Join Progress|VA Sign up for text alerts
   Please leave this field empty

Results tagged “Education”

June 11, 2014

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

The Washington Post reports, "A Norfolk Circuit Court ruled Tuesday that a statewide school takeover board created by the Virginia General Assembly to manage struggling schools is not constitutional. Judge Charles E. Poston said that Virginia's constitution vests the authority to establish school divisions in the Board of Education, not the General Assembly, and gives local school boards the authority to supervise the schools. The so-called Opportunity Educational Institution was championed by former Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and passed by the General Assembly last year amid protests by many statewide education groups and local school districts."

Progressive Point: Virginia's economic future depends on our children receiving a stellar education. That means we must protect it from corporate front groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) who would privatize for pure profit. The ruling that ALEC's school takeover bill is unconstitutional marks a victory for Virginia's kids and families.

This ruling only underscores the harm ALEC's corporate schemes bring to Virginia. Corporate lobbyists wasted our time and money on a privatization scheme that not only isn't constitutional, but the General Assembly's own watchdog recently found it wouldn't improve students' education. Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving factor in public education decisions, not who can profit off of it. ALEC schemes with state legislators to introduce bills written and endorsed by corporate lobbyists, with zero disclosure. Sound Commonwealth polices prioritize our community schools, not private profits. 

Get the Facts:

  • A Norfolk Circuit Court judge found the Opportunity Educational Institution, the state's school takeover division, not constitutional in a ruling on June 10, 2014. The judge found it unconstitutional "because it purports to establish a statewide school division and because it purports to create a school division that is not supervised by a school board." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 10, 2014)

  • On Monday, June 9, 2014, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) recommended repealing the school takeover board. JLARC reported, "State takeover of schools is 'disruptive,' requires long-term funding, poses logistical challenges and creates a new bureaucracy." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 9, 2014)
  • Via ProgressVA Education Fund:
  •  
    • Voucher and virtual education legislation introduced in Virginia was drawn from ALEC models, carried by ALEC legislative members, and, in the case of virtual schools, benefitted ALEC corporate members.
    • K12, Inc., a key member of ALEC's Education Task Force, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Governor Bob McDonnell and state legislators. K12 lobbied hard for 2010 legislation establishing private virtual schools in Virginia and then profited off of loopholes that allowed them to collect large per-student fees.
    • K12's Virginia Virtual Academy fell behind on 20 of 22 measures of testing student achievement when compared to face-to-face instruction. Carroll County has since suspended their sponsorship of the program.
  • ALEC provides Virginia members with "issue alerts," "talking points," and "press release templates" expressing support or opposition to state legislation, despite its claims that "ALEC does not lobby in any state." As detailed in ProgressVA's 2012 report, "ALEC Exposed", ALEC model legislation has been frequently introduced in Virginia's legislature, at times word for word. The 2012 report also found the Commonwealth had spent over $230,000 in public funds to subsidize legislators' participation in these meetings with corporate lobbyists.
  • Despite claims to the contrary, ALEC's agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. Corporate lobbyists work behind closed doors to draft legislation designed to benefit their bottom lines. Virginia has seen a range of the resulting ALEC "model bills" that have been adopted by ALEC "task forces" introduced in the General Assembly. To read the original report on ALEC's impact on public policy in Virginia, please see "ALEC Exposed: Who is writing Virginia's laws?"
  • To review the new report on ALEC's impact on education policy, please see ALEC v Kids.

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it

May 27, 2014

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

A guest columnist, James Koch, opines at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Despite a recovery in taxpayer funding, this spring has witnessed another round of tuition increases at Virginia's colleges and universities -- and those increases once again have been considerably in excess of the increase in the Consumer Price Index... Tuition increases have been growing much more rapidly than median household income in the commonwealth, and it's increasingly difficult to avoid concluding that the growing gap between the two is unsustainable."

Progressive Point: Virginia should be helping our Commonwealth's students build their futures today, not crushing them and our economy with student loans tomorrow. Home front investments in education strengthen and benefit us all: driving our competitiveness, creating opportunities for businesses, and helping our families stay healthy and safe. Competition in the economy has never been tougher -- Virginia should be leading in education, not getting left behind.

We can prepare a truly competitive Commonwealth workforce for tomorrow by guaranteeing every child in Virginia access to a world-class education today. Our financial future also depends on educating the next generation without saddling them with insurmountable debt in the process. All students, no matter what their background, deserve that chance at scholastic success today and economic security without debt tomorrow.

Get the Facts:

  • "[B]etween FY 2008 and FY 2014, when median household incomes were hardly growing at all, tuition at Virginia's public institutions of higher education rose 31.6%, after inflation (The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2014)." (Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 23, 2014)
  • To help ease student loan burdens, Sen. Mark Warner has recently proposed (via The Shad Plank):
    • a new voluntary program so employers can help employees pay down student debt

    • making Pell Grant funds available to high school students when they take college courses, as more and more are doing these days

    • implementing more work-based learning programs, especially those that combine technical training with related instruction, including instruction that begins with mentoring and job shadowing and evolves into apprenticeship

    • providing more and better information about higher education and its costs through a single web site

  • "$1.1 trillion. That is now the total outstanding student loan debt in the United States. Student loan debt is the second largest type of consumer debt in the U.S. Outstanding student loan debt accounts for roughly 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, outpacing credit card debt and second only to mortgage debt." (Roanoke Times, April 29, 2014)

college_fees.jpg

  • Federal student debt is now over $1 trillion. (Politico, July 17, 2013)
  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

May 1, 2014

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

The Free Lance-Star Editorial Pages Staff opines, "On Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that in his legal opinion, Virginia law allows students who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status (a determination by the federal government) to establish domicile, a step toward being considered in-state students, eligible for in-state tuition at Virginia public colleges and universities. This is a laudable step forward. It isn't these kids' fault that their parents brought them here without waiting for a legal path to do so. Yet they're punished for it, barred from certain aspects of American life."

