State Government

General Assembly 2015
8:14 am
Fri January 30, 2015

School Divisions Could Have Flexibility in Graduation Requirements

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."

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General Assembly 2015
7:59 am
Fri January 30, 2015

One Gun Control Bill Survives General Assembly Scrutiny

Virginia lawmakers have been mulling over a series of gun bills-and only one gun-control measure has survived a Senate Committee.  While the bill has lost some of its teeth, its sponsor says it nevertheless makes progress in the fight against domestic violence. 

Senator Barbara Favola's bill was originally defeated. But a Senate Committee reconsidered it and passed a watered-down version that was sent to the Finance panel.

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Conservation v. Development
4:58 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

State Stocks Up on Open Spaces

Credit Virginia Dept. of Land Conservation and Recreation

Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced the state will give $1.7 million to save 14 properties -- farms, forests, wildlife habitat and historic areas rather than allow them to be developed.  That adds 5,700 acres to Virginia’s conserved lands. 

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Education
8:08 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Grading Virginia's Schools - A Failing Idea?

Flickr User alamosbasement
Credit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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. 

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Common Core
7:50 am
Thu January 29, 2015

General Assembly Debates Common Core

Senator Janet Howell argues against the bill.

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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