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Cuccinelli’s Extreme Agenda Would Harm Virginia Students

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From the Democratic Party of Virginia…another disaster by Ken Cuccinelli.

 

Richmond, VA – Today Ken Cuccinelli will roll out an education agenda focused almost on entirely on taking money away from public schools and public students and spending it in private schools. That disastrous plan is an extension of Cuccinelli’s career-long record of putting his own extreme agenda ahead of what’s best for Virginia students, teachers and economy.

“From releasing a tax cut plan that would force dramatic cuts in education, to calling for the abolition of the U.S. Department of Education, Ken Cuccinelli’s education agenda has always had more to do with his extreme agenda than what’s best for Virginia,” said DPVA spokesman Brian Coy. “Virginians need a Governor who recognizes the importance of public education to preparing students to compete and lead in the economy of the future. We can’t afford a Governor who views Virginia’s education system as a launching pad for his extreme agenda.”

 

Below is a recap of Ken Cuccinelli’s dangerous record on education:

 

 Virginia Education Association: Cuccinelli’s Tax Plan Could Reduce Funding for K-12 by $422 Million. The VEA analysis stated, “The tax plan proposed by gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli could reduce annual state funding for K-12 public education by $422 million, according to a research analysis by the Virginia Education Association.” [VEA Analysis of Cuccinelli Tax Plan]

 

   Virginia Education Association: Cuccinelli’s Tax Plan Could Result in Loss of 6,500 Teachers. VEA President Meg Gruber stated, “The magnitude of those cuts would really hurt our schools and the students who attend them. That $422 million equates to the loss of 6,500 teachers. Fewer teachers mean larger class sizes and less individual attention that students need.” [VEA Analysis of Cuccinelli Tax Plan]

 

   Hampton Mayor: Cuccinelli Tax Plan Would Put “Additional Stress” On Schools. The Mayor of Hampton, Molly Ward, said the proposal would “result in additional stress on municipal budgets for police, fire and schools that our communities cannot afford.” [AP, 5/7/13]

 

   Supported Abolishing the Department of Education. In June 2009, the Washington Post reported, “Cuccinelli, who is a devout Catholic and home-schools four of his seven children, has said he supports abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.” [Washington Post, 6/12/09]

 

   One of Three Senators to Oppose Helping Students At-Risk of Failing. In February 12, 2003, Cuccinelli voted against House Bill 1757, which was a bill to require “school boards to provide programs of prevention, intervention, and remediation for students failing an end-of-course test required for the award of a verified unit of credit needed by the student for graduation.” The bill would require “school boards to provide programs of prevention, intervention, and remediation for students failing an end-of-course test required for the award of a verified unit of credit needed by the student for graduation, however, these students are not required to participate in such programs. School divisions are to add these students to their existing remediation report requirements. Currently, required remediation targets students who are ‘educationally at risk including, but not limited to, those whose scores are in the bottom national quartile on Virginia State Assessment Program Tests and those who fail to achieve a passing score on any Standards of Learning assessment in grades three, five, and eight.’” This bill passed in the state Senate 37 to 3 and in the state House 98 to 0 and became law.  [House Bill 1757, 2003; and Virginia’s Legislative Information System Summary of House Bill 1757, 2003]

 

   Cuccinelli Opposes Spending More than $10,000 Per Pupil, Slammed “Insatiable” “Edu-Crats” for Demanding More Money for Education. He said, “If you can't educate a kid for [$10,000] a year, the problem is not enough money. The 'need' for more money is insatiable among the edu-crats.” [Washington Post, 3/05/04]

 

   One of 14 Senators to Vote against Teacher Pay Increases. In March 2008, Cuccinelli was one of 14 state senators who voted against House Bill 29, which was “a $77 billion, two-year budget” that provided “teacher pay raises, increases in state employee salaries and significant new funds for mental health and public education.”  It included “$22 million to expand prekindergarten access for at-risk 4-year olds.”  [Richmond Times Dispatch, 3/14/08, and House Bill 29, 2008]

 

   Only Senator to Vote against Requiring School Boards to Provide Planning Time to Teachers. In February 2008, Cuccinelli was the only Senator to vote against legislation that would require “school boards to ensure that all school teachers are provided an average of 30 minutes a day of planning time.” The bill passed 38-1 in the Senate and was left in a House Committee. [SB 48, Vote on 2/12/08]

 

   Voted Against Recognizing Teachers’ Licenses from Other States. In 2005, Cuccinelli voted against legislation that would allow Virginia to recognize valid teacher licenses from out-of-state that was active e at the time the application for a Virginia license was made. The bill passed the House 63-35 and the Senate 28-12 and became law. [SB 949, Vote on 2/24/05]

 

   Proposed Amendment to Eliminate Funding for Financial Incentives for Teachers to Pursue Advanced Education Related to Early Childhood Education. In 2008, Cuccinelli proposed an amendment to Senate Bill 30 to eliminate funding in the bill “to provide financial incentives for teachers, teachers assistants, and other early childhood education personnel to pursue advanced education and training related to early childhood education.” [Amendment 338 #2s to Senate Bill 30, 2008] 

  • It would basically gut the separation of church and state while defunding public schools. Yes, Ken Cuccinelli is as radical as everyone thought he was…

  • Not good. Here are a few of the LOWlights.

    3)   Forcing local taxpayers to use property taxes for charter schools: (F) The idea that the state should force local government to spend local tax dollars on new charter schools contradicts every basic idea of democracy.  Local City Councils and County Boards can decide if they want to fund new education options.  Since they are often the primary funders of their schools, they should not be forced to pay for things they don’t think are needed.  If a County Board does not think its schools are doing what they need to, it can provide funds for something different.  Local government has the financial control over school districts. They don’t need the state micro-managing them.

    4)   Allowing Parents to Take Over a School: (D) This idea is attractive as an empowerment tool, but it does not have much of a track record of actual success.  It is a moving the chairs around kind of policy idea that could lead to worse performing schools if things are done poorly. The idea that parents should have the ability to petition for changes does have merit though, and we should give them the ability to petition the state board of education for intervention if their student needs are not being met.  But this needs to also take into consideration the fact that Virginia’s accreditation system masks the performance of low-income students in more affluent schools – that has to be addressed as part of this conversation.  We should also talk about giving parents access to more data and information about their students and their schools in order to empower them.

    5)   Giving public K-12 funds to religious schools: (F) This is the most significant focus in Cuccinelli’s plan.  He wants to give public money to private religious schools and doesn’t seem to think those schools have any obligations to meet state SOL standards.  Our public schools and teachers have already struggled with diminished funds and higher standards.  Moving scarce resources to private, religious schools makes this worse.  Especially as these schools don’t have the same academic standards as public schools.