public schools and the wonderful teachers who had an impact on my life. And yet, we continue to underpay teachers – our salaries are 6% UNDER the national average – while denying them the resources they need, and making it difficult to hire additional teachers when there are critical shortages. As Delegate, I have sponsored legislation to raise teacher pay and provide tax deductions for materials they purchase for their classrooms, and will continue to press these issues in the Senate.
The pandemic also exposed critical inequities in education in rural areas. Students simply did not have access to the educational tools they needed to keep learning while classrooms were closed. It’s essential that we build out broadband infrastructure so these students can keep up.
Finally, there’s plenty of data that proves an early start to education pays off in many wonderful ways down the road. We need to institute universal pre-kindergarten in the Commonwealth to give our children the head start they deserve.