I am proud to send my children to public schools, right here in our community, both now and in the future. I've worked in some of those schools myself, as a school nurse, and I've seen firsthand the dedication, hard work, and commitment of our talented teachers and staff. They go out of their way to ensure that every single child has a chance to succeed. And they do it without compromising the ability of any student to pursue excellence.
There's a quote (possibly apocryphal) attributed to Thomas Jefferson: "An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people." Whether he uttered those words or not, they express an inarguable principle: democracy depends on access to knowledge for all our people. And our economy does too.
So we need to sustain excellence in our public schools. We can do that by supporting the teachers and staff who already do such great work. Rather than burdening them with endless assessments and arbitrary requirements, we need to help them to deliver a truly well-rounded education. That means the humanities and social sciences as well as STEAM programs. It also means physical education, art, music, and foreign language. Cutting corners and teaching to the test is no way to prepare our children for the challenges of a complex democracy or a high-tech economy.
Virginia is also blessed to have some of the very best public universities in the country. These institutions create jobs and other opportunities for many people in the 58th District. We need to protect that proud legacy. But we also need to do a better job of keeping tuition costs under control. Right now, attending many public universities in the Commonwealth — including my alma mater — is financially out-of-reach for middle-class families. No one should have to go into lifelong debt to get a college degree- and not everyone needs a four year degree! We need to make sure we're making trade, apprenticeship, and community college options available to folks who want them.