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McDonnell: ‘The education of our children is not a partisan issue’


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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell used the occasion of the visit of President Barack Obama and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the Commonwealth on Tuesday to raise attention to the joint interest of McDonnell and Obama in public charter schools.

McDonnell has pledged the full support of his administration in the president’s effort to expand the number of charter schools in the United States. McDonnell has previously noted that the Commonwealth’s application for the president’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant program was submitted last Thursday, a joint effort of the outgoing Kaine administration and the McDonnell transition office.

The Commonwealth requested $350 million in federal funding to promote charter schools. 

“It is always an honor to have the President in the Commonwealth,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The president and I are of different parties, but when it comes to expanding positive educational opportunities for our young people we are of like minds. The president and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who joined him today, are committed to dramatically increasing the number of charter schools in the nation and enacting education reform. Virginia is the perfect state to lead this effort. Twelve years after we passed our state law allowing for charter schools in the Commonwealth, only three are in operation. A fourth, Patrick Henry Charter School, will open this spring in Richmond.”

McDonnell said in the statement that he spoke with Duncan regarding “the Commonwealth’s support for education reform to give parents and young people greater options in our public-education system.”

“We discussed his visit to Virginia and agreed to work together to create more high-quality charter schools,” McDonnell said.

“Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson and I are committed to putting Virginia in the vanguard of the national charter-school movement. We are equally committed to working with the administration to establish means by which we can better reward our great teachers for their service, and to identify and implement additional educational reforms that will help every student, in every community, get the education they need to compete in our global economy. The education of our children is not a partisan issue. We all agree that no child should attend an underperforming school and no young person should have their opportunities determined by their birthplace or zip code,” McDonnell said.




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