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Opinion | The future of education in Virginia is headed in the right direction

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Aimee Guidera is the Virginia Secretary of Education.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (Republican)’s first action within an hour of taking the oath of office was to affirm his commitment to restoring educational excellence across the Union. Since day one, his administration has focused on providing opportunities for all learners to access quality education, regardless of background or zip code.Parents and Children Back to School While ready, our commitment to Virginians is to ensure that every family has access to a quality education that prepares their children to succeed in life.

Some question the use of the term “restore”. They cite national rankings and question why we’re not honoring our reputation. I know there is excellence in education in Virginia. I was a consumer of it. I first became a Virginian in 1995, when her husband, George, joined her in one of the most innovative law and economics programs in America at Mason University. I chose to We were promised good public schools for our daughters, so we remained Virginians. But we also know that the special educational experiences our families have benefited from are not the norm for every family or every community in the Commonwealth.

A culture of high expectations for each student will not accept the fact that 42% of second graders are unable to read on their own and reading performance on statewide learning standards tests has declined every year since 2017. And only 33% of her in 8th grade can read. Our reputation and overall high average grades mask widening performance disparities among student demographic groups and recent declines compared to other states on various academic performance measures.

The recent historic Congress, which reached a $3.2 billion education budget, laid a strong foundation for restoring educational excellence by prioritizing literacy and building a best-in-class education system. rice field. If Virginia is a great place to live, work, and raise a family, it must be a great place to study. Money is not a silver bullet, especially in education. But we know that, with transparency and accountability, funding must be a priority to build a world-class workforce pipeline.

These historic investments include: A 10% increase in her salary and a $1,000 bonus to every teacher to attract, grow and retain quality teachers. Fully fund the bipartisan Virginia Literacy Act to transform evidence-based reading training, tools and education. In a combination of grants and school construction loans, he will allocate $1.25 billion to provide a safe and vibrant educational environment for Virginia’s children. To keep campuses and schools safe, Youngkin added her $4.7 million School Resource Officer Incentive to her grants to increase her program by $22.5 million each year, increasing this important program more than five times her supported new School Resource Officers. Provided additional security funding to historically black colleges and universities. It also authorized an investigation into the mishandling of Loudoun County Public Schools sexual assault cases.

Youngkin’s commitment to protecting and expanding educational freedom and innovation is demonstrated by this budget. His new $100 million investment to help our public and private two- and four-year colleges launch dozens of pioneering innovation lab schools across the Commonwealth will benefit careers promotes readiness and success in Universities work with employers, school districts, and other community organizations to foster new approaches to ensuring students have multiple pathways to prepare for life. To help make educational choices for the poorest families, Youngkin saved the tax credit scholarship program from being cut in half. He also pledged to all public universities to support free inquiry and speech on our campuses and provide plans to promote diversity of thought in higher education.

During the legislative session, Youngkin strengthened parental rights regarding the health, education and well-being of their children. He reaffirmed parents’ decision to wear masks for their children and issued new coronavirus guidance that follows legislation codifying this right. Youngkin continued to address parental concerns and ended the use of all forms of discrimination in the classroom (this was documented in a report on the use of inherently divisive concepts in schools). You will be notified when sexually explicit material is included in the school curriculum.

Through a bipartisan partnership, Youngkin achieved its Day 1 agenda. She will work with all stakeholders, from parents and teachers to policy makers, in an effort to do the urgent task of making sure every child in the Commonwealth is ready to thrive. double up.