Progressive Point: It's not where we are born that makes us American. What defines us is the heritage we leave our children and the contributions we make to our country. But standing in the way of our American spirit are those who would punish our children who have done nothing wrong. Blocking the American dream from students who have only called our country home is contrary to the freedoms we seek to represent and furthermore hurts our Commonwealth's economy in the process.

Young people who love America and contribute to America strengthen America. In addition to the unfairness of barring a more promising future to innocent children, Virginia's record as the best place in the country to do business will also suffer without providing the opportunity to succeed to every student. Our Commonwealth's competitiveness can only be enhanced by ensuring access to higher education. Allowing these entitled students to pay in-state tuition rates not only makes college more attainable, but increases their earnings later on. Higher earnings lead straight to increased investment back into Virginia's economy.

Get the Facts:

  • Nineteen states now allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. (New York Times, April 30, 2014)
  • Attorney General Mark R. Herring's office has said that 8,100 Virginians are entitled to in-state tuition under the President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (New York Times, April 30, 2014)
  • "These 'Dreamers' are already Virginians in some very important ways... Instead of punishing and placing limits on these smart, talented, hard-working young people, Virginia should extend them an opportunity for an affordable education." - Attorney General Herring (New York Times, April 30, 2014)
  • "We invest in these students from kindergarten through 12th grade, but put up a barrier after graduation that only serves to drive away top talent from Virginia." - Virginia Delegate Alfonso H. Lopez (New York Times, April 30, 2014)
  •  
    • Currently only 5-10% of undocumented youth pursue higher education compared to 75% of their classmates.
    • According to the US Census Bureau, Virginia spends approximately $10,930 per year per student for primary and secondary education. This means that for the estimated 1,400 undocumented students that graduated from VA high schools in 2013, we have spent $15.3 million in 2013 alone, and approximately $198.9 million over 13 years to educate these children. To nurture and educate these students from elementary to high school, only to turn them away when they reach higher education is not only a waste of money, but also of great talent and potential.
    • Aside from the possible economic benefits of investing in a stronger workforce, the state will benefit immediately from the paid tuitions of these undocumented students. For 2010-2011, the average cost of in-state tuition was $16,833 at one of VA's 4-year institutions and $3,285 at VA community colleges. The revenue from the 1,400 graduating undocumented students could be as high as $23.5 million per year and $94.2 over 4 years. However, if these students are not eligible for in-state tuition, many will not attend college, and the state will lose this potential revenue.
    • State and local taxes paid by a college-degree holder ($4,600) are almost twice that of a high school graduate ($2,500). For each college-degree holder, their additional earnings translate into over $2,000 in state and local tax revenue each year, giving those economies an extra boost.

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it

April 28, 2014

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

The Roanoke Times shares in its Opinions, "In Virginia, the average debt of a bachelor's degree recipient when he or she leaves college is $25,000; this debt burden has increased 25 percent ($5,000) from 2007 to 2012... New research findings show student debt may be having a significant impact on the overall U.S. housing market that could translate into long-term effects for the U.S. economy. The percentage of first-time homebuyers has decreased 3 percentage points from 2012-2013 to 28 percent of existing home sales. Just 13 years ago, first-time home buyers age 25 to 34 made up 33 percent of existing home sales."

Progressive Point: Affordable access to college is more than just part of the American Dream. Our Commonwealth's financial future depends on educating the next generation without saddling them with insurmountable debt in the process. All students, no matter what their background, deserve that chance at scholastic success today and economic security tomorrow.

We should be helping our Commonwealth's students build their futures, not crushing them with debt. The increasing cost of college is burdening Virginia's young people with unending debt that follows them for decades and makes it impossible for them to reinvest their earnings in our economy. Virginians believe in rewarding those who are working hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities and education they need to get there. Ensuring security in our students' financial future now is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's shared economic days ahead.

Get the Facts:

  • "$1.1 trillion. That is now the total outstanding student loan debt in the United States. Student loan debt is the second largest type of consumer debt in the U.S. Outstanding student loan debt accounts for roughly 6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, outpacing credit card debt and second only to mortgage debt." (Roanoke Times, April 29, 2014)

college_fees.jpg

  • Federal student debt is now over $1 trillion. (Politico, July 17, 2013)
  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it

January 29, 2014

The Virginian-Pilot reports, "A Virginia version of a law affording in-state college tuition to some students whose parents immigrated here with them illegally passed a House subcommittee Tuesday. The House Higher Education Subcommittee recommended approving the bill - carried by a Republican, Del. Tom Rust of Fairfax County - and sending it to the chamber's Appropriations Committee. It voted to table two other versions of the legislation, carried by Del. Alfonso Lopez and Del. Kaye Kory, both Democrats who have fought several years for passage of the law."

Progressive Point: We can only prepare a truly competitive Commonwealth workforce for tomorrow by guaranteeing every child in Virginia access to a world-class education today. Securing in-state tuition for qualified students who were brought to this country through no fault of their own is key to the development of a successful future workforce. All students, no matter their background, deserve a fair shot to succeed in the classroom and in our economy.

Virginia's record as the best place in the country to do business will suffer without providing the opportunity to succeed to every student. Our Commonwealth's competitiveness can only be enhanced by ensuring access to higher education. Allowing these students to pay in-state tuition rates not only makes college more attainable, but increases their earnings later on. Higher earnings lead straight to increased investment back into Virginia's economy.

