Tara: Don’t lose sight of Youngkin’s best education policy | Columnists

Lillian Tara

A father of four, a fan of a fleece vest and … an education champion? The first Republican to win the state since 2009, Virginia Governor Glenn Yangkin’s shocking victory is a big thank you for the “cultural war” as he campaigned on the side of one of the largest groups of voters – his parents.

Just hours after his inauguration last month, Yangkin signed a series of executive actions with nine decrees, three of which concerned education. Although these orders resolve the controversy over which he was elected, Yangkin’s most promising legislative priority is much more restrained: his goal is to invest millions in charter schools across the state.

Yangkin obviously did well in fulfilling his harsh election promises. This is evidenced by the orders of the executive branch.

One prohibits the “use of concepts that are inherently divisive, including critical race theory,” provided through periodic reviews by the head of public education and clarification of concepts commonly referred to as “implicit bias” and “systematic racism”.

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Another prohibits schools from making a mask requirement without parental consent, allowing parents to waive it at any time.

One order promised to investigate offenses in Laudan County, where school officials hid key details about sexual violence in high school from parents.

Each of these orders points to a political gap between voters, but more importantly, between parents and educators.

But when Republicans are cheering and Democrats are frowning, we need to remember the big picture. Public education has never been free of controversy, and the current system is inevitably doomed to disappoint some parents at the expense of others. As for this inherent pluralism, it is one of Yangkin’s commitment to charter schools – one of his least mentioned goals – that is the most far-sighted.

Youngkin wants to invest $ 150 million in setting up at least 20 charter schools across the state.

While all taxpayers pay government bills, not all Americans think alike, and each is particularly sensitive to the needs of their children.

Reactions to COVID and critical racial theory are just two ways to differentiate between parents: there is also religious teaching, dress code, and sex education, and these are just a few.

The contradictions in the field of education that Yangkin used are hardly coincidental – they are the main shortcomings of the model of education that finances systems, not students.

Statutory schools are state-funded but privately run, and are therefore free from most of the regulations that fall to traditional public schools. Without the guaranteed monopoly of traditional schools on local students, they instead allow students to come to them, usually by registering through a lottery and sometimes on merit. They are accountable to government agencies such as the state or local school board, and their statutes depend on student achievement.

When measuring progress in math and reading, charter schools generate 53% more revenue from the achievement of students with less money per student – even when comparing students from the same area as nearby traditional public schools.

In part, they are doing so by cutting costs in the recruitment process – the lack of union teachers means no pay for internships and flexible dismissals. More free to experiment with teaching methods and curricula – and more free to impose discipline – charter schools are superior to traditional schools with a share of funding.

But charter schools face a number of obstacles, almost all of which are political. Critics believe that charter schools self-select the best students by drawing money from traditional schools. And who are these critics? Traditional school educators will lose the most if charter schools succeed. Teachers ’unions and their political infantry have set many almost unfeasible demands on their top competitors – as seen in Virginia, one of which is the need for potential charter schools to get permission from the same local school district they want to compete with. Youngkin hopes to change that, but the issue has so little political influence and so much resistance that it can be thrown aside by debates that spark more headlines.

Issues of pressing masks or critical race theory to young students have far more political weight than restrictions on charter and other schools. But disagreements that confront parents with each other and the schools their children attend are inevitable when public schools are forced to obey any strip. If we really want to help children in whom our education system has failed, we must focus on the priority of Yangkin, who, despite the slightest fanfare, promises to promote education that is much better for a free and diverse society.

Tara, a native of Fairfax County, is studying Chinese and Persian language and literature at the University of Virginia. She is a supporter of school choices, writes about economic and social policy for Young Voices.


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