(CNSNews.com) - Addressing the "chaos" and "violence" seeping into public schools, Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin on Tuesday laid out his plan to make Virginia schools safer, more secure, and better at their main purpose -- effectively teaching children.
Youngkin said he's "heartbroken" by the sexual assaults and cover-up in Loudoun County schools, where the school board has "shut parents out."
He said his first steps, should he be elected, involve security:
First, when I’m your governor, working for you, every school will be required to have school resource officers on its campus. And let me be clear, they will be on every campus or that school will lose its funding. If you are a school board and you refuse to equip your schools with school resource officers to keep our children safe, you will need to find your funding for your school on your own.
Second, starting immediately, we will require the annual school safety audits to be conducted in coordination with local law enforcement. We are going to ensure that we are bringing every resource possible to bear to keep our children safe.
Third, if we don’t get a full investigation of Loudoun County’s school board cover up, rest assured, on Day One, Jason Miyares who will be our next attorney general, Jason Miyares is going to go to work and he will do the job that Mark Herring is failing to do today.
And finally, when I’m governor, every school will be mandated to report crimes to local law enforcement. No more cover ups, no more keeping parents in the dark. If there is a crime committed at a school, we’re calling the police...Never again will radical school boards be able to hide criminals in our schools.
"Once we ensure our students are safe where they learn, we can respond immediately with actions on how and what they learn," Youngkin continued:
Principle number one is transparency. Our parents have been kept in the dark long enough. When I’m governor, schools will make teaching materials, textbooks, lesson plans all available to parents who request them. We must remove the political shroud over our schools that has kept parents in the dark. I will sign the bipartisan bill that Terry McAuliffe vetoed that would have alerted parents to what their children are reading in school.
Principle number two is democracy...every parent has the fundamental right to be democratically involved in the development of the public school curriculum. My Secretary of Education and the Virginia Superintendent will ensure parental involvement in school curriculum. No government or school board or bureaucrat will come between parents and your children. Not one.
Principle number three is equality. Schools and their policies must teach students to judge their peers based on character, not skin color. Our children and we have an opportunity to reject decades of hate and discrimination and begin journeys together, as neighbors, to bring people together, not to divide us. When I’m governor, we will teach all of our history, the good and the bad. All of it. So that we understand where we came from. We have abhorrent chapters in our history, we have great chapters in our history, we must know it all but let me be clear: I will ban Critical Race Theory at our schools.
Principle number four is investment. We will have the largest education budget in Virginia’s history. We will raise teacher pay, we will rebuild our crumbling schools, and we will invest in special education programs because Virginia’s kids with disabilities have suffered mightily during this pandemic and they deserve it.
Principle number five is excellence. We will encourage every student, of any background, to excel as far and as fast as their God-given talents will take them. We will never lower the bar just because it’s the easy road. We will never saddle these bright young minds with the burden of low expectations. My Virginia Board of Education will review annually Virginia’s school accreditation standards, and we will preserve an apolitical curriculum based on fact-based learning and critical thinking.
Principle number six is choice. A student’s zip code cannot determine his or her destiny. Parents must be free to make the decision best for their children, so on Day One we will start a journey and launch 20 new innovation charter schools across the Commonwealth. This is a mere down payment on closing the gap of choice within our public school system so parents can decide what’s best for your children.
And finally, overarching everything, is trust. Parents must trust our schools, and at the heart of trust, is safety. And if we cannot trust our kids to be safe in our schools, nothing else matters. We will hold accountable, we will hold them accountable, those to whom we entrust our children’s hearts, minds, and well-being. And that starts with safety, and that starts today.
Youngkin said his goal is to "raise the standards, not the political rhetoric."
"We will fix this," he promised.
Youngkin's opponent Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking a second term as governor, has spent much of his campaign trying to make Youngkin look like the second coming of Donald Trump.
McAuliffe's campaign describes his education plan this way:
Terry will ensure that every student has access to an equitable, world-class education. His plan will invest a record $2 billion annually in education, which will raise teacher pay above the national average for the first time in Virginia history, give every 3 and 4-year-old in need access to pre-k, and get every student online. Terry will also address Virginia’s educator shortage and diversify our educator workforce through his Lucy Simms Educator Program. The Lucy Simms Program will cover education costs for students who commit to teaching for five years in one of Virginia’s public schools after graduation.