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Currently only 5-10% of undocumented youth pursue higher education compared to 75% of their classmates.
  • According to the US Census Bureau, Virginia spends approximately $10,930 per year per student for primary and secondary education. This means that for the estimated 1,400 undocumented students that graduated from VA high schools in 2013, we have spent $15.3 million in 2013 alone, and approximately $198.9 million over 13 years to educate these children. To nurture and educate these students from elementary to high school, only to turn them away when they reach higher education is not only a waste of money, but also of great talent and potential.
  • Aside from the possible economic benefits of investing in a stronger workforce, the state will benefit immediately from the paid tuitions of these undocumented students. For 2010-2011, the average cost of in-state tuition was $16,833 at one of VA's 4-year institutions and $3,285 at VA community colleges. The revenue from the 1,400 graduating undocumented students could be as high as $23.5 million per year and $94.2 over 4 years. However, if these students are not eligible for in-state tuition, many will not attend college, and the state will lose this potential revenue.
  • State and local taxes paid by a college-degree holder ($4,600) are almost twice that of a high school graduate ($2,500). For each college-degree holder, their additional earnings translate into over $2,000 in state and local tax revenue each year, giving those economies an extra boost.
  • Fourteen states currently have laws permitting certain undocumented students to pay the in-state tuition at public institutes of higher education. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Keep our Commonwealth's economy competitive [LINK] via @ProgressVA

Dickie Bell's Detrimental Bill

user-pic

By Jack Cooper, ProgressVA Intern

I was a little taken aback while looking over HB207 proposed by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20).  This bill would require the Board of Education along with local school boards and teaching staff to create an overall positive environment for elementary and secondary school students that "encourages students to explore scientific questions" and "develop critical thinking skills" in the class room.  So far, this doesn't seem like such a bad idea until you get towards the end of the bill.  But the bill would also "allow teachers to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in science class".  

In reality, this legislation would protect teachers who question the broad scientific consensus of theories such as evolution and climate control, and allow them to introduce non-scientific or debunked research in the classroom.  This leaves me worried about quality of education our next generation will receive if this bill is passed.  A proper education is vital in order to ensure economic success.  Without it, the youth of today will be at risk of developing inadequate decision making skills and will be ill-prepared in general.  

This ill-conceived bill could prove detrimental to future students and society as a whole if it were to be implemented.  Can you imagine a future where government officials and business executives make important decisions that could impact our day to day lives based on debunked ideas and a poor education?  Bills like these put at risk the quality of education we provide our youth.  Teaching children to be skeptical of scientific theories will only handicap them in further down the line in their academic careers.  This bill has been referred to Committee on Education and will hopefully be killed before it reaches the floor and causes any harm to our school systems.

December 19, 2013

Del. Kaye Kory opines in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "The most recent research indicates that the education and support a child receives in the earliest years -- from birth to age 5 -- have a huge impact on his or her ability to succeed. Scientific and economic research proves that high-quality early childhood education equips children with the knowledge and skills they need not only to do well in school, but to obtain higher-paying jobs, rely less on social programs and contribute more to our state's economy."

Progressive Point: Prioritizing in a quality, early education today renews our economic recovery efforts and ensures a stronger workforce for Virginia tomorrow. Del. Kory points out investment our children's education early simultaneously strengthens our economy and our families. It's simple: Virginia has to lead in education if we are going to stay a leader in business.

All students, no matter their background, deserve a fair shot to succeed in the classroom and in our economy later on. Across the Commonwealth, we believe in rewarding those who work hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities they need to get there. Virginia's youngest students deserve the same support. Investing in our children now is an essential, nonpartisan commitment to our Commonwealth's shared financial future.

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Recent polling found that 70% of Americans, regardless of party, "favored a plan to better provide low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds with access to high-quality preschool programs." (Del. Kaye Kory, Richmond Times-Dispatch, December 19, 2013)
  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)
  • Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  •  
    • "90 percent of brain development occurs before a child's fifth birthday. Without early education programs that serve children under the age of five, our education system neglects children during the years its effects could be most significant.
  •  
    • Pre-K is also good for the economy. Nobel laureate James Heckman, an economist who calculates how public investments accelerate economic growth, has concluded that early childhood education has one of the greatest returns of any public investment.
  •  
    • Early learning programs make it more likely that children will do well in elementary school, less likely they will have to repeat a grade and more likely they will be successful in the future.
  •  
    • The return on investment may be even higher when children from low-income families gain access to pre-K programs. Research shows that the value of the program is most powerful for children who might otherwise have learning barriers - developmental disabilities, lack of access to books or other learning material, or a home where English isn't the primary language."

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Supporting students strengthens our families and our economy http://bit.ly/JHw9Zb via @ProgressVA

Bob McDonnell shorting our schools

user-pic

December 11, 2013

The Daily Press reports, "Gov. Bob McDonnell is offering an increase in state education funding, but the $582.6 million boost appears to fall short of projections for new mandated spending. 'We have to make additional cuts based on those numbers,' Poquoson schools Superintendent Jennifer Parish said. 'Yes, he's providing additional funding, but it doesn't cover the cost increase that K-12 education is experiencing.'"

Progressive Point: Investing in our children and schools today is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's economy tomorrow. Both the House and Senate finance committee projections say Bob McDonnell's budget proposal would short our students and our shared financial future by $100 million. Guaranteeing our children's education now is an essential, nonpartisan commitment to ensure a skilled Virginia workforce ready to compete in the global economy in the days ahead.

Virginia's Chamber of Commerce understands that our Commonwealth has to lead in education if we are going to stay a leader in business. They also understand the need for investments leading to a higher quality early childhood education and an improved and competitive workforce. In Virginia's new budget we have the opportunity to renew our economic recovery efforts and ensure a stronger workforce for tomorrow through investment in a quality education for all Virginia families.  

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Both the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate finance committees project Gov. McDonnell's state education funding in his two-year budget proposal "is about $100 million short of the cost for rebenchmarking and increases into the Virginia Retirement System. The Senate expects the total cost to be $605.9 million, the House estimates $624.5 million." (Daily Press, December 10, 2013)

va students graphic.jpg

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Last month, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)

  • Senator Tim Kaine recently opined in the Virginian-Pilot:
    • "90 percent of brain development occurs before a child's fifth birthday. Without early education programs that serve children under the age of five, our education system neglects children during the years its effects could be most significant.

