The House Republican Classroom Success Agenda for the 2015 General Assembly has found broad bipartisan support in passing the House of Delegates. The Classroom Success agenda moves the Commonwealth closer to giving every Virginia student access to a quality education. It builds on successful efforts in recent years to recruit and reward excellent teachers and give students additional pathways to success.
Speaking about the proposals, House Education Committee Chairman Steve Landes (R-Augusta) said, “House Republicans put ‘Classroom Success’ education reforms at the front of our legislative agenda for 2015 because every child in Virginia deserves the opportunities afforded by a good education. Our proposals, including needed reforms to improve Virginia’s Standards of Learning testing and a raise for our hardworking teachers, have found broad bipartisan support. As Chairman of the House Education Committee I am grateful for the hard work and input from Republicans, Democrats and education leaders in the Commonwealth. These are the priorities and this is the bipartisan process that the people of Virginia expect from us.”
“These reforms build on our recent efforts to give teachers and students better tools to succeed in the classroom,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights), a retired teacher with more than 30 years of classroom experience. “The broad bipartisan support for our Classroom Success Agenda means we can continue to make common sense improvements in K-12 education in Virginia while also holding our school system accountable for getting results.”
“This year’s Classroom Success Agenda started by listening to teachers, parents, students, education leaders and the thoughtful recommendations of the SOL Innovation Committee,” said Tag Greason (R-Loudoun). “That collaborative effort led to good policy that will improve Virginia’s world-class schools and help us to better attract and retain excellent teachers.”
2015 General Assembly
Teacher Professional Development – The House will prioritize teacher professional development in its budget, including the state share of a teacher pay raise as part of our ongoing effort to support Virginia’s teachers. The House continues to work on better facilitating the sharing of best teaching practices across the commonwealth.
Accreditation Flexibility – PASSED 95-0 (HB 1674, Greason) – Reform the standards of accreditation to provide flexibility in how often schools are accredited. Today, every school must endure the lengthy accreditation process every year. Under this proposal, schools with a track record of success would be able to apply for a waiver allowing them to seek an alternative accreditation cycle of three or five years, depending on their past accreditation performance. This legislation is based on a recommendation of the Standards of Learning Innovation Committee.
School Report Cards – Referred to Committee on Appropriations (HB 1672, Greason) – Replace the current A-F system with a more comprehensive school report card. The school report card would give parents a more complete way to measure the success of local schools without being overly simplistic or unfairly stigmatizing local schools. The improved report card will focus on a wider range of metrics designed to give a better sense for how a school is doing.
Expedited Retake – PASSED 98-0 (HB 1490, Habeeb) – Streamlines the state’s Standards of Learning retake process for all students at all grade levels. Students who nearly pass a standardized test would be given an additional opportunity to take the test during the same school year, giving them an additional opportunity to succeed.
Interdisciplinary Assessments – PASSED 96-0 (HB 1615, Greason) – Recommend that the Board of Education and Department of Education consider the inclusion of interdisciplinary assessments as part of continued efforts to reform the Standards of Learning tests. This would allow teachers to use different subjects like science, math, reading and writing in one test. This would encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, rather than simple rote memorization in one subject.
Student privacy – PASSED 98-0 (HB 1307, Landes) – Enact additional safeguards to protect student privacy by prohibiting the collection of student social security numbers and by requiring the Department of Education to develop uniform policies related to the collection, storage and use of student’s personally-identifiable information.
Virtual Schools – PASSED 64-34 (HB 324, Dickie Bell) – Establishes the Virginia Virtual School and its governing board. The school is open to any Virginia student and will provide an educational program that meets the state’s Standards of Quality for grades K-12.
College Credit for AP Courses – PASSED 95-3 (HB 1336, Landes) – Requires the State Council of Higher Education to develop a standardized system for granting college credits to students who have successfully completed one or more Advanced Placement, Cambridge Advanced (A/AS), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) or International Baccalaureate courses.