public school

Important House Vote On Virtual School Expansion Tomorrow!

Early this week, the House of Delegates will vote on HB 324, a bill to expand virtual school options in Virginia. The Family Foundation is supportive of efforts to increase the ability of parents to determine the best educational opportunity for their child, be it public school, public charter school, virtual school, private school or home school. HB 324 moves Virginia one more step in the right direction which is why The Family Foundation supports this initiative.

E-mail your delegate and ask him or her to support HB 324 to increase educational opportunities for Virginia's children.

HB 324, patroned by Delegate Dickie Bell (R-20, Staunton), creates full-time virtual public education. HB 324 requires the Virginia Virtual School to be open to any school-age child in the commonwealth and provide an educational program meeting the Standards of Quality for grades K-12.

As drafted, HB 324 retains excellence in education, reduces the cost on a per student basis and should not require additional state funds over what the state spends on education in traditional brick and mortar schools. Additionally, localities actually will save money with HB 324. The funding structure is set up so that the child's local school division of residence (rather than the division where the virtual school is based) pays for the local share of the child's virtual education. The local share sent to the Virginia Virtual School to educate a child is capped at no more than 76 percent of the local cost of educating a child at a brick and mortar school, so the locality is guaranteed to save money.

HB 324 is fiscally responsible and increases educational opportunities. For these reasons, we urge you to contact your delegate and urge him or her to vote in support of HB 324.

Just How Much Does A "Free" Public School Education Cost These Days?

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Virginia taxpayers foot a bill of at least $10,000 a year per student in public school according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, more than all but one of our Southern competitors. How's that working out for us? Are we getting the biggest bang for our collective bucks? (Thanks to parentsforliberty.org via IndoctriNationMovie.com.) 

Virginia School Board Association: 'We Philosophically Oppose Educational Choice'!

Today, in a House Appropriation’s sub-committee, one of the most fascinating — and revealing — debates we’ve seen this session occurred concerning school choice. HB 599, patroned by Delegate Jimmie Massie (R-72, Henrico), creates a tax credit for individuals or corporations that donate to scholarship foundations that in turn give scholarships to students toward private school tuition. HB 599 has ingeniously been crafted in such a way as to ensure that there will be no fiscal impact to the state — something valuable in today’s economy and something that not many tax credits can boast. In addition, local school systems would actually save money as students leave their schools. The intrigue began when the opposition stood to speak. Dick Pulley, a long-time lobbyist representing the Virginia School Board Association, stood up to oppose the bill. As a lobbyist from an allied organization said, Mr. Pulley flexed his organization’s muscle, but failed to supply a coherent argument as to why he opposed the bill. He was forced to admit that the bill was better because there is no fiscal impact so the usual "this will take school books from children"contrivance wouldn’t fly. Left without that, he revealed his organization’s true colors.

After saying a lot of nothing, he finally came out with, "We philosophically oppose these types of bills." Not one to let an argument like that go by without explanation, Delegate Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights), a public school teacher, asked Mr. Pulley, "Could you explain what you mean by ‘philosophically oppose'?" Mr. Pulley responded:

We have good public schools. We support public schools. We’re going to have a hard time keeping public schools at the level they’re on now if we pass this bill. We support parents making good educational choices for their children, but we’re opposed to having a public policy device that would allow that to happen.

It is difficult to explain the visceral contempt the public education establishment in Richmond has for parents who choose options other than government-run schools. Organizations like the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia School Board Association and the school principals association make it abundantly clear, year after year, that children of families who choose private education or home schooling are inferior to children who attend public schools.

After lengthy debate, HB 599 was recommended for reporting to the full Appropriations Committee on a vote of 5-3. Those voting for the bill include Delegates Cox, Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), Charles Poindexter (R-9, Glade Hill), Watkins Abbitt (I-59, Appomattox), and Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth). Those voting against the bill include Delegates Bob Tata (R-85, Virginia Beach), Jim Scott (D-53, Merrifield), and Mayme BaCote (D-95, Newport News). The bill now goes to the full Appropriations Committee (click here to contact members) Friday.