Public Comments for: HB1025 - Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts; established.
Last Name: Feld-Mushaw Locality: Prince William County

I oppose HB1025. ESA's divert public funds from our public schools. For many years, the VA Legislature has underfunded the Standards of Quality due to lack of public funds. Ironically, the VA Leg imposed the SOQ's on the public School system. This Bill diverts the public funds to private entities not required to abide by SOQ's. I support the Public schools and expect my tax funds to support the public schools. This is must another way to implement vouchers and charter school.

Last Name: LMiller Locality: Fairfax County

I support HB1024/1025 because choice creates competition and competition creates constant improvements and higher standards. Gving all parents an account to afford choice in education opens up choice to the poorer who could not afford school choice. This will release the currently trapped competitive demand that is needed to force government schools to improve and to meet the parents' demands. The reason Fed Ex exists is because the then existing government option and UPS may have been cheap but they provided terribly unreliable and slow service. It did not provide a service its customers wanted. Fed Ex filled that service need with a new choice of reliable express deliveries at affordable competitive rates, even overnight express deliveries. To survive USPS and UPS had to compete, and soon all delivery services improved, providing reliable, faster, and competitively priced express and regular services. The reason kids go to Private School or Homeschool is because the existing government option may have been cheap but they provided unsatisfactory service for their kids. Although more families have left the government schools than ever before, unlike FedEx, private school prices and homeschooling costs are not affordable or possible options for enough families to force change upon the government schools. And so the richer are getting better education while the poorer are stuck with a service that is free of competition and so it is getting worse and worse. Especially since it is run by those not caring what Parents want or to involve them. This high injustice of entrapping the poor with lower standards of education, not meeting parental demands must end now. HB1024/1025 will help do that.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Henrico

As the state and federal bureaucracies have grown, education in our public schools has declined. The unintended consequences of state SOL's and federal NCLB has resulted in an educational environment where endless assessment consumes precious instructional time; children are boxed into rigid educational timelines and authentic assessment, mastery of material and critical thinking are sidelined and the joy of learning is squelched. It is well past time that parents in Virginia are allowed to seek an educational environment that fits their children and use THEIR TAX DOLLARS to go to those schools. The presumption that the state has sole ownership of those dollars has been pervasive and persistent and is a disservice to every family and child in Virginia. Because politicians in Virginia have refused to expand school choice options, we continue to lag behind our peer states. I urge our legislators to support HB1025.

Last Name: Miller Locality: Loudoun

Vouchers should not be granted in any form to families withdrawing their students from public schools. Withdrawing the funds makes public schools unable to continue quality education. Instead, parents should work with the state and their local schools to change the curriculum. If their objections focus around religious beliefs, curriculum should not be changed at all as the public school should not recognize any religion. Vouchers and school choice do not allow students to have equal access to IEP resources as many are excused from following these. Additionally, not all families have access to an alternate school from public schools, making it even more difficult to state that these educational savings accounts will actually help those needing "safer" schools. Don't defund the public schools.

Last Name: Hommer Locality: Fairfax

Thank you for this legislation. There's a reason parents are upset all over the country. Our teachers/school boards/administration have gone offtrack with their leftist indoctrination. This is exactly why homeschooling is skyrocketing. Time to help parents afford to send their children to private school. We have moved one child to private and are working to move another next year. The only way public schools are going to turnaround is if they feel the pain of losing money.

Last Name: Joslin Locality: Fairfax

We OPPOSE establishing Parental Choice ESAs. Some reasons to oppose are: Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. The bill runs counter to our Virginia Constitution which states in Article VIII, Section 10: “State appropriations are prohibited to schools or institutions of learning not owned or exclusively controlled by the State or some subdivision thereof.; ...”. The General Assembly may appropriate funds for educational purposes which may be expended in furtherance of elementary, secondary, collegiate or graduate education of Virginia students in public and private nonsectarian private schools...” An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds. Please oppose this bill, James and Dorothy Joslin

Last Name: Carol Chandlee Locality: Hampton

Imagine the quality of books and course materials homeschoolers could afford using the savings accounts resulting in .a higher quality education for students. I could only afford one year of private school. These savings accounts would go a long way to smaller class sizes, creating better education opportunities. A rising demand for private neighborhood schools would make opportunity for educators to create more small businesses to fulfill that need. Better for economy, better fir students, more freedom for parents. Win, win, win

