VEA Educator Action Week in Full Swing; Committee Recaps and Schedules
January 26, 2022
January 26, 2022
VEA’s Strong Schools, Strong Communities Educator Week of Action kicked off on Monday with a Red for Ed Rally featuring top leaders from the VEA, NEA, and local associations. VEA President Dr. James Fedderman started off the Rally with a passionate plea to participants to stand strong against attacks on teachers, students, and our communities. Dr. Fedderman was joined by NEA Vice President, Princess Moss; NEA Executive Director, Kim Anderson; VEA Vice-President, Carol Bauer, VEA Executive Director, Dr. Brenda Pike; NEA Director, Charlotte Hayer; and Fairfax Education Association President-Elect, Leslie Houston. Hear all the speeches HERE.
Today, the House Education Committee approved bills to temporarily extend certain teacher licenses, allow students excused absences to attend 4-H educational programs and activities, establish the Virginia Diverse Educator School, reduce SOL testing in certain grades and subjects. See all bill summaries and VEA bill positions below.
HB 433, sponsored by Delegate David Bulova was reported from the committee by a vote 21-0. This bill would reduce the number of SOL assessments that are not required under federal law by requiring the Virginia Studies and Civics and Economics assessments to be performance-based and to measure the test taker’s ability to apply the skills and knowledge learned in the class. The foregoing provisions of the bill have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2023. The bill also requires the Department of Education, to develop a task bank for performance-based assessments that are built using vetted tasks that have been developed by practitioners and align with the Department’s Virginia Quality Criteria Review Tool for Performance Assessments.
HB 128, sponsored by Delegate Glen Davis was reported from the committee by a vote of 22-0. The VEA supports HB 128. This bill establishes the Virginia Diverse Educator Scholarship Fund and Program, to be administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, for the purpose of annually providing to each Historically Black College or University in the Commonwealth for each such institution to annually provide renewable scholarships on a competitive basis to two students who (i) attended a public elementary or secondary school in the Commonwealth in which at least 75 percent of the enrolled students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch or are members of families whose income is below the federal poverty guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; (ii) are accepted to or enrolled in such institution’s education preparation program; and (iii) are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant to attend such institution.
HB 236, sponsored by Delegate Orrock was reported from the committee by a vote of 20-0. The VEA supports HB 236. This bill would permit the Board of Education to grant a two-year extension of the license of any individual licensed by the Board of Education pursuant to its statutory authority whose license expires on June 30, 2022, in order to provide the individual with sufficient additional time to complete the requirements for licensure renewal.
HB294, sponsored by Delegate Nick Freitas was Passed By for the day. The VEA opposes HB294. This bill is an attempt to open the door to private school vouchers by first providing “eligible students in need of a safer school environment” scholarships to cover the expenses associated with attending another public school within or outside of the students’ school division of residence and (ii) there are no family income restrictions on scholarships for eligible students in need of a safer school environment. There are no income restrictions and there was a question of whether or not this could actually be implemented on the local school division level.
HB363, sponsored by Delegate Nick Freitas was continued to the 2023 Session of the Virginia General Assembly by a voice vote of the committee. The VEA opposed HB 363. This bill would prohibit school board employees who are not required to hold a valid license issued by the Board of Education and public school teachers from being dismissed based on a last-hired, first-fired dismissal policy or any other similar policy that mandates that, when considering more than one such employee for dismissal, the seniority of each such employee shall be the sole determinative factor in the dismissal decision. The bill also requires the Board of Education, the House Committee on Education, and the Senate Committee on Education and Health, in consultation with local school boards, to study and make recommendations to the General Assembly no later than November 1, 2022, regarding effective, alternative ways in which the performance of teachers may be evaluated for the purpose of awarding or rescinding continuing contract status.
HB246, sponsored by Delegate Terry Kilgore was reported from the committee by a vote of 20-0. The VEA supports HB246. The bill provides that students who miss a partial or full day of school while participating in 4-H educational programs and activities shall not be counted as absent for the purposes of calculating average daily membership and shall receive course credit in the same manner as they would for a school field trip.
