A look at education issues around Virginia.

High School graduation rates appear to be on the rise across the country, but for one segment of the population, they’ve dropped dramatically. The pass rate for prison inmates taking the G-E-D plummeted after a new computer based test was introduced in 2014.

G-E-D stands for General Education Diploma. It’s a test people can take if they failed to get their high school degrees. Corrections facilities are facing new challenges in making the tests available to inmates, even as experts stress, there’s nothing better than that degree to keep people from returning to jail.

A number of studies suggest that young children who enter pre-kindergarten programs develop their learning skills more effectively than those who don't.

That's one reason why state lawmakers recently decided to examine and reform the Virginia Preschool Initiative.   One of the underlying issues is making sure that low-income children have access to—and take advantage of— those programs.

Some of the reasons why children don't enroll include lack of affordability, eligibility, and other challenges.

Grayson County Schools Face Financial Problems

Jun 5, 2015

Grayson County teachers thought, after last night's school board meeting, they wouldn't get a paycheck anytime soon. due to the school division's mountain financial problems.  But that might not be the case, now that the state Board of Education has stepped in.  Brian Funk is the editor of the Galax Gazette and says the story is changing nearly every minute.

Tonight's meeting starts at 6 at the Grayson County Courthouse.

The women of the troubled Sweet Briar College say the institution is capable of sustaining itself—and all it needs is a second chance. They're hoping that chance comes in the form of a ruling from the state's highest court to grant an injunction and allow the college to stay open while school administrators sort out legal and financial matters.

This week, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a bill allowing elementary and middle school kids to re-take Standards of Learning tests if they score a few points below what’s needed to pass.  McAuliffe has already signed legislation to eliminate five of the tests kids might have taken during their years in public school, and he says he’d like to cut more of them, while getting creativity back into the classroom.

Meanwhile, parents in Richmond have begun a protest of their own - asking that their kids be excused from SOL tests.