    • Pre-K is also good for the economy. Nobel laureate James Heckman, an economist who calculates how public investments accelerate economic growth, has concluded that early childhood education has one of the greatest returns of any public investment.

    • Early learning programs make it more likely that children will do well in elementary school, less likely they will have to repeat a grade and more likely they will be successful in the future.

    • The return on investment may be even higher when children from low-income families gain access to pre-K programs. Research shows that the value of the program is most powerful for children who might otherwise have learning barriers - developmental disabilities, lack of access to books or other learning material, or a home where English isn't the primary language."

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: .@BobMcDonnell shorting our schools http://bit.ly/18UTUZA via @ProgressVA

November 27, 2013

The Roanoke Times opines, "Struggling schools slapped with a D or an F aren't the only ones that will be shortchanged by a state law creating an overly simplistic grading system. Under the letter-grade formula approved by the Virginia Board of Education last week, most Virginia schools will likely receive an A or a B starting next fall. But parents whose children attend those schools won't learn a thing from such a dumbed-down label. All schools have strengths and weaknesses, assets and challenges not easily conveyed in 1/140th of a tweet."

Progressive Point: Every child in Virginia has the right to a quality public education that prepares him or her to succeed in a 21st century economy. To ensure that right for our children, we need quality schools that are assessed accurately. Bob McDonnell's A-F school grading system won't explain school performance to parents nor will it help students whose scores may be suffering from language issues or poverty.

Ensuring a good education for all is the foundation of Virginia's future economic success. A single, simplistic grade isn't sufficient to summarize an entire school. Our children don't receive one grade to rate their total performance over the entire year. Grading schools in this simplistic way without learning and accurately understanding what is helping some students achieve and causing others to fall behind is foolhardy. Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions. Our parents and communities need a comprehensive approach to get there, not a simplified A-F grade. 

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Currently 15 states grade their schools on an A-F scale. There is no no evidence the program contributes to increasing performance. Virginia schools are still dealing with recent budget cuts from Bob McDonnell's tenure that have resulted in larger class sizes and staff reductions. (Roanoke Times, November 25, 2013)
  • Much needed recuperative education investment could "help operate summer enrichment programs and pay for technology, particularly for low-income students who don't have access to computers at home. Those are issues Roanoke is struggling to address right now as it tries to improve academic performance, and the city school system is also struggling with the cost." (Roanoke Times, November 25, 2013)
  • Delegate Rob Krupicka (September 6, 2013): "Since family income is a significant predictor of test scores, we have to be careful to not let A-F simply become a de-facto ranking of schools by average parent income. Our A-F implementation needs to expose all of the data that goes into the final letter grade. One school may be doing great in math, but have problems with reading. Another may be doing a great job bringing up the achievement of lower income students, but not making any significant progress with its middle-income students. Exposing these differences is a critical part of empowering communities with useful information about their schools."

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: A-F evaluations oversimplify multifaceted school performance http://bit.ly/1cO6h6q via @ProgressVA

November 25, 2013

The Roanoke Times opines, Virginia "is poised to move beyond partisan jockeying on at least one needed change to improve public schools: expanding access to preschool, the foundation upon which effective education reform rests. If only Virginia will take the opportunity. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce gave a push last week to slowly gathering momentum to integrate early childhood learning fully into the education of our young."

Progressive Point: Across the Commonwealth, our economic future and the future of our children are shared concerns. Improving the quality and availability of early childhood learning is a shared investment in our working families and Virginia businesses alike. Investing in our children now is an essential, nonpartisan commitment to our Commonwealth's shared financial future.

Senator Tim Kaine knows that investment in early education today ensures a skilled workforce ready to compete in the global economy tomorrow. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce desires investments leading to a higher quality early childhood education that will bring us to an improved and competitive Commonwealth workforce as well. Today we have the opportunity to renew our economic recovery efforts and ensure a stronger workforce for tomorrow through investment in a quality early education for all Virginia families. 

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Last week, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce shared Blueprint Virginia, "its strategic vision for growing the economy, which makes clear that businesses have widely embraced the idea that improving workforce development needs to include greater access to high quality early childhood education." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe, at an appearance before the Chamber last week, said he also shares the goal of expanding Pre-K and making it more available. The non-partisan goal was also shared by Gov. George Allen's administration in the 1990s when it "launched the Virginia Preschool Initiative for at-risk children who are not served by Head Start." (Roanoke Times, November 24, 2013)
  • Senator Tim Kaine opined just Saturday in the Virginian-Pilot:
    • "90 percent of brain development occurs before a child's fifth birthday. Without early education programs that serve children under the age of five, our education system neglects children during the years its effects could be most significant.

    • Pre-K is also good for the economy. Nobel laureate James Heckman, an economist who calculates how public investments accelerate economic growth, has concluded that early childhood education has one of the greatest returns of any public investment.
    • Early learning programs make it more likely that children will do well in elementary school, less likely they will have to repeat a grade and more likely they will be successful in the future.

    • The return on investment may be even higher when children from low-income families gain access to pre-K programs. Research shows that the value of the program is most powerful for children who might otherwise have learning barriers - developmental disabilities, lack of access to books or other learning material, or a home where English isn't the primary language."

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: A shared investment in Virginia families and businesses http://bit.ly/IdwdPH via @ProgressVA

September 16, 2013

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "Whether or not climate change leads to an increase in big hurricanes, one destructive effect of global warming is already at work in coastal Virginia -- rising sea levels. As sea levels go up, flooding from even low-level storms will become more destructive, scientists say. 'At times I think we get too locked in on the strongest storms, the Category 3, 4 and 5s,' said Marshall Shepherd, a University of Georgia atmospheric scientist. 'But if you look at the last five or 10 years, even the weaker storms can create a lot more damage.'"

