One Valley lawmaker wants school choice permitted in Virginia, and he is taking steps to see that vision become a reality.
Staunton Delegate Chris Saxman is leading the charge for classroom choice options, and after running into roadblocks in the General Assembly for the past five years he is now helping to form School Choice Virginia, a non-profit aimed at promoting educational options in the Commonwealth.
“The product that is being produced by our public school system is not what it should be...” said Kevin Chavous, an education reform advocate.
Chavous is known as one of the nation's educational reform leaders, having helped implement the now successful charter school program in Washington D.C. He was on hand in Richmond Tuesday to applaud the launch of School Choice Virginia.
“This is an issue whose time has come, especially because of all the negative things that happen in society--they are directly traceable to the lack of a quality education," Chavous said.
The non-profit will raise awareness about the need for school choice, asserting that not only affluent kids should get to pick where they are educated.
“We have a variety of options that are available to students, but we need to have more access to those options, to make them more affordable for families everywhere in the Commonwealth,” Saxman said.
Saxman says this is not a Republican or Democrat issue. But in Virginia there seems to be another divide: Saxman has repeatedly gotten his school choice bills out of the House of Delegates, only to watch them die in the Senate.
But for one Richmond-area school board member, he says it’s time for this option to become a reality. “They are not getting an education that they need to be able to do what they need in life, to better their circumstances, and to not always live in public housing,” said Keith West.
Saxman says the non-profit will look at supporting several different options for school choice reform in hopes of getting the General Assembly to pass a bill allowing the change.