Governor Terry McAuliffe brought his report card to the VEA convention Saturday morning and got a resounding thumbs-up from the crowd of almost 700 educators, who greeted him with a standing ovation.
“There were five education bills that concerned you,” McAuliffe said, referring to the recently-completed General Assembly session. “I’m proud to tell you that I’ve now vetoed all five. I will be a brick wall to protect public education.”
He also pointed to some $900 million in extra funding for public education. “We cannot backtrack on that,” he said, “and it won’t happen on my watch. You have a partner in this administration. I know the challenges you face every day, and I know the inspiration you are to our students.”
McAuliffe gave the bulk of the credit for Virginia’s growing economy and advances in our schools to educators and the VEA. “You made a huge difference,” he said. “You came to committee meetings, you contacted legislators, you shared your ideas. You’re the reason we’ve been able to announce so many economic growth projects. You’re the best investment we can make in Virginia.”
The governor was preceded to the podium by Congressman Bobby Scott, who spoke about his work on the Every Student Succeeds Act. “We made sure there was flexibility in ESSA,” he said, “but with flexibility comes responsibility. It will be important for VEA to work with the governor’s office, the General Assembly, and the Virginia Department of Education.”