It was “PBI Day” for the Senate Health and Education Committee
March 3, 2022
March 3, 2022
Today, the Senate Health and Education Committee voted 8-7 to Pass-by-Indefinitely, HB511, sponsored by Delegate Marie March. The bill would have prohibited public schools from joining an organization governing interscholastic programs that do not deem eligible for participation a student who receives home instruction. There are two primary reasons the Virginia Education Association opposes HB511. First, the VEA believes that these types of rules should not be legislated or codified into state law. The Virginia High School League governs and establishes eligibility criteria for student participation and the VEA continues to advocate and support that these decisions stay under the authority of the VHSL. Secondly, we agree with the current student eligibility rule established by the VHSL, that a student shall be a regular bonafide student in good standing of the school which he/she represents. Home school students under VHSL rules are not eligible because they fail to meet the requirements of this rule. A “regular” student, under this definition, is a full-time student who is in regular attendance and is carrying a schedule of subjects which, if successfully completed, will render him/her scholastically eligible for League participation the ensuing semester. Shane Riddle, VEA Director of Government Relations was featured on FOX 5 DC News to explain the VEA’s opposition to the bill. Watch the news coverage, HERE.
The Senate Health and Education Committee did not waste any time killing a bill sponsored by Delegate Dave LaRock (R- Hamilton) by a vote of 9-6. HB787, would have banned the teaching of so-called “divisive concepts” in Virginia public schools. This measure sought to legislate into law Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order 1, which seeks to ban Critical Race Theory, otherwise known as CRT. An identical bill to LaRock’s, SB570, sponsored by Delegate Jennifer Kiggins (R- Virginia Beach), also died in committee by a vote of 9-4. Cheers to the members of the Senate Health and Education committee for standing up to oppose these bills.
The motive behind these bills is clear: In addition to continuing to undermine our children’s public education and public schools, now certain politicians are trying to keep teachers from teaching students about our full history and shared stories of confronting injustice to build a more perfect union.
This manufactured outrage depicted in HB787 and SB570 is designed for one purpose – to divide our communities along racial lines for political purposes. We have seen this play out recently with other propaganda being perpetrated by Governor Youngkin’s “Snitch Line” and Executive Order 1. These draconian actions have resulted in educators being targeted, harassed, and intimidated simply for doing their jobs and teaching our full history.
We want all our students to have a well-rounded education that imparts honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and courage to do what’s right.
A recent poll conducted by the Wason Center found that Virginians support teaching how racism continues to impact American society (63% to 33%) and oppose a ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools (57% to 35%).
This shows that parents trust their teachers to make school and learning decisions to make sure students can thrive in the future. To prepare children for the future, we need to teach them both the good and the bad of our history so that they better understand the lives, cultures, and experiences of different people.
We need to teach students both the good and the bad of our history so that they better understand the lives, cultures, and experiences of different people. We must continue to tell the honest and accurate truth about our country’s past and present – without censoring unflattering elements – in order to prepare our kids for a better future.
Educators must continue to ensure their students learn the honest and accurate history of our country so that they have the skills needed to better understand problems in our society and develop collective solutions to those problems.
A bill sponsored by Delegate Amanda Batten (R) to only permit and not require cultural competency training of teachers failed to pass the Senate Health and Education Committee by a vote of 9-6. Under current law, educators are required to complete cultural competency training. The VEA supports this required training for all current and pre-service educators. This knowledge helps to understand student behavior as well as their ways of doing things. This knowledge can also be used to help students link new learning to prior knowledge and experiences. The VEA defines cultural competence as the ability to successfully teach students who come from cultures other than our own and that cultural competence involves interpersonal awareness, cultural knowledge, and a skill set that together promotes impactful cross-cultural teaching.
Today, the Senate Health and Education voted to conform Delegate Davis’ Lab Schools Bill, HB346, to Senate Bill 598, sponsored by Sen. Todd Pillion. SB598, in its current posture,
The VEA moved to a support position on SB598 after major changes were made to the bill that improve existing law around the establishment of college laboratory schools. The bill in its current posture will provide students in the Commonwealth with more innovative career pathways and learning opportunities, while giving preference to underserved communities, retaining the ADM to local school divisions, and expanding collaboration between local school divisions and colleges and universities of higher education. SB598 received overwhelming support in the Senate and is now scheduled for a hearing in the House Education Committee on Monday of next week.