Education

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After a very spirited debate in the state Senate, charter school proponents win a major victory. Senators passed a resolution to amend the state constitution to give the Board of Education authority to establish charter schools in Virginia. 

Bill supporters argue that Virginia has only seven charter schools, but a far greater number of jurisdictions need more options for students with substandard public schools. Senator Tom Garrett agrees that socio-economic status should not determine a child's quality of education.

In Richmond, members of the General Assembly are moving forward with the plan to change high school graduation requirements. The bill is part of a larger effort to reduce the influence of standardized tests.

The House Education Committee is moving forward with a bill that would give local school divisions more flexibility in how they determine graduation requirements. The idea is to let administrators ditch standardized tests in favor of other assessments, like a science project or a research essay.

"I don't think it undermines the accountability."

Virginia Commonwealth University says it will no longer require the SAT test for applicants who have a grade point average of 3.3 or higher.  Vice Provost Luke Schultheis  says the test appeared to be biased in favor of students whose parents had attended college, while those who were the first generation of a family to apply did worse.

Students who are first generation, on average, would have a 70-point lower score than students who were not first generation with the same GPA

Grading Virginia's Schools - A Failing Idea?

Jan 29, 2015
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In Virginia, lawmakers are taking action to REPEAL a system of assigning every school in the commonwealth with a letter grade.  

Is your neighborhood elementary school an A school? Or would it earn a C? Parents may never know because lawmakers are moving forward with an effort to spike a system that would have issued a grade to each school. It's an idea that dates back two years ago, when the General Assembly passed the original effort. Then last year they delayed it. Now the House Education Committee is moving forward with an effort to kill it. 

The Virginia Senate has postponed a final vote on legislation that would prohibit the state from adopting the national Common Core standards for public education without prior approval of the General Assembly.  The standards have been widely adopted by states but have come under fire—in part, for their mandatory, one-size-fits-all approach.  

Bill supporters argued that it doesn’t stop the state from adopting Common Core, but merely requires the input of lawmakers.  Senator Tom Garrett said under the state SOLs, student achievement is already among the best in the nation. 

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