How far can Youngkin’s school-choice push go?
Education has been the number one priority for Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, both on the campaign trail and as he prepares his transition to the Executive Mansion in Richmond.
Youngkin promised to boost teacher pay and rebuild crumbling facilities, keep schools open throughout the ongoing pandemic and eradicate “critical race theory” from the classroom.
Budgets come and go, pandemics (hopefully) don’t last forever, and culture wars over school curriculum have raged for decades.
But it’s Youngkin’s school choice agenda that could fundamentally alter Virginia’s education system.
“School choice” can refer to a range of educational options, including charter schools, voucher programs that use public money to help families pay for private school and education savings accounts, where families can pull their child from public school and use the per-pupil funding to pay for other educational opportunities.
Youngkin has been light on specific policy proposals, but the governor-elect consistently preached school choice on the campaign trail. He promised Virginians at least 20 more charter schools as a “Day One” priority and vouchers for families to help their children recover from the year of school closures.
Those types of promises might not have gained much traction in past years, but massive frustration with the state’s public schools after a year of COVID-19 closures and enough moderate Democrats could provide Youngkin an avenue to deliver on his campaign promises.
The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.
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