Progressive Point: We continue to see more frequent and destructive droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms across the country. There's no longer any doubt we have a serious problem. Climate disruption is happening right here in Virginia, right now, and it's making the chances for dangerous weather damage worse. If we want to protect our kids and grandkids, we have to deal with climate change before it gets out of control.

Climate change and sea level rise are very real problems for our country and our Commonwealth - denying it exists won't make it go away. Conservative politicians like Ken Cuccinelli are continuing to play politics rather than seeking out solutions for Virginia families. Failing to acknowledge its threat to our neighborhoods, economy, and environment is a failure of leadership, especially when the overwhelming majority of voters agree we should start doing more. We can do something about climate change today, but only if we have leaders who are honest about confronting it - not suing scientists in court.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • "Doug Dwoyer, a former NASA manager who lectures on climate change, said that coastal buildup means 'economic damage from hurricanes will continue to increase even without increases in hurricane strength and/or frequency.'" (Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 15, 2013)

  • Scientific tide measurements in Norfolk show the sea level has risen by 14.5 inches in the last 100 years with the trend expected to continue. (Virginian-Pilot, June 10, 2012)

  • The city of Norfolk spends $6 million a year to elevate roads, improve drainage, and help homeowners raise their houses. 5 percent to 10 percent of the city's lowest-lying neighborhoods have heavy flooding. Additionally, the naval base spends hundreds of millions of dollars brace piers to withstand rising water. (ThinkProgress, June 10, 2012)

  • Nine out of 10 Americans say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs, and 9 out of 10 Americans agree that developing sources of clean energy should be a priority for the President and Congress. (Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Sept. 2012)

  • Climate change is accepted scientific consensus. 97% of scientists studying weather and climate agree that climate change is real, that it is happening here & now, and that it is caused by manmade industrial carbon pollution. (University of Illinois at Chicago, January, 2009)

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Leadership is confronting climate change in Virginia today http://bit.ly/181TT0v @ProgressVA

September 13, 2013

The Loudoun Times reports, "State Del. Tag Greason (R-32nd) says he has yet to meet a single parent in his Loudoun County district who doesn't support his school grading bill approved by the General Assembly in 2013, but his critics are questioning the brain trust behind the seemingly straightforward legislation... Yet in recent weeks, Greason's critics, including Democrat Elizabeth Miller -- Greason's challenger in the Nov. 5 election -- have pointed to the fact that A-F grading has been a lobbying point of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative think tank that promotes limited government and free markets."

Progressive Point: We need leaders who work for us, not corporate front groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC works with state legislatures to introduce bills written and endorsed by corporate lobbyists, with zero disclosure. These sorts of policies aren't good for Virginia and they're not good for our community schools. Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, not helping national conservative organizations who want to make a buck off our kids.

If corporations want to influence policy in Virginia, they should play by the same rules as everyone else: register as a lobbyist and do their work out in the open. Instead, our tax dollars are paying for our representatives to meet with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors, to plan legislation to increase their corporate bottom lines. That's not democracy by and for the people. Our elected leaders should be protecting Virginia against corporate special interests -- not doing their bidding in Richmond.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts: via ProgressVA Education Fund:

  •  
    • Voucher and virtual education legislation introduced in Virginia was drawn from ALEC models, carried by ALEC legislative members, and, in the case of virtual schools, benefitted ALEC corporate members.
    • K12, Inc., a key member of ALEC's Education Task Force, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Governor Bob McDonnell and state legislators. K12 lobbied hard for 2010 legislation establishing private virtual schools in Virginia and then profited off of loopholes that allowed them to collect large per-student fees.
    • K12's Virginia Virtual Academy fell behind on 20 of 22 measures of testing student achievement when compared to face-to-face instruction. Carroll County has since suspended their sponsorship of the program.

ALEC provides Virginia members with "issue alerts," "talking points," and "press release templates" expressing support or opposition to state legislation, despite its claims that "ALEC does not lobby in any state." As detailed in ProgressVA's 2012 report, "ALEC Exposed", ALEC model legislation has been frequently introduced in Virginia's legislature, at times word for word. The 2012 report also found the Commonwealth had spent over $230,000 in public funds to subsidize legislators' participation in these meetings with corporate lobbyists.

Despite claims to the contrary, ALEC's agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. Corporate lobbyists work behind closed doors to draft legislation designed to benefit their bottom lines. Virginia has seen a range of the resulting ALEC "model bills" that have been adopted by ALEC "task forces" introduced in the General Assembly. To read the original report on ALEC's impact on public policy in Virginia, please see "ALEC Exposed: Who is writing Virginia's laws?"

To review the new report on ALEC's impact on education policy, please see ALEC v Kids.

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: The corporate front group writing VA's education laws http://bit.ly/181TT0v @ProgressVA

September 12, 2013

The Commonwealth Institute reports, "Virginia has cut per-pupil investment in K-12 schools by over 11 percent since 2008, a deeper cut than 10 other states, according to a report released today by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C. State revenue declined sharply during the recession. But instead of addressing budget shortfalls by taking a balanced approach that includes new revenues, Virginia relied very heavily on cuts to state services, including education."

Progressive Point: It's simple, education cuts have economic consequences for all of us. While Bob McDonnell's education cuts have hurt, Ken Cuccinelli wants to divert even more from our students to pay off educational profiteers and political donors. Cuccinelli's irresponsible tax plan would cut hundreds of millions from our shared investment in K-12 education and puts politics first - not our students and schools.

