E.W. Jackson, Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, talked up on Tuesday his education plan, which would create greater educational opportunities for the Commonwealth’s children by providing greater choices to parents:
“No family should be forced to choose between putting food on the table or providing a quality education for their children. But as I travel the Commonwealth, far too often I meet families who feel helpless in the face of failing schools in their communities. Parents are the primary educators of their children. Yet too many can’t afford alternatives.
“That is why I continue to campaign on advancing opportunities for parents to have greater choice in the education of their children. No family, no matter what their economic background, should be forced to leave their children in sub-standard schools. We must be willing to explore the one option that has been largely ignored, parental choice.
“That’s why I’m disappointed to hear Ralph Northam refer to empowering parents in their child’s education as a ‘recipe for disaster.’ It is never a disaster when parents are put before government. What is a disaster is forcing children to attend schools that fail to meet basic standards year after year. Year after year we witness this continued disaster, which is the result of letting politicians instead of parents choose how their children will be educated.
“Despite sitting on the Senate Education and Health Committee, Ralph Northam has failed to focus on education as a State Senator. Of 87 proposed bills, only 10 have addressed education. But not a single one addressed Norfolk City’s 5th worst high school graduation rate in the state or sought to improve standards of learning for schools across the Commonwealth. In fact, Northam has spent more legislation focusing on his alma mater, Eastern Virginia Medical School (2 bills), where he on faculty, than he has on Norfolk’s Lafayette-Winona Middle School (0 bills).
“While the students of Lafayette-Winona Middle School have struggled in a school that has failed to meet minimal state standards for three straight years, Ralph Northam has been silent. Northam’s continued silence as the Norfolk School Board resists the state’s efforts to improve those students’ chances is an appalling testament of how little he has focused on education as a state legislator and how politicaly vested he is in the status quo of failure. As a representative of the Norfolk area, Northam should stand up for parents and their children.
“Children should not be trapped and held captive in schools that fail to educate them, and parents should not be told that their children are stuck unless they have the money to buy a quality education. That is not the American dream, and frankly I am disgusted with the hypocrisy of people like my opponent who send their children to the finest schools but don’t want others to have that option. It is elitism at its worst, and political pandering to unions at the expense of our children. All Virginia families deserve the opportunity to do what’s best for their children, and as Lieutenant Governor I will fight to ensure a quality education is available to every child no matter what their economic background.”