We’re not free without equal access to a quality education, which is why Ben supports strong, well-funded public education. Virginia’s teachers make $9K below the national average. Teachers need to be paid like the professionals they are. Rural schools need better access to high speed internet to end the homework gap.
Vocational training. Not everyone needs a 4-year degree. We need plumbers, carpenters, electricians. Ben supports more opportunities and more dedicated funding for post-secondary vocational training and apprenticeship programs, where no new high school graduate is turned away for inability to pay. Ben supports a P-14 public education track that culminates in apprenticeships, vocational certification, job training+placement, and/or an associate’s degree.
Computer programming vocational schools. Ben is a coder and knows both how valuable a skill it is as well as how difficult it is to learn. Virginia has some of the best community colleges in the country, but learning to code requires an immersive learning experience. Virginia should offer a two-year, full-time vocational degree dedicated exclusively to teaching students how to write computer code. This will dramatically stimulate the tech sector in our commonwealth, attracting new businesses and generating local high-paying jobs. Learning to code should start in high school, and Ben will work to secure funds for a programming class in every high school.
More public education funding and against funneling money out of public schools. Ben is opposed to charter schools and vouchers. These programs take money away from our public schools. Ben thinks we should treat and pay teachers like the professionals they are.
Freedom to homeschool. Public schools are the backbone of our communities, but Ben supports the rights of parents to home school their children. Ben knows that a classroom environment isn’t for everyone, and when parents decide to homeschool, they should be trusted to make the decision in the best interest of their child.
Trusting our teachers. Ben trusts our teachers, and believes educational decisions should be made by state and local school boards. Ben comes from a family of educators and knows we can trust our teachers and involved parents to do what’s best for each child. When lesson plans are mandated from the top and the classroom teacher forced to teach to the test, then our students will suffer. We have to give our schools and teachers the flexibility to innovate. Ben is opposed to common core and would work to reduce or eliminate the SOLs.
IDEA and freedom of education for disabled students. A good education is a fundamental freedom, we don’t lose our freedoms just because we have a disability, therefore to protect freedom for everyone the government must guarantee a real education to every disabled student. Individualized Education Programs, with coordination between involved parents and terrific teachers, ensure that each child gets access to a real education. Ben agrees with Chief Justice Roberts’ recent decision protecting IDEA:
“When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing “merely more than de minimis” progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all. For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to “sitting idly . . . awaiting the time when they were old enough to ‘drop out.’” –Chief Justice Roberts