On Tuesday, January 14th, House Republicans presented the K-12 Education Agenda for the 2014 legislative session. The main goals of the Agenda are to continue investing in teachers, reform the Standard of Learning Assessments, and to increase access to education by promoting “blended learning” and virtual schools.
“Virginia has some of the best schools and most devoted educators in the world,” noted Del. Steve Landes (R-Augusta, Chairman of the House Committee on Education). “But we live in a global, 21st century economy. If we are standing still, we are falling behind. Virginia must build on its success and continue to innovate and improve.”
House Republicans are eager to work with Governor Terry McAuliffe, Democratic colleagues in the House, and members of the Senate to improve Virginia’s education system. Republicans in the General Assembly are committed to invest in teachers and educators, both financially and professionally. This plan consists of implementing the Strategic Compensation program created last year, working to improve the Teach for America program, and working towards the development of Teacher Career Ladders so that teachers will not have to leave the classroom for better career opportunities.
Responding to the large amount of parents, teachers, and educators demanding change, House Bill 930 is aimed at reforming Virginia’s Standards of Learning assessments by reducing the number of tests from 34 to 26, as well as creating SOL “Revision Committees” to help foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Del. Greason has also emphasized the promotion of “blended learning,” an education model that would increase education access for Virginia students by way of promoting statewide virtual classrooms. With blended learning comes more flexibility, as students will have the opportunity to combine virtual classes with traditional classes to create a personalized education curriculum. This will be accomplished with the creation of the Virginia Virtual Board and the requirement that the Board of Education develop and publish criteria for online education providers.
House Republicans are dedicated and look forward to improving education this legislative session.