Importance of Education Access

Education is critical in society. We know that of the students falling behind in reading milestones as early as 3rd grade, 74% still struggle in 9th grade.  This reading proficiency is an early indicator of graduation, with children not meeting benchmarks by the end of third grade being 4x more likely to leave school without a diploma. Students with the lowest reading benchmarks account for 1/3 of students overall, they represent over 63% of those who do not go on to graduate high school. The situation becomes even more frightening when you look into the impact of illiteracy on criminalization. In fact, 3 out of 5 people imprisoned in the U.S. are illiterate and 85 % of juvenile offenders have reading difficulties. When we talk about working to end the school-to-prison pipeline and addressing the gun violence epidemic we are facing, education has to have a place in every discussion. Our students have to hit their benchmarks, meaning schools and families need more access to and funding for resources. 

Vision

  • Increased state investment in broadband to allow Virginian students to safely participate in virtual school classes 
  • Universal pre-K
  • Eliminate high-stakes testing
  • Support anti-racist work through curriculum, professional development, and education programming
  • Support in planning for adequate funding for K-12 school construction and renovation
  • Increased funding for Special Education services for K-12 schools
  • Increased funding for trade schools to supplement traditional high school
  • Increased state and federal investment for technology needs and internet access for virtual learning
  • Increased financial support for educators to include  higher wages and personal spending funds for classroom supplies
  • Immediate mental health access for teachers
  • Free state and community college; free trade school
  • Invest in programs such as on-site community gardens, the arts, music, and culinary

Current Legislative Stances

  • Support HB 40: Requires each public school create and maintain a mental health break space within the public school building
  • Support HB 109: Provides that in no case shall sufficient cause for the suspension or expulsion of a student from attendance at a public elementary or secondary school include only instances of truancy or nonviolent behavior
  • Support HB 332: Requires the Department of Education to develop and implement a geographically representative two-year pilot program to administer reading diagnostic tests that include all components of a normed rapid automatized naming test
  • Support HB 958: Establish a 21-member College and Career Readiness Steering Committee to develop and oversee implementation of a strategic plan for ensuring that all students in the Commonwealth, and particularly subgroups of students who have been historically underserved, graduate from high school
  • Support HB 1277 & SB 390: Reduce the total number and type of required Standards of Learning assessments to the minimum requirements established by the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended
  • Support HB 1400: Permit English as a second language (ESL) courses to satisfy credit requirements for graduation
  • Support SB 779: Update the “Window into a Green Virginia” curriculum developed by the Departments for 6th grade science to include a unit on the benefits, including the energy benefits, of recycling and reuse
  • Support HB 49, HB 762, HB 1031, SB 128, & SB 1099: Transition from private school to public school for students receiving Special Education services