As I've shared at campaign events, community meetings, and in conversations with the people I meet in my daily trips to the 7-Eleven, I have three key areas of focus for my campaign and for this County: better schools, safe communities, and access for small and minority-owned businesses.
I'd like to spend some time talking about the first issue -- education, because it is a very complex area that is associated with a great deal of history and emotion. It is also one that is absolutely imperative that we get right -- our future literally depends on it.
It may surprise you to know that 80 percent of families in Prince George's County
send their children to our public schools. This is staggering. There may be a variety of reasons for this, and it is important that people have and exercise options. However, it is safe to say that for a great many of the families in our County, our public schools are not an option.
This situation has a ripple effect. Families who live here also pay taxes here, and their taxes help support the school system. If they are also paying private school tuition, they are basically paying twice to educate their children, using resources that could be put to use in other ways -- to build a business, for retirement, for higher education, or simply to ensure they have a safety net for unexpected occurrences.
For the families who do choose to place their children in our public schools, this has implications for them as well. There is an advantage to having more parents involved with the schools, providing support for the teachers and an array of skills that can benefit the students. In our county, this advantage is lost. With only a small percentage directly involved with our schools, as a community we have also lost an important connection to one of the very pillars of our community.
We need to reverse this trend, and inspire trust and confidence in the Prince George's County Public schools again. However, this is not going to happen overnight. It will take time, attention, understanding, commitment and resources. Fortunately -- we do have the resources. For the rest, we need you -- 100 percent. Our children are counting on us.
We will talk about this issue again, and again. See you at the 7-Eleven,