Fund Virginia Schools!
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The Virginia General Assembly and the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, need to prioritize increasing education funding in our local school districts to ensure all students receive a high-quality education in safe and healthy learning environments with well trained and well paid teachers in the classroom.
Education funding has not been increased in 10 years! Research shows that investment in education now saves money spent on incarceration, unemployment benefits and public assistance later. Good schools build strong communities. Students will be ready for the global economy which attracts businesses and keep jobs in the Commonwealth.
According to May 2017 data from the National Education Association, Virginia is ranked 39th (year 2014) in terms of per capita state government expenditures for all education - http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/2017_Rankings_and_Estimates_Report-FINAL-SECURED.pdf. Further information from the National Center for Education Statistics under the U.S. Department of Education shows that Virginia’s cost share for education spending is 40%, compared to local school districts at 54%, and the federal government at 6% - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2018/01/how_much_does_america_spend_on_its_schools.html.
Virginia is experiencing a massive teacher shortage, and the problem is more acute in specific local school districts and individual schools. Virginia needs to invest more so local school districts and individual schools can recruit, retain, and support their teachers. Virginia is ranked 29th (2016) in terms of average teacher salaries. Evidence shows that the most important factor in student academic achievement is having a well trained, well paid teacher in the classroom.
In addition, many schools in the Commonwealth need renovation. Thousands of students across Virginia are learning in school buildings that may expose students to lead, asbestos, and unsafe drinking water. Local school districts need increased funding from Virginia for their capital facility and infrastructure projects.
We, the undersigned, urge Governor Northam and the Virginia General Assembly to provide adequate investments for education so all Virginia students receive a high-quality education in safe and healthy learning environments with great teachers in the classroom.
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