His thoughts — Republicans were right

Published 12:00 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

The damage to our students from school closures and remote learning during the COVID pandemic is worse than we realized.

The Department of Education released the Standards of Learning results from this past school year on Thursday, and they’re terrible.

The impact of months, or in some cases years, of remote learning continues to be felt by our students.

In mathematics, 66% of students overall passed, compared with 82% before the pandemic.

Gaps between pre-pandemic math performance and achievement in 2021-2022 were much wider among Blacks, Hispanics, economically disadvantaged students, English learners and students with disabilities.

Some 73% of students overall passed SOL and other state assessments in reading, 5 points below the pre-pandemic pass rate in 2018-2019.

Again, gaps between pre-pandemic performance and reading achievement in 2021-2022 were wider for Hispanic students and economically disadvantaged students.

A Virginia Department of Education analysis of statewide data shows a strong correlation between in-person instruction during 2020-2021 and higher achievement on the 2021-2022 SOLs.

For example, 69% of students who experienced in-person instruction for nearly all of 2020-2021, and 62% of students who experienced in-person instruction for most of 2020-2021 passed their 2021-2022 math tests, compared with 39% and 37% who experienced nearly all or mostly remote instruction, respectively.

It was evident to anyone paying attention that closing schools would put children behind. An unending Zoom meeting is no substitute for in person teaching.

The only reason students in some systems returned to class in person was a state law brought forward by Republicans.

Virtual schooling would have ended even earlier had it not been for Democratic opposition.

Republicans have and will continue to fight for high standards and high expectations in our schools. Our children deserve no less and I still believe if we demand excellence in education, we will get students who have an excellent education.

GOVERNOR’S UPDATE TO THE JOINT FINANCE COMMITTEE

On Friday, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced that Virginia’s tax collections are running nearly $2 billion ahead of expectations.

His administration will set aside $400 million in the 2023 proposed budget to provide additional tax relief to Virginians.

While the Biden Administration continues to cheer at $4 gallon gas prices, hard-working America sees what is coming. This Inflation Spending Bill will continue to skyrocket inflation and unchecked spending ultimately will lead to economic downturn.

But thanks to Republicans and Governor Younkin, Virginia is well positioned to provide additional tax relief, over and above the $4 billion approved in the 2022-2024 biennial budget.

This will not impact critical government functions or the Commonwealth’s AAA bond rating.

Our Governor understands the importance of giving you back your hard-earned tax money. I support Governor Youngkin and I appreciate all he does for everyday Virginians. I will continue to work with our Governor and be the conservative voice my constituents elected me to be in Richmond.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.