Election day this past November was a really good day. Republicans swept the statewide seats and have retaken the majority in the House of Delegates. That is great and was the result of the effort of many people across the state. However, we need to remember that our statewide ticket won with about 50.5% of the vote. That is really close. One point difference and we could lose all three seats in 2025. That should be in the mind of every Republican legislator in the General Assembly for the next four years. The challenge before us is for our Republican Caucus in the General Assembly and our Governor, LG, and AG to show Virginia why our state wide ticket in 2025 should be elected by a greater margin than 2021. We should want to be winning 55% to 45%. That should be our priority for the next four years.
The way we do that is by making good on the swing issue of this election: Education.
This election was won because Democrats want to disempower parents in their children’s education. Republicans won this election because we believe that parents should be in control of their children’s education. That created high contrast between the parties for a lot of voters.
A lot of parents voted Republican because they hope the Republican Party will be better. We would be wise to make good on those parents’ hope. We can’t do that by simply trying to make the current system work. The current system is a failed system. Should the left regain control of Virginia in four years, then they will want to resume what they have been doing with it.
We need to create a new system that empowers parents to make meaningful decisions in their children’s education. The very best policy I think we could implement is School Choice via a Full Voucher System.
So what would a Full Voucher System look like?
Each parent would get a voucher from the state for X amount of money. The vouchers would be good at any school, both government schools or private schools. They would be good at both secular schools and religious schools. Borders of counties and cities would not matter for this. If you live in one locality and there is a particular school the next county over that you want to send you child, then you could.
With parents so empowered there would be an explosion of private schools. Some schools might specialize in particular teaching methods. Maybe your child learns best by verbal communication and you could find a school that better caters to that need. Maybe you have a child on the autistic spectrum and you could find a school that caters to that special need. Maybe your child is very good at music and you want a school that better supports their creativity. Maybe your child is more technologically inclined and you want to have a school that supports that. Parents know their children best, and under a Full Voucher System would then be free to find a school that would be the best fit for their child.
If a parent has a problem with the way a school is educating their child, they could simply move their child to another school mid year, and transfer the remaining balance of the voucher. Instead of parents having to deal with indifferent government bureaucrats that run our schools, suddenly those running government schools would have an incentive to improve the quality of their work and treat parents with respect.
We would have more and more affordable, high quality private schools. Remember that government school that has been failing kids for the past three decades? Remember how a lot of parents are trapped sending their child to that school because they can’t afford to move to a better school district? Suddenly parents would be moving their kids out of those failed schools. Some government schools straight up would not have enough students to pay the bills. Government schools would gradually dwindle in number as the number of private schools rise.
And that would be okay. You know that restaurant on the corner that has been four different restaurants in the past decade, but this last restaurant finally stuck and is doing well? What has been happening there? The prior businesses were not providing enough value to the community, so they went out of business. However, that last business has been providing value to the community, and so it stays in business. The same thing would happen when a government school goes out of business. Some private entities will purchase the property and do a better job of providing value to the community.
If there is a private school that costs a little bit more than the amount of the voucher, then the parents would be free to pay more. This would be a massive improvement over the current system whereby parents who send their child to a private school also have to fund the government school system.
If I had the money, I would stand ready to purchase the first government school that went out of business in my area. I would then rent out the space in the building to individual teachers and small schools. That way new private schools wouldn’t have to find just the right facilities. “Oh! You are a teacher going into business for herself that wants to teach 5th grade? We have space over here for you!” “Oh? You need six rooms this year instead of four because you are successful and growing? Okay, we will allocate the space for you!”
In this manner, bussing issues would not be as complicated as some people think because transferring a child from one school to another school might mean they stay in the same building. This would completely change the way we think about school.
I am sure other people have ideas about how to fine tune Universal School Choice, but that is the general idea as I understand it.
The contrast between the experience of the current liberal model for education and the free market conservative model will be absolutely huge. People will not be able to be ignored. How could the liberals corrupt such a system, when parents have such control? We wouldn’t just be winning our education system back for four years, but for the next HUNDRED years.