Investing in our children now is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's shared financial future. Now is the time to restore and renew our economic recovery efforts through education. Across the Commonwealth, we believe in rewarding those who are working hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities and education they need to get there. Our communities should be focused on supporting families who are struggling to make ends meet, not cutting off education to give away more tax cuts to the wealthy.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

va students graphic.jpg

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Ken Cuccinelli's so-called "parent trigger" proposal is copied directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate front-group. Cuccinelli's "Parent Empowerment and Choice Act" is the same name as the ALEC model. Additionally, as is discussed in our ALEC V. Kids report, the ALEC model is based on a California law that was proposed by a private charter operator. ALEC actually revised that law to give parents fewer choices, essentially steering them into privatizing public schools. (ProgressVA)

  • Del. Rob Krupicka on Ken Cuccinelli's plan:
    • "Forcing local taxpayers to use property taxes for charter schools: (F) The idea that the state should force local government to spend local tax dollars on new charter schools contradicts every basic idea of democracy. Local City Councils and County Boards can decide if they want to fund new education options. Since they are often the primary funders of their schools, they should not be forced to pay for things they don't think are needed."

    • "Giving public K-12 funds to religious schools: (F) This is the most significant focus in Cuccinelli's plan. He wants to give public money to private religious schools and doesn't seem to think those schools have any obligations to meet state SOL standards. Our public schools and teachers have already struggled with diminished funds and higher standards. Moving scarce resources to private, religious schools makes this worse. Especially as these schools don't have the same academic standards as public schools."

  • Cuccinelli's proposals to expand virtual school funding, charter schools, and the faux-voucher program are all also drawn from ALEC. (ProgressVA)

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Education cuts have economic consequences for all of us http://bit.ly/16nUTxx @ProgressVA

Cuccinelli's education cuts

user-pic

September 4, 2013

The Virginian-Pilot reports, "Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor, said Tuesday that policies proposed by his Republican opponent would lead to devastating cuts in funding for Virginia's public schools. Meeting with education students at Old Dominion University, McAuliffe said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's proposed $1.4 billion income tax cut would necessitate an annual reduction of at least $525 million in state education funding, leading to layoffs of more than 8,000 teachers. For Norfolk schools, McAuliffe said, that translates into a budget cut of more than $16 million and more than 250 teacher layoffs."

Progressive Point: When it comes to education, our children's future economic success is paramount. Ken Cuccinelli's latest political proposal would divert money away from our students to pay education profiteers. Cutting hundreds of millions from our shared investment in K-12 education puts politics first - not our students and schools.

Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, not helping corporations profit off our kids. Cuccinelli's education plan copies failed policies pushed by conservative ideologues that are draining money away from schools and home front investments. We've seen this model coporate legislation before when the secretive corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed it. Our children deserve a first-rate education, not Cuccinelli's corporate giveaways.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Parent Trigger legislation that Ken Cuccinelli is proposing is drawn directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The name he's given, "Parent Empowerment and Choice Act" is the same name as the ALEC model. Additionally, as is discussed in our ALEC V. Kids report, the ALEC model is based on a California law that was proposed by a private charter operator. ALEC actually revised that law to give parents fewer choices, essentially steering them into privatizing public schools. (ProgressVA)

  • Del. Rob Krupicka on Ken Cuccinelli's plan:
    • "Forcing local taxpayers to use property taxes for charter schools: (F) The idea that the state should force local government to spend local tax dollars on new charter schools contradicts every basic idea of democracy. Local City Councils and County Boards can decide if they want to fund new education options. Since they are often the primary funders of their schools, they should not be forced to pay for things they don't think are needed."

    • "Giving public K-12 funds to religious schools: (F) This is the most significant focus in Cuccinelli's plan. He wants to give public money to private religious schools and doesn't seem to think those schools have any obligations to meet state SOL standards. Our public schools and teachers have already struggled with diminished funds and higher standards. Moving scarce resources to private, religious schools makes this worse. Especially as these schools don't have the same academic standards as public schools."


  • The virtual school funding, charter school proposals, and expansion of the faux-voucher program are all also drawn on ALEC. Cuccinelli's proposals aren't education proposals, they're proposals to help private corporations profit off of our kids. (ProgressVA)

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Alexandra "Sandy" Liddy Bourne, policy director for the Ken Cuccinelli for Governor campaign, previously served as policy director for the American Legislative Exchange Council. "She also served as the executive director for "a think tank founded by Gov. George Allen..." and "as vice president for policy and strategy for the Heartland Institute" - a hyper-conservative think tank. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 29, 2013)

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Cuccinelli's education cuts http://bit.ly/17uBdEj @ProgressVA

August 29, 2013

The Virginian-Pilot reports, "Once again, sequestration has harmed the people furthest from the massive government spending that a thoughtless mix of across-the-board, arbitrary cuts was supposed to resolve. To deal with the resulting budget cuts, Head Start across the country excluded more than 57,000 children from enrollment in programs that provide preschool to low-income families. It also reduced hours, staffing and transportation. Virginia's share of that tally is about 1,200 children who will be less prepared for kindergarten."

Progressive Point: Virginia's got to lead in education if we are going to stay a leader in business. Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, not foolish campaign pandering and rhetoric. Investing in our children now is an essential commitment to our Commonwealth's shared economic future.

Virginia should be leading in education opportunities for our children. Instead of pushing forward on strategies to maximize student achievement, conservatives in Richmond are copying old failed policies. All students, no matter their background, deserve that chance to succeed. Across the Commonwealth, we believe in rewarding those who are working hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities and education they need to get there. Our communities should be focused on supporting families who are struggling to make ends meet, not cutting off education to give away more tax cuts to the wealthy.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Ken Cuccinelli's so-called "parent trigger" proposal is copied directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate front-group. Cuccinelli's "Parent Empowerment and Choice Act" is the same name as the ALEC model. Additionally, as is discussed in our ALEC V. Kids report, the ALEC model is based on a California law that was proposed by a private charter operator. ALEC actually revised that law to give parents fewer choices, essentially steering them into privatizing public schools. (ProgressVA)

  • Del. Rob Krupicka on Ken Cuccinelli's plan:
    • "Forcing local taxpayers to use property taxes for charter schools: (F) The idea that the state should force local government to spend local tax dollars on new charter schools contradicts every basic idea of democracy. Local City Councils and County Boards can decide if they want to fund new education options. Since they are often the primary funders of their schools, they should not be forced to pay for things they don't think are needed."

