It has truly been a wonderful week getting to see children from kindergarten to high school returning to the classroom. It may look a little different, but there is no substitute for getting to see your friends, meeting new people, and - most importantly - learning from a teacher that's in the same room and not on the other end of a video call.
Unfortunately, this week has its lows as well. We are now seeing on paper what most of us knew all along - online learning has failed our children. One obvious example is that the 2020-2021 Standards of Learning (SOL) test scores fell dramatically from 2018-2019.
Here’s a breakdown of how schools did on average in the 2020-2021 school year:
69% passed reading tests, compared with 78% during the 2018-2019 school year.
59% passed in science, compared with 81% for the 2018-2019 school year.
54% of students tested in mathematics passed, compared with 82% for the 2018-2019 school year.
This is unacceptable. Our so-called leadership in the House of Delegates has failed our children. They failed to do one of their core jobs - providing quality public education. Instead, Democrats like my opponent simply bloviated about their feelings and national issues.
Parents have done everything to fight for their children. They have quit jobs, showed up to school board meetings, begged and pleaded with those in charge to help, and even tried to recall those who wouldn't listen. The fierceness with which parents have fought for their children's education has been overwhelming. Unfortunately, no one listened.
Thanks to career politicians like my opponent, we are playing from behind, but there is still time to keep our promise to Virginia's children:
First, we must make plans to get our kids caught up on what they missed. We should be offering extra tutoring and after-school programs free of charge for any student that wants the help. It is our duty as a community to see to it that the next generation is educated.
Second, we must make sure that we do not allow our schools to be shut down again. We cannot allow fear-mongering by the media to deny our children the ability to be in a classroom five days a week.
After speaking with many teachers in the area, I have learned that they - along with most parents - think that students must be in classrooms to be able to learn and retain knowledge. They feel confident that we can do it safely and that it is the only way to get the quality education we expect here in Northern Virginia.
Our public schools are already feeling the impact of Virginia's inept leadership as students are leaving in droves to attend private schools. I fundamentally support school choice, but families without the means to move or send their children to private schools are at an inherent disadvantage. When students leave, the state doesn't give as many resources to the vacated public schools, creating a vicious cycle of deteriorating public education.
It is time for new leadership in Virginia. Our future is crumbling - and all the career politicians can think about is getting rich.
Be the change you want to see. That's exactly what I'm doing - and I hope to have your support on November 2nd.
Republican Candidate for House of Delegates
P.S. – Our team is working around the clock to flip the 53rd District and finally give you the representation you deserve. Please consider making a small contribution of just $5, $10, or even $20 to aid in our efforts.