K-12

David Seidel/Radio IQ

Educators call it a slow-moving catastrophe.  Eighty percent of children are not reading at-grade-level by the end of third grade, according to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

But a community-wide effort in Roanoke to address the problem is showing results and getting national recognition.

A new report from the University of Virginia shows about ten percent of students in this state’s public schools are absent for three weeks or more each year, and in three large districts the rates were even higher. 

When Professor Luke Miller and his colleagues graphed the number of kids who were chronically absent from public schools in Richmond, Petersburg and Norfolk, they ended up with something resembling the letter U:

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According to a new poll from the Virginia Education Association, almost three quarters of Virginians say teachers in the state don’t make enough money. It looks like teachers will be getting a raise in this year’s budget...but the question is how much.

Virginia’s teachers make almost $7,000 below the the national average. And that’s making it hard for the state to attract, and keep, teachers in the classroom -- says Meg Gruber with the Education Association.

  If you don’t have kids you still have to pay the taxes that support public schools, just like everyone else. But Republicans in the state legislature are putting weight behind an educational measure that would change that. A proposed bill would allow parents who send their kids to private school or home-school to get some of their tax money back.

That money wouldn’t go straight into parents’ pockets, but into a savings account that could only be accessed for educational spending.

Lawmakers in Richmond this legislative session are hoping to minimize the risk of gun violence in Virginia's public schools.

One measure that made its way easily through committee this morning would actually allow school security officers who have worked in law enforcement before to carry a gun when working.

Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, a Republican from Northern Virginia, says individual school boards would have to sign off on the idea -- but he hopes they will.

"And I think those that do, could one day forestall a terrible tragedy,” said Lingamfelter.

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