    • "Giving public K-12 funds to religious schools: (F) This is the most significant focus in Cuccinelli's plan. He wants to give public money to private religious schools and doesn't seem to think those schools have any obligations to meet state SOL standards. Our public schools and teachers have already struggled with diminished funds and higher standards. Moving scarce resources to private, religious schools makes this worse. Especially as these schools don't have the same academic standards as public schools."


  • Cuccinelli's proposals to expand virtual school funding, charter schools, and the faux-voucher program are all also drawn from ALEC. (ProgressVA)

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Leading in education, leading in business http://bit.ly/15j9MmP @ProgressVA

August 14, 2013

The Washington Post reports, "Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II unveiled a 12-point education plan Tuesday that would push for charter schools, offer voucher-like scholarships for preschoolers and empower a majority of parents to take over their children's failing school, according to an outline of his K-12 education plan... The package of reforms contained in Cuccinelli's K-12 education plan include several that have become popular in recent years, especially among conservatives, although the efficacy of some of the initiatives has been disputed."

Progressive Point: Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, not helping corporations profit off our kids. Virginia's future financial success depends on investment in education and opportunity. Ken Cuccinelli's education plan is copies failed policies pushed by conservative ideologues in other parts of the country that are draining money away from schools and home front investments.

Working families have had enough of passing the buck on education under Bob McDonnell. We've also seen this model conservative legislation before when the secretive corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed it. Ken Cuccinelli's proposals to continue pushing privatization and virtual schools for profit is just more of the same. Taking authority and money away from localities and public schools, while continuing to ignore teachers, only pushes our students further in the wrong direction. Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, but Ken Cuccinelli's ideological campaign clearly is not.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Parent Trigger legislation that Ken Cuccinelli is proposing is drawn directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The name he's given, "Parent Empowerment and Choice Act" is the same name as the ALEC model. Additionally, as is discussed in our ALEC V. Kids report, the ALEC model is based on a California law that was proposed by a private charter operator. ALEC actually revised that law to give parents fewer choices, essentially steering them into privatizing public schools. (ProgressVA)

  • Del. Rob Krupicka on Ken Cuccinelli's plan:
    • "Forcing local taxpayers to use property taxes for charter schools: (F) The idea that the state should force local government to spend local tax dollars on new charter schools contradicts every basic idea of democracy.  Local City Councils and County Boards can decide if they want to fund new education options.  Since they are often the primary funders of their schools, they should not be forced to pay for things they don't think are needed."

    • "Giving public K-12 funds to religious schools: (F) This is the most significant focus in Cuccinelli's plan. He wants to give public money to private religious schools and doesn't seem to think those schools have any obligations to meet state SOL standards. Our public schools and teachers have already struggled with diminished funds and higher standards. Moving scarce resources to private, religious schools makes this worse. Especially as these schools don't have the same academic standards as public schools."


  • The virtual school funding, charter school proposals, and expansion of the faux-voucher program are all also drawn on ALEC. Cuccinelli's proposals aren't education proposals, they're proposals to help private corporations profit off of our kids. (ProgressVA)

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Cuccinelli's recycled corporate education proposals have a record of failure http://bit.ly/16LqZkN @ProgressVA

August 6, 2013

Bacon's Rebellion reports, "The plundering of the middle class continues unabated. The State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) has tallied the numbers and found that in-state undergraduates at Virginia's public colleges and universities will see a 5.1% average increase in tuition and fees this fall. That exceeds last year's 4.5% rise, despite an additional $25 million in state aid in the current fiscal year. The increases make college more unaffordable than ever. As seen in the chart above, total charges, including room and board, for students at four-year colleges now absorb 46% of per capita disposable income -- up from 32.2% in 2001-2002."

Progressive Point: Working families are struggling - and they know the security of their future depends on their educational opportunity to succeed. But the increasing cost of college is closing the door and threatening that future. Virginia needs leaders who understand that access to college is more than just part of the American Dream. Our Commonwealth's future depends on educating the next generation, and not just those with well-off parents.

All students, no matter what their background, deserve that chance to succeed. The increasing cost of college is saddling young people with insurmountable debt that follows them for decades and makes it harder for to reinvest their earnings in our economy. We believe in rewarding those who are working hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities and education they need to get there. We should be helping our kids build their futures, not crushing them with debt.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

college_fees.jpg

  • Federal student debt is now over $1 trillion. (Politico, July 17, 2013)

  • "The average increase at the state's community colleges will be 4.4 percent. Tuition at Lynchburg College is rising 5 percent from $31,060 to $32,620 this fall. Sweet Briar College has implemented a 4 percent increase, taking rates up to $33,130. Randolph College has increased rates by 3.9 percent to $32,340." (The News & Advance, August 5, 2013)

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Gov. Bob McDonnell touted a 2011 surplus of more than $400 million. Then in the next budget he mandating state agencies draft plans for 4 percent cutbacks. (Virginian-Pilot, November 14, 2012)

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: College access is more than a piece of the American Dream http://bit.ly/14wjYbn @ProgressVA

July 26, 2013

Michael Petit, executive director of Every Child Matters, opines in the Richmond Times Dispatch, "Last month, another national study reported on the economic well-being of American children and their families, and it contained some shocking findings... How has Virginia fared? According to data from the Census Bureau, the 'deep poverty' rate jumped by more than 20 percent, putting 260,000 children in households in which the income level for a family of four was below $22,000 per year."

Progressive Point: All children deserve the opportunity to succeed, even if they didn't get the best start in life. Investing in our children now is an investment in our shared economic future. Virginia should be leading in education and opportunity, but instead we're copying failed policies pushed by conservative ideologues that are draining money away from schools and home front investments.

