E.W. Jackson would push constitutional amendment to help home schoolers

July 18, 2013

Republican lieutenant gubernatorial candidate E.W. Jackson says that if elected, he would push for a constitutional amendment supporting equal resources for home schoolers.

The Chesapeake minister made his remarks Thursday on radio station WINA during “The Schilling Show.” Jackson was asked about how to “break down” the “barrier” between government schools and home schools.

“It’s going to take a constitutional amendment,” Jackson said. “I promise people I will work for that. We’ve got to make sure that a home-schooling family is like any other family that decides to send their children to a private school, a Christian school, whatever it is. That that home-schooling family gets the resources that would otherwise be spent in a government school.”

The race for lieutenant governor this year is particularly important in Virginia, where the winner would also preside over an evenly divided state Senate that often votes along partisan lines. Jackson won the GOP nomination for the state’s second-highest office in May, beating six contenders on a platform championing the Constitution and personal freedom.

He faces Democratic state Sen. Ralph S. Northam of Norfolk in November. Asked about Jackson’s home-schooling proposal, Northam spokesman Grant Herring called it “another example of E.W. Jackson trying to impose his dangerous agenda on to the Commonwealth.”

“Jackson’s proposed Constitutional mandate would make drastic cuts to already underfunded schools while Ralph Northam is committed to Virginia’s parents, students, and teachers,” Herring said in a statement.

Legislation regarding home-schooled students has been debated in recent years in the General Assembly, including a high-profile bill named for New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow that would have allowed home schoolers to play sports at their local high schools. That bill has failed in the Virginia Senate for the past two years.

In the WINA interview, Jackson also said that indoctrination, not education, is taking place in many public schools, though he added that there are “many fine teachers out there,” including his wife, who teaches public school in Newport News.

“But there’s a system, frankly, that is moving further and further away from the classic values of our country,” Jackson said. “And we’ve got to give the people the opportunity . . . if that’s the kind of education you want for your child, okay, but I don’t, so I’m going to make a different choice. I think that’s what freedom is all about. That’s what liberty is all about.”

Jackson frequently mentions freedom and liberty on the campaign trail — his campaign motto is “Let Liberty Light the Way” — but he has been short on specifics about what he would do if elected lieutenant governor.

State Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), candidate for attorney general and Jackson’s running mate, declined comment through his spokesman, Paul Logan, who said the candidate did not know the specifics of the proposal.

Asked about Jackson’s proposal, Anna Nix, spokesman for GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli, said: “Ken has his own education policy, which does not address funding for home schoolers. Ken’s plan does include school choice options such as charter schools for parents with children who are enrolled in a failing school system.”

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