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HELPING OUR CHILDREN

GROW AND THRIVE

Del. Sam Rasoul is a member of the House Education Committee and consistently fights for holistic, quality education for Virginia’s students. We can count on him to have the backs of teachers and students as Lieutenant Governor.

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THE PROBLEM

Virginia faced a teacher shortage crisis even before the pandemic. The average teacher salary is $51,265, putting the Commonwealth far below the national average and ranking us 34th among U.S. states for teacher salaries. Rural schools have a particularly hard time recruiting teachers given their bare-bone budgets and aging infrastructure. The statewide Standards of Quality benchmarks aren’t fully funded, leaving teachers with the choice of going without resources, or paying for it themselves. As it stands, Virginia currently prohibits teachers from collectively bargaining. Between a low counselor-to-student ratio and a lack of basic learning materials, teachers statewide are opting to leave Virginia after only a few years into their careers. 

 

State school funding is based on the number of students at each school, and doesn’t account for other factors that affect the learning environment. Failing to protect the most at-risk students sets them up for failure. An undue focus on standardized testing has stopped educators from doing the kind of social and emotional teaching that leads to well-rounded students. Crumbling classrooms and inadequate home internet access make it even more difficult for students to learn, adding to their mental health burdens. 

 

Mental health in college-age students has tanked significantly because of COVID restrictions, though many students’ only resource for mental health counseling was through their college or university. 

 

Our pandemic recovery is an opportunity to fix our aging school infrastructure while fostering holistic learning methods and helping students thrive. Supporting teachers through liveable wages and eliminating barriers for students to learn.

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HOW TO DISCUSS

  • When teachers do well, students do well. We know that teachers are most effective when they are well-compensated for their valuable work, can represent themselves and have quality working conditions at school.
     

  • Make schools safe and up to date. Schools should be safe havens for students. We need to ensure our classrooms have the most up-to-date technology, and that school grounds are safe.
     

  • Keep teachers here for the long term. There is an exodus of young, talented educators who attend Virginia’s colleges and leave the state after only a few years teaching here. Raising teacher pay so it is above the national average is a strong signal that Virginia values its teachers. 
     

  • Social and Emotional learning produces well-rounded students. Children are proven to be more resilient and emotionally in-tune when they learn Emotional Quotient habits from a young age. Introducing Social and Emotional lessons in Pre-K poises them for success as students.  

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POLICY SOLUTIONS

KEEP GOOD TEACHERS IN VIRGINIA

 

  1. Increase Teacher Pay. Del. Sam Rasoul supported multiple teacher raises over the past eight years. However, there’s still much more work to be done. Teachers should feel valued and committed to their students’ education. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will continue the fight for Virginia’s educators to surpass the national average of pay in the next four years.
     

  2. Give Students And Teachers The Broadband They Need. High-quality virtual learning should be accessible for every student in Virginia. Sam supports authorizing school boards to appropriate funds for the purposes of promoting, facilitating, and encouraging the expansion and operation of broadband services for educational purposes. Students should not have to drive to a restaurant or library for an internet connection just to do their homework. Sam’s broadband plan requires big telecoms to offer an affordable basic internet plan, and it empowers localities and co-ops to build alternative broadband infrastructure.
     

  3. Fully Implement And Equitably Fund The Revised Standards Of Quality. Virginia currently doesn’t fully fund all of the education benchmarks it requires educators to teach. Some legislation has improved the problem, but any mandated standards should be adequately funded equitably. Sam will fight to get all of these revised standards funded in full as Lieutenant Governor. 
     

  4. Allow Collective Bargaining. Teachers should be able to negotiate their salaries and benefits. As a Delegate, Sam supported repealing Virginia’s Right to Work laws and workers’ rights to collectively bargain. He will continue that fight as Lieutenant Governor.   

 

GET STUDENTS BACK TO SCHOOL QUICKLY AND SAFELY

 

  1. Getting Kids Safely Back To School. We know students learn better when they’re in the classroom. Del. Rasoul supported legislation that provides public health guardrails, resources schools need to open safely, parents' ability to choose to stay virtual next year, and the opportunity for all teachers and staff to have access to the vaccine. Sam will advocate as Lieutenant Governor for the continued safety of students and teachers as we recover from the pandemic.
     

