Front Page February 1, 2013 posted by Pete 2013

Reforming Our Schools & Making Virginia #1 in Education

It’s National School Choice Week, and the benefits of Education Reform are sweeping our nation.  But in Virginia, liberal career politicians seem determined to keep our children from enjoying those benefits—like the increased opportunity that comes from a quality education.

Instead, liberal Richmond insiders prefer to bow to the demands of their special-interest allies in the Teachers Unions, even when it means hurting the next generation of Virginians.

If you look at Virginia’s education laws, you’d think the teachers unions wrote them. The Commonwealth has some of the worst, weakest education laws in the nation—laws that force children and parents to take a backseat to the demands of union bosses.

Instead of rewarding our hardest-working, most innovative teachers, Virginia favors those who have simply been around longest. And instead of putting parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to how their children are educated, Virginia keeps them trapped in failing schools.

Virginia’s children, families and taxpayers deserve better.

But this week, Virginia Senate Democrats once again sided with their big-union allies against the best interests of children when they killed a Constitutional Amendment to expand School Choice for students and families in the Commonwealth.

That means even more children in Virginia will be trapped in failing schools, their parents unable to help them, all because liberal insiders in Richmond are more concerned with bowing to their allies in the teachers unions than ensuring opportunity for each and every student in the Commonwealth.

Now, mind you—as a product of Virginia’s public higher education system, Pete has a lot of pride in Virginia’s schools. His alma mater, the College of William and Mary (where Pete is now an active member of the Board of Visitors), was the very first college chartered in the New World, a lone beacon of higher learning at its founding in 1693.

Virginia has a long, storied, and successful history of leadership in education, and many of our schools remain excellent—but far too many others are failing, trapping generations of students in a cycle of despair.

We can do better—and Pete Snyder will fight to make sure Virginia’s schools lead the way for our nation once again.

After all, the Commonwealth can’t continue to be #1 in business if our education system is sliding downwards.

That’s why Pete has a comprehensive plan to reform and transform Virginia’s education system and return it to greatness by ensuring that our schools are held accountable to students, parents and taxpayers:

  • Promoting Competition & Inspiring Excellence. Virginia needs competition to inspire excellence—and competition only happens when parents have choices. Virginia right now has some of the fewest Charter Schools, and some of the weakest Charter laws. Pete will work to build a grassroots, bottom-up coalition of parents, teachers, education officials, community and business leaders to pass a Constitutional Amendment allowing for more Charter Schools. To lead in the future, Virginia needs real reform now.
  • Attracting & Rewarding Our Best Teachers. Virginia’s kids deserve the best teachers, and Virginia’s best teachers deserve to be rewarded for their excellence. At the same time, we must hold low-performing teachers accountable. Pete supports a performance-based system that not only increases salaries for our best teachers and principals, but also offers targeted bonuses for special achievements, such as improved Standard of Learning (SOL) scores and graduation rates. Pete will eliminate waste and bureaucracy with the goal of reducing administrative costs by 10%, and put that savings toward attracting and keeping the best-performing educators. As an entrepreneur and conservative with real-world experience, Pete knows that accountability and incentives—free-markets—are what boost performance and create a culture of success.
  • Holding Failing Schools Accountable. No child should be trapped in a failing school because his or her parents can’t afford to help them escape. And taxpayers should not be trapped in a cycle of funding failing schools, throwing ever more money at a problem that career politicians have refused to solve. Pete will promote an aggressive education agenda that gives Virginians the ability to address local school systems that fail to achieve accreditation as a result of failing SOL scores. As with individual teachers, school administrators must be held accountable for their systemic failures—and likewise rewarded for inspiring a culture of success.

Reforming our schools and making Virginia #1 in education won’t be easy. Liberal career politicians and entrenched special interests will try to stand in our way. But by building a broad coalition and focusing on achievable, common-sense goals, Pete will help transform Virginia’s schools to the benefit of each child and their family, as well as our communities, taxpayers and our economy.

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