Last Name: Gaylor Locality: Manassas

I urge passage of HB 1025. Exponentially growing the education budget in Virginia has done nothing to improve performance. For families who are not affluent and who live in districts with poor performing schools, our current system of sending children only to the nearest school retains them in a cycle of poor education and poverty. Providing ESA allows these families to have a choice and potentially send their children to schools that better meet their needs. Many of our government schools are poor stewards of the funds they receive and competition for funding will make them take a hard look at their performance and consider alternatives to current practices that are failing children. I further believe that all parents should have a choice to select education that meets their children's needs. Right now, affluent parents have this choice, but those less affluent do not. Even in terms of remedial help, affluent parents can afford programs to augment their children's education, but those less affluent cannot. ESA will assist with elevating student performance because parental involvement is the most significant indicator of student success.

Last Name: Noggle Locality: MIDDLEBURG

I oppose HB 1024 and HB1025 Educational Savings Accounts divert funds from our public schools. The bill covers funding for a religious or religious sect education. This bill allows discrimination based upon its creed, practices, admissions policies, or curriculum. An ESA for a student does not reduce a local school’s operating expenses. Our public schools need to have priority for funds.

Last Name: Diersen Locality: Goochland

Mr. LaRock, Thank you for introducing this proposed legislation which is long overdue. Watching the state throw more and more money at our public school systems while our student's test score continue to decline seems illogical at best. In other states where ESA's have been approved, overall test scores have improved without any decrease in public school funding which is what opponents have always claimed will happen! This Bill gives parents more say so into how and where their tax dollars are spent and what better place to put them into your children's education. We didn't put Republicans in to office to keep the status quo! We put them in to make positive changes and change the direction of this once proud Commonwealth. Let's start with giving our children the best education we can!

Last Name: White Locality: New Kent

I encourage you to, please, pass HB1025. This money should be following the child to help their individual education.

Last Name: Levy Locality: Ashland

My name is Dr. Rachel Levy and I live in Ashland, Virginia (23005), in the 55th House of Delegates District and the 9th State Senate District. I am a mother of three--I have one child in Hanover County Public Schools as well as two who are just graduated in 2021. I am also a teacher who has a PhD in Educational Leadership & Policy from VCU. I was a candidate for the 55th District seat in 2021. I oppose HB1024 and HB 1025 because I support our public schools, because they are impractical, because they're unconstitutional, because they will only serve to subsidize affluent parents, and because the people in the districts where I live do not want vouchers, directly or via a back door. Studies of the impact of vouchers on student performance show no difference in performance or show that public school students outperform their voucher-program peers. Our public schools in Virginia are already chronically underfunded--Virginia ranks 41st in per-PK-12 student spending out of all states. Voucher studies also show that vouchers tend to favor students from more affluent families and can drive economic and racial segregation. Most low-income families don't receive enough support to make use of school vouchers and so a bill like this will cause much needed public funding for our public schools to be diverted to affluent parents and their chosen private schools. Private schools that participate in voucher programs are generally free to reject or accept students based on perceived at-risk status, academic ability, religion, sexual orientation or gender-identity which allows private schools to discriminate against certain groups of students while raking in public funds. On average, parents of students who switch to private schools with vouchers are not happier or more satisfied. Voucher schemes are especially harmful to rural communities which can ill afford to lose any funding and with whom local public schools are popular and cherished community centers and gathering places. School vouchers will destroy these cherished institutions in our rural communities--institutions which are already struggling from neglect and under-funding. My campaign in the 55th District, which is largely rural, knocked about 9500 doors in the past campaign cycle. The citizens of the 55th District love their public schools and want them to be stronger and fully funded and staffed. They don't want school vouchers. Thank you for your time and consideration and for your service to our Commonwealth.

Last Name: Marfatia-Goode Locality: Frederick County

6 of the states who currently offer ESAs/Vouchers rank in the bottom 1/2 of the states for the National Education Ranking. do we really want that to happen to Virginia?

Last Name: Yeggy Locality: Frederick County

As a constituent in Del. LaRock's district and parent of school aged children, I strongly oppose HB1025 and urge the committee to vote NO on moving this forward. Public tax dollars are for public services that provide access to all and have public oversight. There is a reason that very few states have implemented voucher programs despite a push year after year. They are widely unpopular and have not been proven to improve student outcomes. Virginia needs to invest in public education that serves ALL students and allows for local oversight of locally elected boards. Please Vote No on HB1025.