  2. Rebuild Our School Infrastructure Equitably. Virginia’s schools are crumbling, especially in rural areas. Outdated air conditioning and heating systems, slow internet connections, and a lack of new technology are all barriers for students to learn. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam plans to prioritize student safety within our schools by fully funding infrastructure upgrades and creating the classrooms of the future. 
     

  3. People’s Platform Policy — Allow Local Governments To Raise Funds For Capital Investments. Health and human services and education make up over half of total local governments’ operating spending in Virginia, but because of Dillon’s Rule, localities are heavily restricted in how they can raise funds to invest in much-needed capital investments such as school repairs and new buildings. Localities should be empowered to raise funds for capital improvements in education without requiring General Assembly approval. (Michael, Charlottesville)

 

UPLIFT STUDENTS

 

  1. Achieve The Counselor Gold Standard. Students have undergone tremendous trauma because of COVID. They should have access to all the mental health and educational counseling they need to move forward. As Lieutenant Governor, Del. Rasoul will fight for the Gold Standard of 250 students to each certified counselor, a nationally recognized benchmark for success.  
     

  2. Increase ‘At-Risk’ Funding. Schools across Virginia receive the same amount of funding per pupil, regardless of environmental factors like local poverty rates, school infrastructure, or its geographical size. This method leaves behind thousands of students who could succeed if they had just a few more resources. Sam will fight for resources to go to the students who struggle in impoverished and rural areas. 
     

  3. Transition To Community Schools. Schools should be a hub for students to get the emotional, social, educational, and medical attention they need to thrive. Sam passed a bill transitioning Virginia to community schools, which allow nonprofits and other social services to be available on-site when kids need them most. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will facilitate the funding and transition to community schools for all Virginia students. 
     

  4. Put Students, Faculty and Community Residents On College Visitors Boards. Appointments to Boards of Visitors shouldn’t be a matter of patronage, and students and faculty often lack voting power. Sam supports reforms to make these appointments democratic and include students, faculty, staff, and local community residents. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will push for those impacted by institutional decisions to become voting board members. 
     

  5. Stop The School-To-Prison Pipeline. There are too many cases of young people having their first introduction to the criminal justice system happen due to trouble at school. We need firm guidelines that shut down the school-to-prison pipeline, and direct disciplinary action to be addressed with counselors, mental health professionals and restorative justice practices.

 

HOLISTIC CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT FOR ALL VIRGINIA’S STUDENTS

 

  1. Incorporate Social And Emotional Learning. In addition to focusing on a child's cognitive development, we need to ensure we take a holistic approach to childhood growth. As a Delegate, Sam passed a bill implementing social and emotional learning into school curriculums, a critical step for building our children’s soft skills and developing their mental resilience. Sam will push as Lieutenant Governor to fully fund the resources and counselors needed for these programs. 
     

  2. Support Newborn To 5 Universal Childcare. Virginia must increase access to the Child Care Subsidy Program to maximize use of federal block grant funding. The Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) must be expanded to include all 3 and 4 year-olds. Every child should have access to early childhood development and care. Sam will fight as Lieutenant Governor so every Virginia receives a tax credit to ensure access to affordable child care.
     

  3. Make After School Care Accessible And Affordable. Parents had a tough decision to make when COVID hit: pay for child care, or stay home and forfeit a paycheck. Sam’s Marshall Plan for Moms includes child care for all, as well as paid family and medical leave for every worker. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will stand with Virginia’s working parents who need help the most. 
     

  4. Feeding Children’s Minds And Stomachs. When kids are hungry, they can’t focus on learning. A holistic approach to education includes giving students access to healthy, nutritious food. Sam passed a bill in 2021 that creates infrastructure so local farmers can easily distribute their harvests in our area. Incorporating these foods into school lunches would be nutritious while leaving a small carbon footprint. As Lieutenant Governor, Sam will ensure meals are affordable for those who don’t qualify for free lunches.