On the Issues: Education
Qasim Rashid believes a quality education is a human right. Qasim’s parents were teachers who instilled in him a deep sense of commitment to education, educators, schools, and public libraries. He and his wife Ayesha have two children in the Virginia public school system, so he observes first-hand the frustration and struggles of Virginian school children, teachers, and parents—as well as sees the growth opportunities.
As a human rights lawyer, Qasim has worked with non-profit organizations to improve education for children nationwide and worldwide—to build schools, to increase Internet access, and to close the existing achievement gap.
As Congressman, Qasim will bring the same commitment to our children in Virginia. Virginia’s education system has dedicated teachers and administrators, however we must provide them more support than we are giving currently. A strong public education system is the foundation to Virginia’s success, yet today:
- Virginia is America’s 9th wealthiest state, but we are 35th in spending per pupil. This means we are not adequately spending on our next generation.
- Children of color in general and white children from lower income backgrounds are too often ignored, provided substandard resources, and less funding. This means we are not equally spending on our children.
- Virginia suffers from roughly 1000 teacher vacancies unfilled due to the lack of funding for these positions. We commend the current administration for securing a 5% increase in teacher pay, but we must not stop here and instead continue to seek additional funding.
Qasim supports Universal Pre-K. Our children do not start out with the same advantages, this is a way to close the divide. Childcare is a huge barrier to many parents remaining in the workforce. According to the Economic Policy Institute Virginians spend an average of $10,867 a year on childcare for a four-year-old. Removing this cost burden not only allows parents to provide greater economic security for their children but also helps address the opportunity gap many children face.
Qasim believes that there are many paths to success after school aside from a standard four-year university. We need to do more to make students aware of, and prepared for, these other paths. This is why we need clean energy vocational training in all public high schools and community colleges.
Clean energy jobs are growing 17x faster than the U.S. economy. Many of the jobs within this field do not require a four-year university degree, and provide stable, well-paying work. Additionally, there are opportunities to advance in this field at the Bachelor, Masters, and PhD level for those who may wish to do so.
Qasim also supports federal financial assistance to states and students so that we can achieve a national goal of zero-debt education at all public universities and colleges in America.
As Congressman, Qasim is committed to ensuring every child in Virginia regardless of race, gender, or economic background has a fair, safe, and promising path to success.