Fund Our Schools envisions a Virginia where every student has the opportunity to attain a high-quality public education. We demand the Commonwealth prioritize student needs and fully fund our K-12 schools.
Strong, well-supported public schools are vital to ensuring that every child in every zip code is able to pursue their educational and career ambitions. But Virginia does not invest enough in its K-12 schools to fulfill its constitutional obligation to ensure that every child receives a high-quality education. Across Virginia, in communities that cannot afford to supplement state funding for education, student outcomes suffer while students and educators languish in crumbling buildings with inadequate technology, textbooks, and other resources. Even in communities that can more easily afford to supplement the state’s investment, students who need extra support to succeed often do not get an adequate amount and lag far behind their peers.
Strong, well-supported public schools are also vital to the health of the local economy which depends on having talented, well-educated workers. Now is the time for Virginia to take the lead and make high-quality education our calling card. We can do this by eliminating recession-era gimmicks such as the state’s cap on support staff and by improving the equity of our funding structure to ensure that each student has the resources and opportunities to be successful. Virginia is a high income state with the resources to invest in creating broadly shared opportunity and prosperity. How we choose to invest our shared resources through the state budget shapes the commonwealth’s future and can fortify the building blocks of opportunity, such as education and public health. With adequate investments through the state budget, we can make educational opportunity a reality that lifts every individual student to new heights and, with them, the communities they live in.
WHO WE ARE
The Fund Our Schools Campaign is a coalition of advocacy groups, parents, teachers, and students.
The Legal Aid Justice Center partners with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Their mission is to seek equal justice for all by solving clients’ legal problems, strengthening the voices of low-income communities, and rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty.
The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis is deeply committed to advancing policies that create opportunities for people with low and moderate incomes in Virginia, with a particular focus on dismantling the barriers that face communities of color. They are a non-partisan, non-profit policy research and advocacy organization that provides accessible, independent analysis on policies to help build thriving communities.
New Virginia Majority works to create a powerful multi-issue, multi-racial movement to transform Virginia through large-scale civic engagement, issue advocacy, community organizing and strategic communications. They organize within Latinx, African American, Asian American Pacific Islander and youth communities, centering the leadership and demands of working-class women of color. Together, they vote, mobilize and engage within communities to advance racial and economic justice in Virginia.
Virginia Educators United is a grassroots campaign made of teachers, staff members, parents and community members who are fighting to ensure that after 10 years of systematic defunding, our children get the support they deserve.
Virginia Excels develops and amplifies community voices to shape public education by advocating for policies and practices that are good for kids, families and communities.
Sufficient Staffing – Every student, regardless of race, ethnicity, family income, or zip code, should attend well-staffed public schools where they have instructional, social, and emotional support to be successful. Yet staffing in Virginia’s schools has declined over the past decade, while student enrollment has increased dramatically. School counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and other vital support professionals are faced with overwhelming student caseloads. Virginia must fund adequate staffing standards for student support positions.
Fair Funding – Each child has unique strengths, interests, habits, and challenges, and Virginia’s public education system must meet the needs of every student in every zip code. Across the state, low-income students consistently underperform in school when compared to their wealthier peers. Low-income children often need additional academic, health, and family support to achieve success in schools. But Virginia actually spends less per student in the highest-poverty school divisions than in the wealthier divisions. Virginia must prioritize equity and allocate resources based on student needs.
Just Compensation and Supports for Educators – Educators are the heart of Virginia’s schools. Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce of highly qualified educators is crucial to ensuring that every Virginia student has a meaningful opportunity to learn. But Virginia teacher salaries trail the national average, teacher turnover is high, and teachers lack access to mentorship and growth opportunities. Virginia must invest in a teacher workforce with competitive salaries and robust opportunities for professional growth.
LIFT UP YOUR VOICE: TELL LEGISLATORS TO FUND OUR SCHOOLS
REGIONAL BUDGET HEARINGS: Our guide to speaking in support of Fund Our Schools.
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