Public Comments for: HB201 - In-person instruction; education vouchers, etc.
Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Crawley Locality: Ashburn, VA

Your bills regarding vouchers, and savings accounts are going to cost the public school system exponentially. Not only is this unethical, it is against what the Governor ran on (promises of NOT depleting public school spending). Our public schools are struggling to maintain staff and work under extraordinary circumstances, with these bills you are undermining what the public school system stands on. With students already struggling and facing deficits this would be catastrophic. Please DO NOT approve vouches.

Last Name: Welsher Locality: Loudoun

As has always been the case, if a parent doesn’t like something about public school, whether it be closure due to pandemic (and virtual option) that parent has the right to find a private school of choice and pay for that. This has never changed and should remain the case. Taking monies from public school only deteriorates schooling for those kids continuing there.

Last Name: Winn Locality: Loudoun

I am a resident and a teacher in Loudoun County, and I feel strongly that we need to keep masks in place in order to keep in-person instruction. My second graders have done a great job with masking, and in fact, don't even realize they have one on in most cases. I am lucky that the majority of my parents recognize the need to keep these masks in place while Covid is still at unacceptably high numbers. I also feel that our local School Board is in the best position to judge what is needed in our County, and that decisions like these are best left to the Counties, and not to the state. There are a minority of loud voices in Loudoun that would have everyone believe that they represent the parents. This is simply not the case. Loudoun has over 85,000 students, and there are less than 200 who are refusing to wear masks. This group is now trying to get a reward (private school voucher) for disregarding the law in Virginia. Some would question if this was the goal all along? Certainly, Governor Youngkin has been a huge proponent of vouchers, and implementing his Executive Order on masking has brought this issue to a head. Simply put, private vouchers will decimate public education. Even with vouchers, lower income students will not be able to afford this option, and only the upper middle class and the wealthy will be able to take advantage of it. Meanwhile, those funds will be taken from public education. This is not an equitable solution. Parents absolutely should have the right to send their kids to private school - but not at the expense of those less fortunate. Please do not reward those who are disregarding public health and breaking the law, to be monetarily rewarded. Thank you!

Last Name: Pathak Organization: Conservative Teenagers of Virginia Locality: Herndon

The Conservative Teenagers of Virginia strongly support HB201. If a student isn’t being served by the public education system, then we need to make sure that they have the choice to attend schools that do provide us with a real education.

Last Name: Homeschooling Parent Locality: Loudoun

Education vouchers are desperately needed in Virginia. We should not be punishing parents who wish to educate their children outside the public school system. Currently, Virginia is withholding state tax funds for purchasing curriculum to homeschooling children or for enrolling them in private schools. The public school system has been overrun with social justice warriors and liberal indoctrination instructors. Parents who do not want their children groomed to be the next generation of freedom-hating socialist-worshiping liberal mouthpieces have the right to be monetarily compensated. If the public school system insists on supplementing educational curriculum with social emotional learning and critical race theory, making children feel ashamed for the color of their skin or where their ancestors came from, the state has a moral obligation to provide vouchers and funding to parents who are against this type of abuse.

Last Name: Downey Organization: LEADK VA Locality: Hanover, VA

I respectfully ask that you support HB649. This legislation is vital to changing the devastating statistics regarding language deprivation among d/Deaf, DeafBlind and hard-of-hearing children. Having access to language, ensuring resources are provided for parents and tracking their language acquisition to measure their language acquisition from ages 0-5 against that of their hearing peers are all key components for kindergarten readiness and towards a happy, productive future. Thank you for you support and voting YES for HB649.

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am writing to urge you to vote no on HB 201, HB 333, and HB 1024. These bills divert public money out of public schools and into charter and private schools. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure that our public schools are fully-funded. Please protect public school funding by voting no on these bills.

Last Name: Golino Locality: Sterling

This bill appears to be using the pandemic to divert public schools funds into private schools. I strongly disagree with any diversion of public education funding to fund private schools.

