RICHMOND, Va.—This morning, Governor Youngkin and the VA Department of Education released the final report from Superintendent Jillian Balow regarding Virginia’s public schools. While House Democrats remain committed to providing every student with a quality education, the report released today provides limited data, without context, that supports his narrative of failing schools without proposing any real solutions to the issues in public education that Democrats have been seeking to address.
In response, House Democratic Caucus Chair Charniele Herring said:
“This report seeks to do only one thing: create distrust for our public schools. Just because he hasn’t been paying attention doesn’t mean that there has been a lack of transparency in reporting – the problems he highlighted are the same problems that Democrats are fighting to fix. Using data from the last five years, two of which were spent dealing with a global pandemic, tells an incomplete story of Virginia’s schools and we will not quietly stand by and watch this Governor lay the groundwork for tearing down our education system.”
Delegate Elizabeth Guzman said:
“While it’s good that the Governor, Secretary Guidera and Superintendent Balow have finally recognized the achievement gap for Black and Hispanic students in Virginia, they have chosen not to address the cause of the issue or even suggest any real solutions for the problem. The fact is, if budgets are a demonstration of our values, Governor Youngkin places no value on actually providing the resources to close these gaps, he simply wants to use them as a tool to undermine people’s faith in our public school system when, according to Forbes, Virginia is in the top 5 in the nation. We agree that parents and teachers should be involved in our children’s education. However, it is not an option for parents who have 2 to 3 jobs or don’t speak the language.”
Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg responded:
“I am willing to roll up my sleeves and get to work with anyone who wants to work to improve public education; to improve student performance, provide schools with the resources and staffing they need, and to provide a quality education to every kid and community. I will work with the Youngkin administration where we can better schools, but I will adamantly oppose them if they try to bring extreme right wing policies to Virginia. Unfortunately, I fear this report, which lacks context and cherry-picks data, was released to continue culture war battles that weaken public education.”