Chesterfield is well known for the high quality of its schools. People move there to raise their kids exactly for that reason. Home values stay high for that reason.
Politicians in Chesterfield talk about education before practically anything else. It’s hard to think of a policy that gets enacted in Chesterfield that doesn’t get viewed through the lens of “what would this do to the schools?”
Which is what makes a comment from Democrat Sheila Bynum-Coleman from February so shocking.
Writing on her Facebook page, Bynum-Coleman took the school system to task. Her post started with “Chesterfield County School system in my opinion is one of the most egregious public education system.”
Teachers are the backbone of our education system. They are often underappreciated by parents, make less money than other professions, but they do it because they love what they do.
But Bynum-Coleman didn’t stop there. She went further, ending her attack on the school system with a line that would shock any Chesterfield parent: “I don’t trust the School system or anyone in it.”
Bynum-Coleman directly attacks the hard working teachers who just try to help the next generation succeed.
While since deleted, such things aren’t typically said in Chesterfield, especially by someone seeking to represent the very district where the school system is located. To families raising their children in Chesterfield, schools matter more than anything. For a potential elected official to express such antagonism toward the schools is unprecedented.
Now the comment is featured in an ad by her opponent, Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox. Cox, a retired teacher, knows that the best way to win hearts and minds in Chesterfield is to build up the school system, not tear it down.
Cox has run on further rewarding teachers in Chesterfield and Colonial Heights by raising their salary to the national average.
How badly will this hurt Bynum-Coleman? Voters will render their verdict on November 5th.