By Hazel Rigby, Alexandria
To the editor:
This is in response to the letter published in the July 24 edition of the Alexandria Times from Peter A. Finocchio of Henrico entitled: “Want education reform? Look to Ed Gillespie.”
That is not where to look.
Public education is the bedrock of our democracy. As a teacher at T.C. Williams for three decades, I continue to encourage public support for pre-K, K-12 and college level education. Our school boards at the local and state level have a proven record of recognizing the necessity of supporting public education rather than siphoning funds to the private sector.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) has been a leader in maintaining and improving the educational system of the commonwealth and the nation. Uppermost in my memory is that under his leadership as governor, there were immense gains in reform efforts, community support, teacher training and administrator development. It all led to the largest increase in K-12 educational support in Virginia’s history.
In contrast, Ed Gillespie has no track record on education and has relied solely on Republican talking points. Virginians ought to know what he really plans to do. His strong support for competition and school choice programs is a veiled attempt at privatizing education and promoting school vouchers.
As Finocchio points out, Warner is using his position as a senator and expertise to help lower America’s escalating college costs. As a former public school teacher, I believe for education issues and reform we should look to the candidate with a proven record in public office as an innovator, both as governor and senator.
We should look to the candidate who is willing and able to work with everyone, Democrats and Republicans. That candidate is Mark Warner.