A New Breed
of Democrat!


21st Century Legislative Leadership!

                                 Public Education

     Jerry Cantrell is a lifetime educator and has a wide knowlege
about the needs of college and university educators. He has taught both graduate and undergraduate government courses for over twenty  five years.  And, he is presently Central Texas College's Atlantic Division Coordinator of Student Services. Additionally, as a young man he worked  a year as a staff assistant for the West Virgina House of Delegate's education committee. Thus, he has the deep  experience that is needed to help solve the major educational problems that are being faced by educational institutions in our legislative. 
    Here are some of the educational issues that Jerry wants to see resolved in the upcoming legislative session.

Teachers Salaries

     The performance of Virginia public schools consistently ranks among the top states. One recent educational performance study has shown that over 90 percent of our students graduate from high school. And another one claims that Virginia  ranked 6th in the nation on Advanced Placement examination scores. Clearly Virginian teachers  and education support personnel are doing a great job for our state's children and young adults.
               As one can see,Virginian teachers are doing their part in the effort to prepare our youth with the knowledge, skills, and tools to be well educated citizens. However, they are not being properly rewarded for their dedication and hard work in the classrooms. When it comes to teachers pay, Virginian teachers rank 30th in the country.  Jerry believes that those teachers all deserve more than a 2 percent pay increase. And, he also believes that their pay increases shold not be linked to indicators of state revenue generation. They should be paid based upon their level of national educational performance. And,if he is elected, he will propose a more competitive salary increase that is above the national teacher pay average. Primarily because strong public schools help make our communities strong.

Higher Education Salaries

               If he is elected, Jerry will also fight for greater equity in
 how college and university instructors are paid. Some state supported universities are allowed the luxury of providing merit based salary
increases while others are anchored to the overall performance of the state's economy. All state supported schools should have the same
fair employment compensation system. And, he also believes that it is
time for all higher education and administration and faculty to be 
given a 3 percent pay increase.   

Student Debt Relief

      College debt has become  a major economic issue for young people in Virginia.  And, a number of recent educational studies show that  over 1 million of our state residents have altogether accrued over $30 billion in student loan debt. That amounts to an average student debt amount of over $28,000 per citizen.
      Jerry understands that there is a growing student debt crisis. He also knows that a 2016 poll conducted by the Progess Virginia Education Fund found  that about three-fourths of the residents of Virginia  support establishing a Borrower's Bill of Rights . And, an even larger percentage of Virginians (60%) believe that lawmakers should take action on legistaion to relieve students of their debts.
      Given the ugency of the state's student debt problem. It is unbelieveable that the Republican controlled Virginia House of Delegates recently killed nine bills that were proposed to deal with the needs of our district's and state's younger residents. And, they took those steps against the advice of one of their own Republican presidential candidates:
“Students should not be asked to pay more on the debt than they
can afford, and the debt should not be an albatross around their necks for the rest of their lives.”   
 -Presidential Candidate Donald Trump Speaking at a rally in Ohio October 2016  

      Jerry believes that the Virginia  General Assemby should pass three pieces of legislation to help students.eliminate their college debt.. First, the state should help students refinance their loans. That is a proposal which  a number of legislators have already been proposing and it is good for Virginian students. Second, the state should follow the advice of some legislators and bring back the Virginia Loan Authority to help regulate student  loan processes. Third, Jerry proposes that a speical program be established to help finance student loan debt.
       If elected , he will propose that a portion of state lottery funds be earmarked for student loan debt repayment. Additionally, he will also propose that the state renegotiate the loans for students.  And, then create a  student work progam  for students. More specifically, a program where students can provide tutorial servivces in community run  literacy progams. 

Our state educational motto can become:

                     " Take a Chance on Virginians " 
      These would be the best moves to make sure that this student debt crisis does not stop a whole generation of youth from becoming some of our most productive and civic minded citizens.   

Preschool and Afterschool Programs

      No child should ever feel like he/she does not have the same educational or nutritional support as other children. That is why Jerry believes that funding for preschool and after school programs must always be based on indicators of student needs in a community. And, he would strongly support legislation to provide additional funding for these programs in economically distressed school districts.  

Profile of a Virginia Graduate  Standards
      The Virginia Board of Education's Profile of a Virginia Graduate standards are a good attempt to determine the knowledge and competencies that a graduating high school should have achieved in order to be prepared for job opportunities in tomorrow’s economy and to be successful in work and in life. However, Jerry would like to see legislation that will give local school boards more discretion on deciding which of the critical standards should be given the greatest  emphasis in their schools. No student should ever be programmed  to be a good economic worker or good citizen.

Rural Gifted Student Program

      Jerry will strongly support funding for programs that both identify and support  gifted  and talented rural students. It is especially important that school administrators be given the proper funding to expand upon programs like the one called Promoting PLACE ( Place,Literacy,Achievement,Community,Engagement). Its goal is to increase the number of rural students in gifted programs, especially in high-poverty school districts. 

Lottery Funding
      There have been many complaints that state lottery funds are not being properly used for educational purposes. More specifically, the state lottery program was originally promoted as a means of providing "bonus " funding for local school programs. However, many educators have consistently argued that it has been used to pay for annual operating expenses instead of being used as an additional revenue source. This situation is a budgetary manuever that must be stopped. Jerry will fight to make sure that there is complete honesty in the distribution of state lottery funds. Lawmakers should not play political games with funds that are meant to be supplemental forms of educational revenue.

Funding for the Improvement of School Facilities

      There is always a need to improve

the quality of district's school facilities.
Jerry believes that we should always
support the improvement of all our
district's school facilites. Especially
those that are in economically stressed
communities. To do less would be
depriving our students with a quality
level childhood experience and education.                                             

Western Tidewater State University

      Jerry believes that the economy of the  21st century will  be driven by the most  talented and prepared citizens.  Therefore, if elected ,he will propose that Paul D. Camp Community college be renamed and elevated to the status of a state university. Primarily because it can become the educational hub for research and development relating to the adoption of revolutionary 21st century agricultural, textile, and wood based technologies. It's new name could be Western Tidewater State University. And it would be composed of a number of campuses that are located  throughout the legislative district. The Paul D. Camp main campus would be  in Franklin while  other campuses could be strategically located in the communities of  Smithfield, Suffolk, and Windsor.  It could literally become a renewable energy focused university.              
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