At the VEA, all policy positions are worked out by and through members. All of the VEA’s more than 130 local Unions, each with its own officers, are part of a VEA governing district. Each district is entitled to elect members as representatives on VEA’s Board of Directors. VEA policies and positions are discussed by members, officers, and district and state boards of directors, then approved by the annual statewide Delegate Assembly, which is the Association’s foremost body.
To learn more about VEA’s positions, read our Resolutions, which are the Union’s belief statements, and our New Business Items, which are one-year action steps that members direct VEA to take.
Community Schools Models offer integrated health and social supports, expanded and enriched learning time and opportunities, active family and community engagement, and collaborative leadership and practices. Through decades of implementation in other states with clear evidence of improved student outcomes, Virginia should support and expand these models with state funding.
At-Risk Add-On funding targets additional state support to divisions with higher concentrations of students living in poverty. Studies show that students facing more barriers and living in poverty generally need an additional supplement of 40-200% more funding to have education outcomes comparable to students not living in poverty.
State aid for public education is still down from 2009 levels. This means local divisions are left paying more than what is required by localities in the state’s primary funding formula. High poverty divisions and divisions with the most students of color struggle to make up these funds, resulting in vast inequities in educational opportunity across the state. Schools are struggling to provide adequate staffing, resulting in insufficient counselors, social workers, instructional aides, and administrative and custodial staff. The pandemic has only widened these gaps, and students need full and fair school funding more than ever before.
In the fall of 2021, the Virginia Board of Education issued a set of Standards of Quality (SOQs) recommendations which, if funded, would go far to increase educational opportunity for Virginia’s children. The estimated annual cost of funding these SOQs is $813 million more than what the state currently spends, but this is just the minimum cost the state Board says is necessary to meet the state’s constitutional duty to ensure a high quality education for Virginia’s students. It is now up to the General Assembly to adopt these SOQs, and fully fund it. Doing this would:
Traditional school vouchers and newer versions such as Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) are mechanisms to send public dollars to families who choose to forgo public K-12 education and pursue private school or home schooling. The redirected public school money from vouchers is typically used to partially subsidize private or religious school costs. Money deposited in an ESA can often be used by the family to pay for private school tuition and fees or for education expenses.
K-12 vouchers do not improve student outcomes
Vouchers divert much-needed resources from public schools
Vouchers increase segregation and discrimination, do not impact satisfaction or safety
With students and schools still recovering from the setbacks of the pandemic, we can’t afford to start shifting investments to unproven voucher programs that have poor track records for improving student outcomes. Research is clear that investing in public schools improves student outcomes, graduation and postsecondary enrollment. Lawmakers should look to invest in research-backed initiatives that our Board of Education and student-advocacy groups in the state have been pointing to for years, like funding that revised Standards of Quality and lifting the support cap which adds to our current support staff shortages.