What about 2023?
We could push very hard in the next two years to achieve this reform and not succeed because not a single Democrats in the State Senate wants to stand with parents. That is okay, because we win some Senate seats in 2023 on the basis of our education reform. One of the things that Republican elected officials should understand is that they get credit with the people when they fight hard for their constituents.
They need to understand that we can’t lose on this issue. Either a couple of Senate Democrats choose to support parents in the next two years and we get it through, or we carry this issue to victory in 2023 and pass it once Republicans have retaken the State Senate.
Why is this is important for 2025?
We just had a lot of voters in Virginia vote Republican for the very first time in their lives. We also have a lot of young people who will be entering the voter pool in the next four years who would see all of these changes first hand, who have been growing up with the insanity of the government education system. If the Republican Party makes good on their promise to be better, then a whole lot of those young folks just entering the voter pool would become lifelong Republican voters.
I should hope that I don’t have to articulate why converting an important swath of Virginians into lifelong Republican voters, but I’m going to say it explicitly because I am sure there will be some people who are not thinking ahead. If we can deliver for those parents and kids a far superior system that we stand to make elections in Virginia a lot more favorable for Republicans for the next two decades.
But it is even more important than that. If we are the first state to shift to Universal School Choice with a Full Voucher System, then we will be a model for every other state in the union.
All that is necessary for the liberal education system stranglehold to collapse nationwide is for the first domino to fall. Once one state has done it and shows that it works, then other states will soon follow.
Additionally, with an improved education system, we wouldn’t have kids taught to be ignorant of our countries history. They would enter the voter pool as far more educated voters. If we could be the domino that makes it possible to reform education nationwide,
then we improve our chances nationally for the next couple of decades there as well.
Let the Democrats fight a rearguard action to preserve their failed 19th century education model across the country for the next decade or so, until only the most blue of blue state still cling bitterly to their failed education system.
Why it is so important for Virginia to do this NOW!
Unlike every other single election you have experienced in your lifetime, here in 2021 Republicans have won an election on the issue of Education. This is the strongest mandate for education reform that we will ever have. This is not an opportunity to be squandered. We cannot expect any other state to have the critical mass that we do to over come the special interest lobby of the government education unions.
What happens if we don’t do this?
Then we stand to be in another razor thin election in 2025. And we could very easily lose that. And the Democrats would be on the march again. I don’t know about you, but the last decade of losing wasn’t anything I care to repeat. Placing ourselves into a stronger position for 2025 so we can win by a more comfortable margin is the thing to do.
Election Day 2021 was a good day, but it was not a final victory. It is a reprieve. It is an opportunity. If we do not make good use of this breathing room, then we stand to have a lot more of the past decade of failure. I hope you don’t want that either.
Failure to make good on Education will give a lot of the first time Republican voters we got this year good reason to question why they should stick with the Republican Party.
Failure to make good on Education will also depress a lot of conservative voters who may give up on the Republican Party. I don’t know about you, but I hate having talks with conservatives who don’t vote because they don’t think the Republican party does anything. Failure on this issue will just convert more conservative voters against the Republican Party and make turn out that much harder.
Quite often Republicans lose the majority because, after they gain the majority, they don’t really do anything with it. We cannot afford to make that mistake this time. The stakes are too high for that.
What can I do?
Share this with your elected Republicans in the House of Delegates and the State Senate. Let them know what a rare opportunity this is to save our country. Let them know that we should not want to win statewide elections by a bare 50%. Let them know that we have an issue that could make our margins so big statewide that we wouldn’t have to worry about the Democrat fraud machine. Let them know that we have an opportunity to make good on our mandate and set the Democrats into a complete rout nationwide on this issue. I should hope that they would be keenly interested in at least one of those.
Let us make best use of the mandate the people of Virginia have given us. Let us win the future.
John Brill – Former Chairman of the Roanoke City Republican Committee
Former Republican Representative on the Roanoke City Electoral Board