Last Name: Lloyd Locality: South Riding

Stop trying to divert public school funding to private schools! We have one of the best school systems in the country, but certain politicians will look for any excuse to use public money to fund private religious schools. Not only does that directly oppose the founders’ intention of separation of church and state, but private schools are relatively unaccountable and can discriminate against certain students based on many factors including religion, economic background, and English language ability. Public funds should pay only for schools that are open to all children and accountable to the general public. Parents are welcome to choose to send their children to private religious schools, but that should not be subsidized by taxpayers.

Last Name: Mcdonald (B) Locality: South Riding

I am a student at a Virginia Middle school and I support public schools and don't think you should take money away from them. It was hard to have virtual learning, but my teachers were great and I know we won't go back to virtual unless it is absoltely necessary. You should not use the pandemic as an excuse to take away money from my school.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Leesburg

Stop the assault on public schools! Stop trying to divert funds away from public education. Stop trying to crush morale in public education. Stop hurting trans children in public education. Stop failing students by teaching them a whitewashed version of the past. Stop using child-on-child rape as a tool for political gain. Stop banning books. Stop legislating curriculum, particularly events that never happened such as the Abe Lincoln-Frederick Douglass debates. We owe our children a fighting chance. We owe them a great education, which cannot happen without the truth being taught. Every child is better off when every child is set up for success.

Last Name: Hultman-Lee Locality: Sterling

I object in the strongest possible terms to not only the specific wording of this bill but also its spirit. Opening the door to vouchers in this way will beggar our public school systems, rendering them unable to provide services for those students most in need, particularly those students who are not required by law to be accepted into private or charter schools (or to receive appropriate education if accepted).

Last Name: Bean Locality: South Riding

It is absolutely disgusting that politicians are using the pandemic as an excuse to try to get voucher programs passed. Local schools are doing the best that they can to educate all students. These attacks on the school for political gain are dispicable. We see them for exactly what they are.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

Please move to report HB201, HB333, HB649, HB873, HB1024.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Association Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

These bills are OPPOSED by the Virginia Education Association and myself, a public school teacher in Fairfax County.

Last Name: Hall Locality: Fairfax County

I categorically reject the use of vouchers to suck the money out of public education and the schools we care so much about. My children are as different as they can be: one has been in AAP and advanced classes while the other is bright but has learning challenges and therefore has an IEP. Neither would be better educated at a private school. Private schools do not need to provide education to all who wish to enter, nor do they have to provide: special education services, transportation, mental health services, speech therapy, extracurricular activities (band, football, science olympiad, etc.) and so many other services provide by all public schools to all children who need it. Vouchers will gut these programs and gut the local elementary schools and their pyramids. Teachers are not required to be certified and private schools can discriminate based on so many factors including economic, gender, gender identity, sexuality, and religion. Speaking of discrimination, sucking money out of public schools and sending it to private schools is exactly what was done during Massive Resistance where rather than educate in unified integrated schools, white only schools were created with public money. We cannot go back. We should move forward to continue to work to make our schools the best places for our students to learn and our teachers to teach. We are Virginia. Businesses move here for our amazing public schools.

Last Name: Savage Locality: Fairfax County

I oppose HB201 and any other bill that would send public money to private schools. We saw this same bill last year, and I am hopeful we can reject it on the spot in the subcommittee just like we did in 2021. There are more pressing matters related to education that deserve to be addressed by this session of the General Assembly.

Last Name: Corcelius Organization: FEA-VEA-NEA Locality: Fairfax

Greetings legislators, I categorically oppose HB201 and any bill that is pushing vouchers. We should be pushing to fund all school in all communities to ensure equitable opportunities for all students. Students should be able to attend their neighborhood/community school and their parents/guardians/family adults should expect the same quality public education and public services across their school district or county. Championing vouchers is a way to create enrollment and staffing problems already exacerbated by the pandemic. Vouchers are a way to siphon money from our public schools and to charters and private schools. Virginia is already 4th in the nation for public education. Privatization efforts will run us into the ground and hurt public education which will ultimately hurt our students and their families futures. Please oppose this bill. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

Last Name: Flinn Locality: Chesterfield

I oppose HB201. School/education vouchers play a vital role in Virginia's sordid history of segregation and Massive Resistance. They were introduced after Brown V Board of Education passed so that white families had an option to keep their children from integrating with black children. Legislators needs to be doing everything they can to bridge the divide between the races, not create a wider.

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