Provide equal access to world-class public schools, including universal preschool. Raise teacher pay.
Every child’s basic right to learn in a safe and respectful environment is the cornerstone of my public education policy. I support a multi-pronged approach to ensure that the state protects access to public education and pays its fair share to local school districts. This effort includes establishing policy that requires funding of Pre-K - 12 education. Such actions are necessary to ensure universal preschool, prevent early learning gaps, and express a codified commitment to respect and fund public education.
My commitment to public education focuses on the well-being of the whole child, the family, and the community. I am considering proposing legislation to:
• Recognize that children learn best in their communities and should be able to safely commute to and from school. Thus, I would patron a bill recognizing the need for safe ingress and egress from the school building and prioritizing state resources, including partnering with VDOT to address safety concerns at our local schools. This legislation would establish a liaison between VDOT and the local school district to address all such concerns on a priority basis.
• Identify resources to fully fund public schools at the state level in order to address the SOQ requirements and remove the support cap on funding for personnel.
• Fund mental health services for needs arising due to the opioid crisis and other substance abuse issues, including preventative education and support referral services for students who may be at risk or have experienced an opioid or other drug-related medical crisis.
• Fund schools to improve safety and security measures and prevent unauthorized access to public schools.
• Support the development, implementation, and funding of a centralized and standardized state reporting system to alert schools when an employee engages in misconduct as defined by the VA criminal code.
• Initiate a study and funding to provide trauma-informed training for staff members and mental health support so that when students experience bullying or other marginalizing events, staff members are able to recognize the harm of such actions and avoid re-traumatizing students.
• Support the right to collective bargaining and repeal the "right to work” law.
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