In takes someone who understands our problems to fix our problems. A product of the Stafford County Public School System and now serving on Superintendent Kinzer’s Equity, Diversity, and Opportunity Committee, I know the problems our schools face not only from a student’s perspective but from that of a community member as well.
Solving our problems starts early, with early childhood education, and universal pre-school for all Virginia’s sons and daughters. As these children rise up through the public education system, they should be meet by facilities that receive a fair and equal distribution of state and local funding, to eliminate the inequalities that we see going on statewide.
Guiding these men and women through the halls of our institutions should be teachers who don’t just hear our praise, but feel it in their pocketbooks and wallets. An across-the-board pay raise for our teachers and paraprofessionals is not only required, but mandatory if we intend to keep the best and the brightest in Virginia educating our children.
Beyond this, ending the playground-to-prison pipeline is one of my top legislative priorities. Too many children are subject to overpunishment that puts them on a path curtailing their education and increasing the risk they engage in criminal activity. By simply practicing restorative justice within our schools, eliminating or reducing out of school suspensions for minor behavioral episodes, and reclassifying incidents away from criminal occurrences and back towards childhood outbursts, we can keep our children in the classroom and on a path to success.