SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES SOQ AND SOL BILLS; BILL TO MANDATE RETURN TO IN-PERSON REVIVED
January 28, 2021
January 28, 2021
Today the Senate Committee on Education and Health gave the go-ahead to two VEA Priority Bills. SB 1257, The School Equity and Staffing Act, passed the committee by a vote of 7-5-1. SB 1401, a bill that would reduce the total number and type of required assessments to the federal minimum requirements, passed the committee by a vote of 10-5.
SB 1257, the School Equity and Staffing Act, sponsored by Delegate Lachresce Aird, would:
In late 2019 and again in the fall of 2020, the Virginia Board of Education issued a set of Standards of Quality (SOQs) for public schools, which, if funded, would go far to increase educational opportunity for Virginia’s children. It is now up to the General Assembly to adopt these SOQs by passing the School Equity and Staffing Act and fully funding it.
We must prioritize this investment for the sake of our students and communities. Students have the right to a high-quality education. Underinvesting in students today will have damaging implications for their future. We call on the 2021 General Assembly members to find the courage and commitment to support the School Equity and Staffing Act.
Here is the vote count on SB 1257:
YEAS–Barker, Dunnavant, Hashmi, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Saslaw–7.
NAYS–Cosgrove, Newman, Peake, Pillion, Suetterlein–5.
SB 1401, sponsored by Senator Todd Pillion, would pivot away from statewide high-stakes summative assessments; SB 1401 reduces the total number and type of required Standards of Learning assessments to only the minimum requirements established by the federal ESEA Act of 1965, as amended.
We believe the outcomes of passing SB 1401 will provide an opportunity for the state and local school division to pursue and shift to more innovative assessment and accountability systems that include both academic and nonacademic indicators and focus on well-rounded, competency-based assessments that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of subject area content and critical thinking skills.
Together, we must intercede to prevent further widening of opportunity gaps at a time when so many of our students are already swimming against a current that unfairly denies them the high-quality, individualized education they deserve.
Here is the vote count on SB 1401:
YEAS–Lucas, Saslaw, Howell, Locke, Lewis, Suetterlein, Peake, Edwards, Hashmi, Pillion–10.
NAYS–Newman, Barker, Petersen, Cosgrove, Dunnavant–5.
SB 1303, sponsored by Senator Dunnavant, was revived and reported out of the Senate Education and Health Committee by a thin margin of 8 to 7. SB 1303 is now on its way to the Senate floor. This measure would force every school division in Virginia to offer in-person instruction to every student, based on the student’s parent or guardian’s preference.
This is a terrible idea: Our school divisions have made their pandemic teaching arrangements very carefully, based on local health officials and communities’ input. They should not now be forced to change their approach by an unnecessary and ill-advised state mandate.
Here is the vote count on SB 1303:
YEAS–Newman, Petersen, Cosgrove, Lewis, Dunnavant, Suetterlein, Peake, Pillion–8.
NAYS–Lucas, Saslaw, Howell, Locke, Barker, Edwards, Hashmi–7.
Let your Senator know that you want them to strongly OPPOSE SB 1303! TAKE ACTION HERE.