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Letter: Cuccinelli: Real Solutions to Real Problems

To the Editor:

Two of my main concerns with the welfare of Virginia citizens are well addressed in Cuccinelli's plans for the future: education and mental health care.

Education is a hot topic with many people especially in educationally rich Fairfax County. We've made many strides in education for the future, but more can still be done. Cuccinelli aptly outlines areas where we're weak, statewide. Planning for future needs and student welfare in a digital age is also crucial. His plan includes enhanced educational and career choices for students, including:

  • raising the profile and importance of Career and Technical Education (CTE)

  • doubling the number of qualified teachers in CTE areas

  • creating a K-12 engineering endorsements of H.S. teachers with incentives

  • expanding virtual classrooms so successful teachers can share online

  • encouraging flexibility in implementation of curriculum in individual schools

  • providing opportunity for parents to enroll students in the public schools of their choice

  • and more http://www.cuccinelli.com/apples/

The educational system needs to heed statistics: keep more kids in school, upgrade their learning options, and prepare them better for the future, be it for the workplace or further education.

Mental health is an acknowledged medical and societal issue that isn't getting the attention it deserves. Cuccinelli reports.

“Between 70-85 percent of primary care doctor visits have a significant psychological or behavioral component to the diagnosis. Patients with mental health conditions are more commonly seen in primary care facilities than other facilities. Anxiety and depression are among the top three diagnoses, after hypertension and diabetes.”

Yet our healthcare system is ill-prepared to meeting these needs for both adults and children, and Cuccinelli addresses ways in which we can remedy this:

  • increase the number of community mental health providers

  • provide incentives in the higher education system for people pursuing a degree in a mental health profession

  • forge strong public-private partnerships that utilize local support organizations

  • look for some of the root causes or stressors that can affect families with young children

  • and much more http://www.cuccinelli.com/issues/mental-health-plan/

Where does McAuliffe stand on these issues? Spending more money at the problems seems to be his main cure, and extending government programs. There was no discussion of the problem of mental health care – yet anyone who has sought help in this area can attest to the problems in finding appropriate and affordable solutions. His educational ideas reinforce the status quo without challenging it. Do we really want to throw more money at a problem without questioning the investment potential?

I want intelligent changes made in these areas, and thoughtful, honest leadership for the future of Virginia, and my family.

Valerie Waddelove

Vienna