Senate Committee Ignores the Importance of Registered Nurses in Schools
February 18, 2021
February 18, 2021
After a relatively heated debate and surprising turn, the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted to scrap a measure, HB2305, sponsored by Delegate Roslyn Tyler, to require the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) to issue guidance on the governance of academic year Governor’s Schools, including communication and outreach practices, admissions policies, and guidelines on diversity, equity, and inclusion training. The bill would have specifically required such guidance to focus on the importance of increasing access to Governor’s Schools for historically underserved students and to include best practices on three primary items:
The bill would have further required the Board of Education, in developing such guidance, to collaborate with relevant stakeholders representing the geographical areas served by the Regional Governor’s Schools, including local school boards representing the geographical areas served by the Regional Governor’s Schools, Regional Governor’s School boards, and Governor’s School directors.
During the debate on HB2305, a heated exchange pursued among certain members of the committee. At one point, Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, representing portions of Henrico and Hanover counties, suggested that a “solution” to fix the problem…is to establish “charter schools.” Suggesting that “charter schools” are the answer to the problem of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I would say this is very disingenuous of the politician. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a medical doctor to conclude that most charter schools, or private organizations that run charter schools, have been a dismal failure in addressing inequities in our education system and have mostly further segregated school communities. National, state, and local data indicate that the charter industry has a segregation problem in the US and it is not simply explained away by locality or demography. Prior research using national data has found charter schools are the most segregated of the nation’s schools, especially for Black and Latinx (We use Latinx as an attempt to decolonize the Spanish language and neutralize gender) students.
A motion was made by Senator Richard Saslaw to “Pass By the Bill Indefinitely” (PBI). The bill was indefinitely deferred by a vote of 9-6. (YEAS–Cosgrove, Dunnavant, Edwards, Lewis, Newman, Peake, Petersen, Saslaw, Suetterlein. NAYS–Barker, Hashmi, Howell, Locke, Lucas, Pillion) Here is the video of the debate and vote on HB2305.
SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES ABUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENTS BILL
HB 2176, introduced by, Delegate Luke Torian, was favorably reported from the Senate Committee on Education and Health. The measure defines, for the purposes of mandatory school board policies relating to abusive work environments, the terms “abusive conduct,” “abusive work environment,” “physical harm,” and “psychological harm.” The bill further clarifies that the requirement to adopt such policies shall not be construed to limit a school board’s authority to adopt policies to prohibit any other type of workplace conduct as the school board deems necessary. Watch the debate and vote below.
SENATE COMMITTEE IGNORES THE IMPORTANCE OF REGISTERED NURSES IN SCHOOLS
The Senate Committee on Education and Health ignored the importance of Registered Nurses in schools, by failing to report, HB 1736, introduced by Delegate Dawn Adams. The measure would have simply prohibited any individual who provides nursing services in a public elementary or secondary school as a school board employee or through a contract with the local health department from using the title of school nurse unless such individual is a registered nurse who possesses an active license to practice in the Commonwealth. Here is the debate and vote on HB1736.