All good things must come to an end. Welcome to the final week of Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series!

Each week throughout the election season, we’ve reached out to candidates all across the Commonwealth up for election to public office — an equal number of Democrats and Republicans; incumbents and challengers. We’ve asked one question per week about public policy pressing to you. Those who chose to respond had their answers shared on our website. (Please see a special statement from the editors about unresponsive candidates.)

The twelfth and final installment of our series will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of our public education system. Our candidates for Governor, U.S. Senator and Lt. Governor have already weighed in. Let’s see what our candidates for U.S. Congress have to say.

This week’s question: What is the greatest strength and greatest weakness of our public education system, and what will you do when elected to address that weakness?

David Galluch (R), Running for U.S. Congress, District 5

One can argue there is nothing more important to the future of our society than every child receiving a high-level education. Unfortunately, that is not happening in our country today.

Teachers by and large are the single greatest strength our educational system has. However, teachers are consistently underpaid and handcuffed in many instances which hinders their ability to reach students and truly educate. Unfortunately, we are also seeing some teachers abandon core subjects like math, science, English, and history to push an ideological agenda. Thankfully, those teachers represent the few, not the many who put in tireless hours to find success in a system that is far from perfect.

Public schools, which are failing our children in many areas, particularly in our cities, must be improved. However, public schools alone are not enough. I firmly believe parents should have the ability to choose a public, private, or charter school that best meets their child’s needs. This choice has gained even more importance due to the impact of Covid-19 where we have clearly seen the negative developmental and academic impacts that shutdowns had on students. Trapping students in public schools is not the answer if those schools are unable or unwilling to address serious curriculum, safety, and educational standards. While additional resources can be used to help them raise their performance, they do not guarantee it. Parents simply cannot afford to hope the one school their neighborhood is districted for improves.

Options provide opportunity. Options also provide competition. In this case, the monopoly that public schools seem to have on who and how our children are educated needs to be broken. Parents and students deserve the best and they deserve options.

Bottom line: our kids need help, period. We need reforms to our educational system. We need resources for fundamentals like behavioral and mental health. Communities, parents, educators, and our educational system need to work collaboratively to overcome this monumental challenge.

We cannot fail our kids. We must get them the education they deserve. As a Congressman, I will work so all students have access to a high-quality education, irrespective of where they live and what school they are zoned for.

David Galluch’s opponent, Mary Gay Scanlon, chose not to respond.

Broad + Liberty is a nonprofit media endeavor dedicated to sharing voices and stories that are shut out of other media outlets. @BroadAndLiberty

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