School Choice About Options, Not Dismantling Public Schools, Republicans Say

HERNDON, Virginia – Panelists at the Republican Advance told attendees at a school choice breakout session that the goal of GOP efforts is to get tax dollars to follow children even when they leave public schools, providing more opportunities for families. Panelists described the push for school choice as a way to empower parents and use capitalism-style competition to motivate improvement in public schools without dismantling the system.

“We need to make sure we’re not so focused on school choice, which we should be, I mean that is one of the pathways to a better education, but focusing on the fact that we need to find ways to better educate our children should be the primary goal,” former Loudoun County School Board member Jill Turgeon said at the Saturday breakout session.

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Conservative Chesapeake School Board Reverses Decision to Make Masks Optional

The Chesapeake School Board voted five to one on New Year’s Eve to keep masks mandatory for students — a reversal from a December decision to make masks optional after Christmas break. An announcement from the district cited the COVID-19 surge.

“At this meeting, the School Board proposed and approved an amendment to their previous motion from the December 13, 2021 meeting regarding masks for students. Therefore, masks will continue to be required for all
students, staff, and visitors as per the Public Health Order when we return on January 3, 2022. Vaccines and testing for student athletes, however, will remain optional,” Superintendent Jared Cotton wrote.

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Rejuvenated Virginia GOP Prepares for Future Victories at 2021 Advance

In a weekend that was part play, part work, attendees at the Republican Party of Virginia’s Advance spent weekend networking and attending events including a Friday reception with Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin, breakout sessions, a congressional breakfast, a luncheon with Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares, and a 1920s-themed gala and ball featuring Lieutenant Governor-elect Winsome Sears. The event was held at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, which provided activities like the Cascades Gorge hike or a hayride. Moods were high as Republicans celebrated Virginia’s sudden-seeming return to swing state status, with more wins expected in future years.

“I encountered a relatively empty shell of an organization in August of 2020. But we have worked together, we have grown, we have expanded, we’ve answered the challenge,” RPV Chairman Rich Anderson said in remarks at the Saturday gala. “Virginia Republicans: we fought! We won! The Virginia GOP is red again.”

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