We should be focused on supporting families who are struggling to make ends meet, not cutting off education and health care to give away more tax cuts to the wealthy. It's hard work being poor in this country. We should reward those who are working hard to find financial security by supporting the opportunities and education they need to get there. We don't invest less in the things we value, and in Virginia we value our children and our shared economic future.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Via the Richmond Times Dispatch, a Mason-Dixon organization poll found:
    • "[N]early 9 in 10 Virginians agree it's important to 'reduce child hunger,' including 82 percent of self-identified conservatives and 86 percent of self-identified moderates."

    • "Eighty-five percent of Virginians said it was important that 'we lower K-12 class size and improve school buildings and other infrastructure.'"

    • "[N]early 8 in 10 Virginians agreed it was important that 'every child have access to quality health care,' including 80 percent of those who make less than $35,000 per year, and 75 percent of those who make more than $100,000."

    • "Support for these programs was overwhelming among key swing voters, including women in general, and particularly those with children. Exploding demographic groups, such as Hispanics, who have almost doubled their share of Virginia's population since 2000, and Asians, who have swelled during this same period by 68 percent, also strongly support investing in our kids."
  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Americans strongly and consistantly oppose cuts to education spending for both K-12 and higher education. (CEF)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

  • Gov. Bob McDonnell touted a 2011 surplus of more than $400 million. Then in the next budget he mandating state agencies draft plans for 4 percent cutbacks. (Virginian-Pilot, November 14, 2012)

  • According to a recent report by 24/7 Wall St., Virginia has cut support to localities by 8.5 percent between 2009 and 2010. This equals a loss of $1 billion for communities, the 3rd worst cut in the country. (Roanoke Times, July 9, 2012) 

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Our children's education is our economic future http://bit.ly/17IIhzP @ProgressVA

July 25, 2013

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports, "E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, has drawn fire from public educators and Democrats for his announcement that, if elected, he would push for a constitutional amendment supporting equal resources for homeschoolers. Meg Gruber, president of the Virginia Education Association, called Jackson's proposal a 'reckless agenda' that would be a 'major blow' to public schools. 'Using our most recent data available on actual funding, we estimate that the diversion of state funding to homeschooling families would take about $100 million out of the aid currently going to public education,' Gruber said in an interview Tuesday.'

Progressive Point: When it comes to public education, one question should guide us: What is best for our students? So Virginians would be right to wonder why E. W. Jackson supports a scheme that would cut up to $100 million from our community schools. Public schools are an investment in an educated workforce and a stronger Virginia economy, but Jackson's uneducated proposal would undermine our children and our future.

Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, not foolish campaign pandering and rhetoric. Our elected officials must understand that ensuring millions of kids receive a quality public education is an investment in Virginia's economic future. Virginia needs leaders who prioritize public education. Jackson's foolhardy proposal would lay off thousands teachers. That's not a winning recipe for our kids or economic growth.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts:

  • Meg Gruber, president of the Virginia Education Association, said that E. W. Jackson's proposal would force either 1,700 teachers being lost or a $100 million tax hike for Virginia families. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 23, 2013)

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012) 

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Jackson's uneducated proposal undermines our children and economy http://bit.ly/19kjm9F @ProgressVA

June 27, 2013

This morning, ProgressVA Education Fund released a new report detailing the damaging influence the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate front group, has on public education policy in Virginia and across the country. The report, entitled ALEC v Kids, documents the growing footprint that ALEC has in Virginia, and across the country, including its unprecedented access to elected officials and the drafting of 'model' education policy designed to benefit ALEC's corporate funders which compliant lawmakers then push into law.

Progressive Point: Virginia voters deserve a state legislature that works for them--not the for-profit education industrial complex. Big corporations are profiting off of our children and they are using the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate front group, to push legislation designed to privatize our community schools.

When it comes to public education, one question should guide us: What is best for our students? Ensuring our kids receive a world class education that prepares them to succeed in a global economy must be our first priority when it comes to public education, not how much money big corporations can make in the process. Thanks to ALEC, private interests are overshadowing the needs of those attending and working in our public schools. We need to put children, not profits, first.

Forward to a friend

Facebook Share Button

Tweet Button

Get the Facts: via ProgressVA Education Fund:

Among the report's key findings:

  • Voucher and virtual education legislation introduced in Virginia was drawn from ALEC models, carried by ALEC legislative members, and, in the case of virtual schools, benefitted ALEC corporate members.
  • K12, Inc., a key member of ALEC's Education Task Force, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Governor Bob McDonnell and state legislators. K12 lobbied hard for 2010 legislation establishing private virtual schools in Virginia and then profited off of loopholes that allowed them to collect large per-student fees.
  • K12's Virginia Virtual Academy fell behind on 20 of 22 measures of testing student achievement when compared to face-to-face instruction. Carroll County has since suspended their sponsorship of the program.

ALEC provides Virginia members with "issue alerts," "talking points," and "press release templates" expressing support or opposition to state legislation, despite its claims that "ALEC does not lobby in any state." As detailed in ProgressVA's 2012 report, "ALEC Exposed", ALEC model legislation has been frequently introduced in Virginia's legislature, at times word for word. The 2012 report also found the Commonwealth had spent over $230,000 in public funds to subsidize legislators' participation in these meetings with corporate lobbyists.

Despite claims to the contrary, ALEC's agenda is not based upon ideology, but rather upon financial rewards for its corporate funders. Corporate lobbyists work behind closed doors to draft legislation designed to benefit their bottom lines. Virginia has seen a range of the resulting ALEC "model bills" that have been adopted by ALEC "task forces" introduced in the General Assembly. To read the original report on ALEC's impact on public policy in Virginia, please see "ALEC Exposed: Who is writing Virginia's laws?"

To review the new report on ALEC's impact on education policy, please see ALEC v Kids.

Email a FriendForward to a Friend via email

Share on FacebookShare on Facebook

Share on TwitterTweet it: Corporations are profiting off our kids http://bit.ly/1261w25 @ProgressVA

1