August 23, 2005
As the election gets closer--endorsements are increasingly important. The Virginia Education Association (VEA) handed out it's report card and it's clear who passed and who didn't.
The VEA used four standards of governing, giving Democrat Tim Kaine Straight A's, while failing Republican Jerry Kilgore in three of the four categories all of which dealt with money.
"Money is there. It's a matter of prioritizing and making it a priority to provide professional salaries to attract and retrain quality teachers in the Commonwealth," said Princess Moss of the Virginia Education Association.
Both candidates have their own educational platforms with different strategies.
"The Kilgore plan offers options--the tax credits for example," said Matt Smyth of UVa Center for Politics. "The Kaine platform puts a little bit more confidence or faith in the public school system and relies on the government to provide for a comprehensive school system."
The VEA generally support democratic candidates, but this year they have endorsed 13 republicans and 23 democrats. But just how important their endorsement is depends on the voter.
"What it boils down to is how strongly people feel about the public school system, how confident they feel about the state government to take care of educating their kids," said Smyth.
Education is always one of the top 5 key issues for voters. In Virginian it has heavy competition from transportation and taxes.
VEA officials spoke highly of independent Candidate Russ Potts--but officially endorsed Kaine.