Public Comments for: HB293 - Education Savings Account Program; established.
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
I absolutely oppose HB293 to send public money to private schools. This piece of legislation would be detrimental to all public school students as it would deprive public schools of adequate funding, but it would be especially dangerous to students with disabilities and their families, who do not have the same rights in private schools as they hold in public schools. While this bill makes private schools more appealing, it includes no specific provision to require parents to be informed of the rights they waive if they transition their student to a private school. The US Government Accountability Office found in a 2017 report titled "Private School Choice: Federal Actions Needed to Ensure Parents Are Notified About Changes in Rights for Students with Disabilities," that many school voucher programs across the country do not do a sufficient job of informing families about the rights they waive under IDEA if they transition their student to a private school, and recommended congressional action; however, Congress has refused to act. The lack of any provision in HB293 requiring families to be informed of their rights under IDEA is profoundly repugnant. For that reason, I strongly urge legislators to vote down this disastrous bill.
I oppose HB293. Education savings accounts is another term for vouchers and waivers. All of these play a vital role in Virginia's sordid history of segregation and Massive Resistance. Waivers and vouchers 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.