the time is now

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. Our goal is to ensure that students have access to highly qualified and experienced teachers, that educators are compensated fairly, and to improve the educational environment in the state of Virginia.

 

 Across the Commonwealth, districts have had to do more than ever before with fewer resources. With a growing economy and revenues finally available, we can’t miss our opportunity to fix school funding for the long-term. 

 

The time is NOW! 

 

We must #FundOurSchools!

  #RedForEd  #Red4Ed  #FundOurSchools

Join our movement

West Virginia. Arizona. Oklahoma. Kentucky. North Carolina. All five are right-to-work states where state government refused to appropriately fund public education, and more importantly- where educators, parents and students built power to demand change.

 

In Virginia, the time of waiting for political winds to shift in our favor is over. Our salaries languish in the lowest tier nationally, below pre-Recession levels. Overcrowded, over-tested, and under-resourced schools are crumbling under the weight of deferred maintenance and declining investment. Our children, our communities and our Commonwealth deserve better.

 

The 2018-2019 school year coincided with a state-wide effort to change the narrative surrounding public education funding. Led by grassroots staff, parents and students thousands marched on the capitol in Richmond demanding better funding. 

In 2019-2020 the cause grows stronger as Virginia Educators United continues & extends the campaign for better schools funding and conditions through new coalitions such as Fund Our Schools and National Educators United. 

Be part of the movement! 

This is what is going on in Virginia

Virginia made dramatic cuts in state support for K-12 schools during and after the recession that equaled over one billion dollars a year at the height in 2012. Schools have tried to absorb these cuts — which currently amount to 10 percent per student since 2009 adjusting for inflation — yet they have had to make hard choices in managing their own unique challenges.

 

Many schools have had to cut back on instructors and school staff. Since 2009, staffing in Virginia schools has declined by 1,242 positions while enrollment has grown by more than 50,000 students. This means larger class sizes and fewer supports for students. At the same time, the needs of students have also been changing. The number of economically disadvantaged students has increased by almost 90,000 students since 2009 and English learners in Virginia schools have increased by over 54,000. Schools have also struggled to maintain their facilities or pay for repairs. More than 70 percent of Virginia school divisions now spend less per student to operate and maintain facilities than they did 10 years ago with some spending up to 40 percent less per student. All Virginia students deserve a safe, clean, healthy school environment.

 

Most alarming, state cuts hit areas of the state with the highest school-aged poverty rates particularly hard — almost three times larger in the highest poverty communities compared to the lowest poverty communities. That means the state took the most out of schools where localities have the least ability to fill in for state cuts and where families have limited means to supplement instruction.

 

This is not a recipe for success. By supporting our schools at a level far below what it takes to meet growing needs, we put our children in a precarious position. Continuing to pretend that teachers and schools can do more with less, year after year, is not sustainable. It’s time to rebuild the damage done to education funding during the recession and invest in our children.

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

 

Now that the state is well into an economic recovery, state lawmakers should be looking to find solutions that fix Virginia’s funding problem for the long-term.

 

Virginia’s Board of Education has handed lawmakers a blueprint for restoring support for public education. In October of 2016, they unanimously approved common-sense recommendations to undo some of the harmful cuts made during the recession and to ensure Virginia schools have adequate staffing for critical positions such as principals, assistant principals, school counselors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other support staff. If the recommendations had been implemented, the state would have largely restored its support for K-12 schools back to pre-recession levels.

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