Last Name: Morris Locality: Powhatan

Please approve HB 1025. We need school choice. Public Education does not work for everyone. Everyone needs to have a choice on what is the best educational environment for their student. Families need help. In Virginia we have very few choices and often this is more limited as choices cost money. The public schools are not meeting the needs of all students. Parents need choice and HB 1025 would increase parent's choice and assist with funding the choice. This bill would help all families across all economic levels. Please do what is right for Virginia families and our students. After years of use in other states, Educational Savings accounts have not hurt the public schools. The public schools in these areas have seen their scores improve and funding increase. Please support HB1025.

Last Name: Stribling Locality: Henrico

We as voters and parents showed you in November that we want REAL school CHOICE in Virginia. We don’t want weak, half attempts that pander to some parents AND teachers unions. Our VA public schools are sadly deteriorating as we speak. So many of my friends are watching it happen in horror as we recall “how things used to be” in our schools. We now have to accept that the unions don’t want change and they don’t want our input as parents. These unions want a dumbed-down version of education that obeys their every whim. So parents NEED CHOICE and they need FUNDS. And we need it NOW. Our children aren't getting any younger and families will need financial help in order to find a more suitable education for their children.

Last Name: Allen Organization: Middle Resolution PAC Locality: Richmond

I support this bill. HB1025, if enacted, will achieve three objectives. First, the parents of children in public school will be eligible for an education savings account equal in amount to approximately 1/3 of the Virginia's total current per pupil expenditure. This money must be used by the parent’s student to attend a private school or home school. Second, no federal or local school funding is touched by the bill but remains available for use by the locality and state to cover costs for students who choose to remain in public school. Third, because the student is removed from the public school system, teacher to student ratio increases slightly. A win-win for all stakeholders!

Last Name: Seale Locality: Winchester, VA

More and more parents are turning to alternative forms of education for their children. The passage of HB1025 is a matter of fairness. Parents deserve their tax money to be available to them to use towards tuition costs for a non-public school program. Of the 6 states that have implemented ESAs, none of the opposing claims have been realized. None of the dire predictions have come true. 80% of Americans support ESAs and it is time that our laws reflect that.

Last Name: McIntosh Organization: n/a Locality: Rappahannock County (Washington, VA)

There are thousands and thousands of families in Virginia who feel the public schools are not meeting their needs. These parents need help. There are very few options for educating children outside of the public schools unless you are wealthy and/or live in an area where there are a variety of parochial schools. Overall, Virginia has severely limited education choices. The General Assembly needs to pass legislation that responds to all parents and provides flexibility for the individual student. As we have seen from the public schools' response to the pandemic, their main goal is not the student but the maintenance of the bureaucratic authority of the teachers, administrators and school boards. Please support HB1025 and start giving parents and their children control over their futures.

Last Name: Justice Locality: Amherst

Congressman La Rock, HB1025 is a fantastic bill allowing parents to use the tax payer money designated to go with their child. A unique approach to educational finances, which truly puts the need of the student above politics. This will especially help marginalized students, and kids with special needs. Thank you for sponsoring this bill.

Last Name: Collins Locality: Culpeper

This plan is good as long as the funds allotted to the parents through this account can ONLY be used for educational choice. Without restrictions to how the money is used, fraudulent use of funds is almost guaranteed!

Last Name: Sanchez Locality: Daleville

Please allow parents to have full control over their children’s education by providing savings accounts which give families choices!

Last Name: Plank Locality: Lynchburg

Public schools in VA are a monopoly. It's no surprise that we hear so often about personal politics overshadowing student experience. And it's no surprise that students are performing poorly. It's what we should expect. Opening the door to competition will put appropriate pressure on schools to serve parents and students rather than their own bureaucracy. It will also empower VA's poorest citizens to rise above their district lines.

Last Name: Dotson Locality: Prince Edward

HB 1024 &HB1025.... It is time for the General Assembly to pass legislation that responds to ALL parents. Not just a select few. County schools are failing our students. Teacher's classes are overloaded and our students suffer. It isn't fair to pass students simply because no student should be left behind! Kids aren't learning and parents can't afford to choose another option. Give our children a future!

