Emotional Speech By Sen. Yvonne Miller Blasting Charter Schools

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

...One of the things you must understand, I'm the product of public schools in the city of Norfolk, I'm a product of Norfolk State University, I'm a product of Virginia State University...

I am here to tell you that this bill at this time is like a kick in the gut. And the reason it's like a kick in the gut is because we are underfunding public education, we are cutting public education, we are in a global competition for intellectual power and we are saying in Virginia, it's ok to skim from the population that needs a high-quality education and to regulate the largest part of that population to an inferior, underfunded education. In a state as rich as Virginia...we are saying, we are not willing to educate our children...

The education of children should be a top priority for all Virginians, not just the ones who are the recipients of the luck of the draw in a lottery. All of our children should have a high-quality, first-rate education. We have the resources to do that. We are now running a scam on some of our families, saying that this is a way to solve some very serious problems.

Education is the great equalizer...before considering charter schools, we should first fund the public schools...just the accident of birth in Virginia often determines the quality of the schools that children will attend. If you are born in a rich locality, your public schools are very, very good. If you are born in a poor locality in Virginia, your education may be substandard...These bills are saying, let's not educate all the children of all the people, let's select a few children and educate them very well.

This is a very bad bill, based on our history, we should be ashamed of ourselves to even introduce such legislation.

UPDATE: Also, see the excellent speeches by Sen. Henry Marsh, Sen. Mamie Locke, Sen. Louise Lucas, and Sen. Philip Puckett.