HERNDON, Virginia – Panelists at the Republican Advance told attendees at a school choice breakout session that the goal of GOP efforts is to get tax dollars to follow children even when they leave public schools, providing more opportunities for families. Panelists described the push for school choice as a way to empower parents and use capitalism-style competition to motivate improvement in public schools without dismantling the system.
“We need to make sure we’re not so focused on school choice, which we should be, I mean that is one of the pathways to a better education, but focusing on the fact that we need to find ways to better educate our children should be the primary goal,” former Loudoun County School Board member Jill Turgeon said at the Saturday breakout session.
Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned on creating 20 new charter schools in Virginia, but the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee killed Republican-led charter school legislation. As a result, Republicans are pivoting to lab schools — schools that are part of the local district operated as partnerships with education programs at local higher ed institutions. Legislation to expand Virginia’s lab schools to institutions with programs beyond education is currently in conference committee with negotiators from the House of Delegates and the Senate to try to create a compromise to send to Youngkin.
“It’s going to be an opportunity for us to move some charter-schools-lite through,” House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore (R-Scott) told The Virginia Star during a discussion of top priorities at the beginning of the 2022 special session.