The Virginia General Assembly Agrees on Education Reforms

Mar 14, 2014

It appears that while state lawmakers have lots of work to do in hashing out a compromise over Medicaid, they HAVE made some progress with education reforms that relate to the budget.  The General Assembly revised the Standards of Learning assessments, charter school enrollment policy, and the process to measure schools using an A through F grading system.

The bills reduce the number of SOL tests to 17 between grades three through eight, and require only reading and math SOL tests for third grade. They also create a new panel to review the SOLs and assessments. The A-F grading system to assess school performance wasn't widely accepted when it passed last year, and now a bill sponsored by Delegate Steve Landes delays its implementation by two years.

His bill also adds criteria to calculate performance, such as school staff experience and qualifications.  And it directs the Board of Education to form a preliminary plan for grading school systems and to solicit public comment. Another bill paves the way for students and their siblings to transition to a public charter school that’s been converted from their existing school—by giving them enrollment priority over the open enrollment lottery.