Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe talks with Norfolk 17 member about furthering equality in schools

Virginia Politics

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As part of his plan for investing in education, candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe has announced a $2 billion plan which includes addressing modern-day segregation in schools.

McAuliffe is one of several candidates for governor. The others include current Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Senator Jennifer McClellan, former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and Del. Lee Carter.

On Friday afternoon, he hosted a virtual conversation with civil rights leader Dr. Patricia Turner, one of the Norfolk 17, who recounted what it was like when she helped integrate Norfolk Public Schools 61 years ago.

She recalled how one teacher would put on gloves to touch her papers.

“I had a box on his desk that I would put my papers in and soon as the paper hit the box he would put a great big red zero on it,” she said.

Turner holds no grudges and has spent decades working to further racial equality while working as a teacher.

During their meeting Friday, McAuliffe asked her, “How can we do a better job of making our schools more inclusive?”

“If you want something good, you pay for it,” she said, among other things.

Turner told McAuliffe that no good teacher will stay in Virginia for a dime when they can make a quarter somewhere else. As for students, she told him, “They come to school empty, both head and pocket.”

Turner said they need access to computers and technology beginning in preschool.

“It has nothing to do with the color of your skin. If we could take off the top layer we’d all be a bunch of red people walking around. Who would you hate then?” she said.

McAuliffe thanked Turner for being a trailblazer and for teaching. He then made her a promise.

“We are going to get that teacher pay raise up. We are going to get our students access to broadband. We are going to get our at-risk 3 and 4-year-olds, pre-K, we are going to get this done. I promise you that,” he said.

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