A quality education is key to the success of every individual and our economy. While traditionally Virginia’s schools rank well in comparison to other states, in recent years data and test scores indicate we are moving backward and achievement gaps for minority and underprivileged populations have widened. The pandemic only accelerated this trend.

Rather than accepting mediocrity or lowering standards to the detriment of our children’s future, I’ve supported legislation and budget initiatives that seek to tackle the remediation necessary to help every child catch up to where they need to be. In addition to hurting our children academically, the unnecessary pandemic school closures fueled a student mental health crisis. I’ve worked with our schools for the last few years to successfully pass legislation that provides them with much needed flexibility to hire more professionals to help address this crisis.   

Our public schools must focus on preparing our young people to be productive citizens in our society and how to think critically for themselves – not what to think.  The woke ideology that seeks to divide us and encourages a victim mentality has no place in our schools. Further, parents absolutely have a right to be involved in their child’s education and decision making regarding what they believe is best for their family. I will continue to support policies that give parents a voice.  

We must also have a higher education system that meets the workforce needs and challenges of the 21st century. A four-year degree is not for everyone. In fact, many in-demand well-paying jobs only require a two-year degree or other credential. I’ve supported initiatives to provide significant financial support to individuals seeking a two-year degree or credential in a high demand field. This year we also passed legislation that I co-patroned to consolidate and streamline our workforce programs to better meet the needs of employers and job seekers. Higher education must also be affordable for Virginians. From a local perspective, I successfully obtained $12 million in funding for JMU in the current budget cycle to address the per-pupil funding disparity that previously existed. This year I also secured resources in the House budget to allow JMU to expand their in-demand nursing program.