Last Name: Bashar Locality: Great Falls

Please support this bill. The teachers union is ruining our education and our future. We have to stop this communist takeover.

Last Name: Doleman Locality: Northumberland

I support this bill and consider it a valuable tool for parents, particularly lower income famiies. It also provides both information and a reality check to local school districts and school boards in terms of both competition and how satisfied or dissatisfied parents are.

Last Name: Scott Locality: Quinton

We have the right as parents to choose how we educate our children. Because of that we should have the right to decide how we spend our tax money in order to facilitate their education. This bill needs to be passed for our children, and all future generations.

Last Name: Dumville Locality: Mechanicsville, VA

Please support this bill to help give more educational opportunities to more children in Virginia.

Last Name: Freeman Locality: Bristol

I think it is imperative that parents have choices in their children’s education. The recent election illuminated the power and control the education establishment has and intends to hold onto regardless of what is best for the students and their parents. I plead with you to represent the people you have been elected to serve. I am excited about the opportunity to have some positive changes in our education system. We need to bring people together instead of electing to teach rhetoric that divides people. Although, there have been denials that CRT is being taught, the dangerous ideals and principles that make up this Marxist curriculum is being discovered in some of the classes of our children. Please make sure parents have the choice to use the tax money set aside for education because no one has a greater responsibility and love for the child than parent(s). I realize some tragic exceptions exist, but that does not diminish the majority.

Last Name: Harton Locality: Lynchburg

I am a grandparent with grandchildren in the public school system of Virginia. I celebrate freedom under the US Constitution and applaud this bill granting freedom of educational choices. I also believe that parents have the God-given privilege and responsibility to nurture their children, not the Commonwealth of Virginia. Good government serves its citizens, and this bill will serve our parents well.

Last Name: SCOTT Locality: QUINTON

Please pass this bill out of committee. We are long overdue for a bill such as this. This bill would open up homeschooling and private schooling to underprivileged families. Right now parents must send their children to public school unless they make enough to pay for private school. This unfairly penalizes families below a certain income level. I believe that as long as we use taxes to pay for schooling, we MUST ensure that every student gets the same chance. The statistics show that states with robust educational choice programs have not seen any reduction in per-pupil funding for their public schools. There is no downside for the citizens of Virginia. Passage of this bill will help set our state above others as the place to raise your children.

Last Name: Roberts Locality: Glen Allen

I am writing to you to ask for your support of school choice to help parents find a solution that works for their child. My wife and I have a daughter who has struggled with anxiety issue and has been under medical care since 6th grade. As many of us remember, middle school is a challenging environment and she was unable to adapt. We opted to do homeschool and that became a challenge for my wife who is a full time charge nurse at a major hospital in the area. We then opted to try some online instruction for 8th grade ,(K12.com) with mixed results am asking you all support this bill. We did make a comeback attempt to start 9th grade and that was short lived as the all the extras issues to deal with at a public school became too much for here and we resorted back to a slightly different online platform, but that proved challenging as my wife and I were not equipped to help her as needed. We were finally blessed to find a hybrid approach wherein she attends class in person a few days per week and has all the support she needs. This hybrid approach costs HALF of what the average district pays per pupil in Virginia and has been a lifesaver or our family. My daughter gets the low teacher to student ratio and personal help she needs along with close monitoring we need to keep her on course. Luckily, my wife and I were send our daughter to a school that works for her as we forego alot to make this happen. Allowing some of our tax money to be used to help fund her education would make a big difference for us and many other families in Virginia. Every child deserves an education that works for them and not being bound by zip code or learning platform. This takes nothing away from public schools and in fact enhances their student to teacher ratio. I pray that this bill can receive bi-partisan support and I strongly ask for your support

Last Name: Kucera Locality: Midlothian

Please pass HB 1025. I am a former teacher in Chesterfield Public Schools and all 4 of my children attended these schools. While I had a satisfactory experience, the quality of my school has been reduced significantly. I saw the academic level deteriorate and discipline erode. What can a parent do? ESA accounts would be a huge help in starting Charter Schools to give families options. If I lived in a worse neighborhood or in the city of Richmond, I would call it 'criminal' not to have better choices for students. Schools should bring back student discipline and accountability, without that education erodes. A Charter or private school has, by design, students where the family has put education as a priority. When public schools fail there must be an alternative, for rich and for poor families. Society need educated people and families are demanding it. Please Pass HB 1025.

