What a quick summer! It’s hard to believe school starts again this Tuesday, September 5th! In addition to reminding drivers to be aware of little pedestrians and wishing everyone a safe school year, I want to take a moment to share my direction for education.
Education is one of my greatest priorities because I know students are the future of the Commonwealth. As a member of the Education Committee, the SOL Innovation Committee, and School Readiness Committee, I have a great opportunity to prevent regulations from being implemented that would further burden teachers, stifle education, and an opportunity to even out the playing friend for our most vulnerable children.
Many teachers have shared with me the hindrances to providing a good education for their students, most of which can be summed up as excessive regulation. So, I’m working to minimize those difficulties and keep the decision-making process with the local school boards.
I’ve worked to reduce the number of mandatory SOL tests, to require 65% of education funding be spent in the classroom where students will benefit, pay raise for our hard working teachers, and to abolish regulations that prevent local school boards from deciding their start date. Although I’ve been unsuccessful on eliminating the school start date restriction, I’m pleased to report we are headed in the right direction with SOL tests. We have reduced the required number of SOLs from 22 to 17 before students enter high school. Further, here in Chesterfield County, the public-school system exceeds the standard and puts 68% of their funding in the classrooms.
I’ve supported anti-bullying programs and have added school security officers to each school because students learn best in a safe environment.
Going forward, my goal remains the same: an education system that allows every student to get the best education possible. This means continuing to reduce SOL pressure that results in teaching to the test. It means working to improve school readiness. Families who prefer alternative routes of education through private or home instruction can make those decisions to benefit their children. And, it means we work on increasing school choice in the public sector.
I always appreciate hearing from families and teachers, what their lives are like and how we can continue to improve education in Virginia, so I hope you will share your perspective.
With that being said, I wish everyone a safe and productive school year!
Roxann L. Robinson, O.D.