Delegate Webert Makes Statement on Introduction of Education Equality Act

Aug 15 | News

Fauquier, VA – Today, Delegate Michael J. Webert announced that he introduced the Education Equality Act, HB 5011, for the upcoming 2020 special session that is slated to start next Tuesday, August 18, 2020.    

“It is fundamentally wrong for the state to withhold our taxpayer money while not adequately meeting the needs of all students across the Commonwealth.  

The Virginia Constitution is clear, ‘The General Assembly shall provide for a system of free public elementary and secondary schools for all children of school age throughout the Commonwealth, and shall seek to ensure that an educational program of high quality is established and continually maintained.’ Article 8, Section 1, is clear on what is expected of the state when it comes to public education. 

We have faced significant challenges over the past few months with the public school system, and how we will educate our children this coming Fall. Most of us were expecting a return to a new normal, but with in-classroom instruction for our children.  

That turned out not to be the case. 

Many localities have opted for a virtual-only option for their schools. While I understand what they are trying to accomplish, a one-size-fits-all approach is not a practical solution for all families. Parents must have the opportunity to educate their children.  

This is why I introduced HB 5011, the Education Equality Act. This bill will provide parents with the ability to choose how they educate their children and provide them with an education voucher that they can use to cover the expenses of in-person instruction. This would allow any parent to receive state funds that were previously appropriated for public school purposes.   

To put it in the most simple terms, this bill gives parents the opportunity to choose, with their taxpayer money, how their children will be educated.   

Our family is just like yours. We have two kids in public school, and my wife and I are both working parents. We, too, are struggling with the difficult decisions surrounding the best way to educate our children.

This bill is not a magic bullet for our current situation. However, it does allow for a degree of flexibility that parents have been begging for over the past few months. It is time to allow us to choose which path is best for our children, not the government.  

To echo the words of Minority Leader Gilbert, children of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status will fall behind during this period of distance learning. We need to level the playing field, give options to the parents, and ensure our children receive the educational tools they need.”   

Back to News