Last Name: Dirickson Organization: N/A Locality: Henrico

HB1025: I support whole heartedly Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts. I emphatically urge passage of this bill and expect ourduly ELECTED officials to do their duty to protect the rights of parents as they work to guide their children as they grow in the understanding and knowledge of our great state and our great nation.

Last Name: Woodruff Organization: Home School Legal Defense Association Locality: Purcellville

Home School Legal Defense Association opposes HB 1025 because it will authorize government money to flow to home school families. Where government money goes, government control will eventually follow. This bill is a long-term threat to the continued freedom to homeschool. A similar bill is pending in another state, and the state's superintendent of public instruction said: "If we start giving homeschoolers state money, there’s got to be state accountability.” Source: https://www.alreporter.com/2022/02/03/parents-choice-bill-passes-committee-over-concerns-from-critics/

Last Name: Kiken Locality: Loudoun County

I do not support Bill HB1025. The allotted amount is a drop in the bucket when using it toward private or charter schools and does not make private schools any more affordable. As well, only public schools are required to adhere to IDEA for special education. Taking away funds from public schools removes needed resources for our special education students. I do not support this bill since it will give nothing to parents in the long run, and take away needed resources for students in the public school setting.

Last Name: White Locality: Fairfax County

Delegate LaRock, I am writing to let you know that requiring students to wear masks is a safety issue for students, teachers and staff. It is not something that will be required forever, but necessary at this time of high incidents of Covid with students.(HB 1036) You need to go into the schools and see what we see as educators. Until you have been in the schools, you can make this call against masks. Do you wear a seat belt? We follow regulations every day to keep ourselves and others safe. This is not an issue that needs attention, helping our public schools, our students and teachers is a greater need. Prioritize your concerns. If you are doing this just for political support, then you need to not be in a position to lead in our state.

Last Name: White Locality: Fairfax County

Delegate LaRock, I am writing to let you know that requiring students to wear masks is a safety issue for students, teachers and staff. It is not something that will be required forever, but necessary at this time of high incidents of Covid with students. You need to go into the schools and see what we see as educators. Until you have been in the schools, you can make this call against masks. Do you wear a seat belt? We follow regulations every day to keep ourselves and others safe. This is not an issue that needs attention, helping our public schools, our students and teachers is a greater need. Prioritize your concerns. If you are doing this just for political support, then you need to not be in a position to lead in our state.

Last Name: Waddell Locality: Suffolk

I am a wife, mother, educator and resident of the city of Suffolk and I oppose these bills (including HB788, which was not on the list) because k-12 vouchers do not improve student outcomes. They take much needed money from public education. Virginia needs to put more money into public education, not less. We are current ranked 41st for per student spending. Our teacher salaries are nowhere near where they should be and we are currently suffering from a teacher shortage. There are numerous studies (Brookings Institute, National Bureau of Economic Research, University of Virginia) that show vouchers do not improve student outcomes. Investing in public schools improves outcomes, graduation and post secondary enrollment. Vote no on these bills. Thank you. Mrs. D. Waddell

Last Name: Weinberg Locality: Henrico

It is time for Virginia to catch up with Maryland and North Carolina with ESAs. We need to be competitive on this issue. ALL of our children need to get the best opportunities to learn in a manner that meets their needs.

Last Name: Smart Locality: Mollusk

Having reviewed draft bill HB1025 by Delegate LaRock, I am sure that the plan for establishing student Educational Savings Accounts will serve both public schools in Virginia and special groups of students such as special needs as well as talented and gifted students. This should have been done a long time ago. I hope that delegates pass the bill and that the VA senate does so as well.

Last Name: DiSesa Organization: The Middle Resolution Locality: Ashand

We fully support this legislation! Education Savings Accounts have been available in other states for over 10 years. All of the dire predictions from education unions and associations have not come true. These programs actually help increase funding for local public schools and help increase public school performance. More importantly, ESAs give parents more control of what their children learn. Lastly, Equitable access to a quality education is the great equalizer of our time. Denying students in disadvantaged neighborhoods the opportunity to access high quality education has a long-term negative impact on the economic success and empowerment of communities of color.

End of Comments