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Urgent Action Requested - Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts!

Week 8 General Assembly Session 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

A bill is advancing through the legislature that would provide desperately needed education choice to an at-risk segment of our school population and provide necessary relief for public schools. School choice is beneficial to everyone, and by passing HB 2238 we can give special needs children, foster kids, and children in military families the education tools and stability they need for success - while improving public schools AND saving the state money at the same time.

 

Right now, there’s a crisis of spiraling special education demands facing our public school system. According to the Virginia Department of Education’s annual report on the Commonwealth’s schools, …”the number of students most expensive to serve (autism and other health impairments) has skyrocketed by 23 percent to 46,865 students in just the last five years... The number one critical shortage area among teachers is Special Education.” This demand is putting growing strain on school budgets and staff.

 

The personal side of this issue cannot be ignored. Even though public schools are often doing the best they can with the resources they have, many special needs kids all over the state are struggling and falling behind as their unique needs are unmet. Parents are faced with the difficult choice between working things out with their school district (which sometimes involves costly litigation) or striking out on their own, with both options demanding great time and money.

 

Foster children and children from military families have unique needs, too, including (but not limited to) the need for stability. These families often turn to distance learning, private school or homeschooling simply to obtain some much-needed continuity in a constantly changing environment, but again, it can be expensive - sometimes prohibitively.

 

Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts (PCESAs) will start to change that. By creating a state-funded savings account for eligible children that opt out of public school, these children will be given the educational tools they need for success. The state will save money by retaining some of the money it would have spent on each child in public school, and districts will be left with higher per-pupil funding as their local district funding remains untouched.

 

But most importantly, PCESAs WORK. A survey of parents in Arizona, where PCESAs are already in effect, shows an astounding 100% satisfaction level, and study after study shows that the school choice PCESAs afford results in real academic benefits both the kids who leave public school AND the kids that stay behind.

 

 
ACTION REQUESTED
 
 
  1. Let the House Education Committee members know that you support PCESAs, and if you have a personal story to share, share it. Otherwise, your message can be as simple as “Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts will provide educational options to the at-risk children who need them the most. Please support HB 2238, as it will help children in and out of public school at no cost to the Commonwealth.”

  2. If your child would benefit from Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts, please consider making time to come to Richmond to testify at a committee hearing. A hearing has not yet been scheduled; contact Delegate LaRock’s office if you are interested in testifying. You can contact him at (804) 698-1033 or via email at DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov.

 

  1. Pass this message on to your friends, and ask them to call and support HB 2238 as well!

 

 

BACKGROUND
 
 
  • Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts have already been enacted in Arizona and Florida, and have helped hundreds of children and survived numerous court challenges.

 

  • A Goldwater Institute analysis of Arizona’s PCESA program (which Virginia’s is designed to closely mirror) estimates that for every 5,000 children using savings accounts, the state saves $12.3 million.

 

  • A 2009 poll of Virginians found overall support for school choice. A large majority of Virginians (79%) favored a proposal (similar to PCESAs) to benefit special needs students.

 

  • School choice improves public schools. Twenty-three empirical studies have examined school choice’s impact on academic outcomes in public schools. Of these, 22 find that choice improves public schools and one finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found that choice harms public schools. While Florida’s A+ Opportunity Scholarship Program was in place giving school choice to kids in low-performing schools, the low-performing schools facing competition from vouchers improved dramatically.

 

  • Twelve empirical studies have examined academic outcomes for school choice participants using random assignment, the “gold standard” of social science. Of these, 11 find that choice improves student outcomes—six that all students benefit and five that some benefit and some are not affected. One study finds no visible impact. No empirical study has found a negative impact.

 

 

 
 
REMINDERS:
 
 

So far I have introduced 13 bills and study resolutions, with one more on their way to be filed later today. I've also signed on as Co-Patron on some good initiatives from others; you can view the full list here

 

Please call me or visit! If you have any questions, concerns, opinions, or issues you want to discuss with me, don’t hesitate to get in touch… and as always, please pray for safety and wisdom for my team and me, and for all members of our government.

 
Sincerely, 

 

 

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CONTACT ME!

 

Website Contact Form:

www.votelarock.us/contact

 

Richmond Office:
General Assembly Building
Room 721
Capitol Square
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 698-1033
 
District Office:
P.O. Box 6
Hamilton, Virginia 20159
(540) 751-8364

Phone: 540-751-8364

Web: VoteLaRock.us

Email: info@VoteLaRock.us

Authorized and paid for by Dave LaRock for Delegate

 


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