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Cuccinelli's recycled corporate education proposals have a record of failure


August 14, 2013

The Washington Post reports, "Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli II unveiled a 12-point education plan Tuesday that would push for charter schools, offer voucher-like scholarships for preschoolers and empower a majority of parents to take over their children's failing school, according to an outline of his K-12 education plan... The package of reforms contained in Cuccinelli's K-12 education plan include several that have become popular in recent years, especially among conservatives, although the efficacy of some of the initiatives has been disputed."

Progressive Point: Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, not helping corporations profit off our kids. Virginia's future financial success depends on investment in education and opportunity. Ken Cuccinelli's education plan is copies failed policies pushed by conservative ideologues in other parts of the country that are draining money away from schools and home front investments.

Working families have had enough of passing the buck on education under Bob McDonnell. We've also seen this model conservative legislation before when the secretive corporate front group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed it. Ken Cuccinelli's proposals to continue pushing privatization and virtual schools for profit is just more of the same. Taking authority and money away from localities and public schools, while continuing to ignore teachers, only pushes our students further in the wrong direction. Helping our children succeed in an increasingly global economy should be the driving force behind public education decisions, but Ken Cuccinelli's ideological campaign clearly is not.

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Get the Facts:

  • Parent Trigger legislation that Ken Cuccinelli is proposing is drawn directly from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The name he's given, "Parent Empowerment and Choice Act" is the same name as the ALEC model. Additionally, as is discussed in our ALEC V. Kids report, the ALEC model is based on a California law that was proposed by a private charter operator. ALEC actually revised that law to give parents fewer choices, essentially steering them into privatizing public schools. (ProgressVA)

  • Del. Rob Krupicka on Ken Cuccinelli's plan:
    • "Forcing local taxpayers to use property taxes for charter schools: (F) The idea that the state should force local government to spend local tax dollars on new charter schools contradicts every basic idea of democracy.  Local City Councils and County Boards can decide if they want to fund new education options.  Since they are often the primary funders of their schools, they should not be forced to pay for things they don't think are needed."

    • "Giving public K-12 funds to religious schools: (F) This is the most significant focus in Cuccinelli's plan. He wants to give public money to private religious schools and doesn't seem to think those schools have any obligations to meet state SOL standards. Our public schools and teachers have already struggled with diminished funds and higher standards. Moving scarce resources to private, religious schools makes this worse. Especially as these schools don't have the same academic standards as public schools."

  • The virtual school funding, charter school proposals, and expansion of the faux-voucher program are all also drawn on ALEC. Cuccinelli's proposals aren't education proposals, they're proposals to help private corporations profit off of our kids. (ProgressVA)

  • Since 2008, Virginia has cut per student funding by 10%, or $592 per pupil. (Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Sept. 4, 2012)

  • Increasing investment in our schools and closing the educational-achievement gap between the U.S. and higher-performing countries could boost our gross domestic product by 16%. (Wall Street Journal, April 22, 2012)

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