EARLE-SEARS: Disadvantaged Virginia Families Need School Choice

Winsome Earle-Sears | January 19, 2024

(The Roanoke Star) — One dollar, seventy-five cents, and a rock-solid education. That’s what lifted my father out of poverty when he arrived here in the United States. As we move forward throughout the legislative session, I hope the General Assembly can come together to ensure every Virginian has the opportunity to achieve their American Dream. And that starts with access to a rock-solid education.

Students stuck in schools, because of their zip code, deserve a lifeline – not an outdated, one-size-fits-all approach that will hold them back even farther. That’s why I am sponsoring legislation to create new opportunities for financially disadvantaged students. SB533/HB1164, Education Excellence for All, which will allow parents of low-income, at-risk children to use the state, not federal or local, portion of education funding for qualified educational expenses, like tuition, textbooks, additional tutoring, achievement tests, etc.

By leaving the federal and local funding with public schools, this bill would allow parents to select an education program that best fits the needs or goals of their child – as it should be. We must have programs that allow disadvantaged students to thrive academically regardless of their zip code. We cannot continue to expect every school to adapt to the unique needs of a student.