The Senate Education and Health Committee will meet tomorrow. If you would like to view the committee, please go here to sign up. VEA has positions on the following bills below.
S.B. 156 – VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Hashmi
Public schools; English language learners. Requires state funding to be provided to support new division-wide ratios of English learner students in average daily membership to full-time equivalent teaching positions, as follows: (i) for each English language learner identified as proficiency level one, one position per 25 students; (ii) for each English language learner identified as proficiency level two, one position per 30 students; (iii) for each English language learner identified as proficiency level three, one position per 40 students; and (iv) for all other English language learners, one position per 50 students.
S.B. 157 – VEA STRONGLY SUPPORTS Patron: Hashmi
Competitive compensation for certain positions in public elementary and secondary schools. The bill requires state funding to be provided pursuant to the general appropriation act in a sum sufficient to fund a five percent annual pay increase for each such position, effective from the 2023-2024 school year through the 2027-2028 school year, provided that such five percent annual pay increase (i) is subject to a local matching requirement in accordance with each local school board’s composite index of local ability-to-pay and (ii) shall be adjusted annually as necessary to account for rebenchmarking and to yield a rate of compensation percentage increase for all Standards of Quality-funded positions that is pegged to providing a competitive average teacher salary in the Commonwealth. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2023.
S.B. 159 – VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Hashmi
Public institutions of higher education; debt collection; transcripts and diplomas. Prohibits public institutions of higher education from (i) refusing to provide a transcript or diploma for a current or former student on the grounds that the student owes a debt; (ii) conditioning the provision of a transcript or diploma for a current or former student on the payment of a debt, other than a fee charged to provide the transcript or diploma; (iii) charging a higher fee to a current or former student for obtaining a transcript or diploma, or providing less favorable treatment of a transcript or diploma request because a current or former student owes a debt; or (iv) using transcript or diploma issuance as a tool for debt collection.
S.B. 239 – VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Hashmi
STEM+C; Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board. Adds science, technology, engineering, mathematics and computing (STEM+C), which includes real-world, interdisciplinary, and computational instruction and preparation of students in STEM+C, to the list of topics that shall be included in the Standards of Learning for the Commonwealth. The bill also directs the Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board to develop and submit to the Board of Education (i) a rubric that shall be used by the Board of Education in setting out what factors permit a school to be defined as a STEM school and (ii) recommendations for the Board to create a measurement for quality of STEM programming in general education instruction. The bill also directs the Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board to draft and report to the Department of Education proposed common language and terminology that better defines the basic literacies employed in STEM+C as methodological approaches to solving universal human challenges and, as essential, generalizable and transferable literacy toward the application of skills and content needed to solve those challenges. The bill also directs the Department of Education, based on such proposed language and terminology and no later than December 1, 2022, to recommend finalized language and terminology to the Board of Education.
S.B. 261 – VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Hashmi
Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board; comprehensive review of labor statistics categories; report. Directs the Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Advisory Board (the Board) to perform a comprehensive review of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categories within the standard occupational classification system and assess deficit areas that do not capture Virginia’s existing STEM+C (Computing) workforce profile for the purpose of better aligning K-12 and higher education priorities. The Board shall report its findings to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority Office of Education and Labor Market Alignment and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Communications, Technology and Innovation and the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology no later than October 1, 2022.
S.B. 275 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: DeSteph
Public school libraries; printed and audiovisual materials; selection, evaluation, checkout, and removal procedures. Requires each local school board to adopt policies that address the selection and evaluation of all printed and audiovisual materials purchased by, donated to, or otherwise made available to the school division that will be available to students in school libraries and requires such policies to contain clear procedures for (i) parental involvement in and a reasonable opportunity for public comment before the selection and evaluation of printed and audiovisual materials that will be available to students in school libraries; (ii) mandatory prior written parental consent before a student is permitted to check out from the school library any such printed or audiovisual materials that could be considered grooming video or materials, as that term is defined in relevant law; and (iii) the removal from the school library of any such printed or audiovisual materials that could be considered grooming video or materials, as that term is defined in relevant law.
S.B. 596-VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Pillion
School attendance; 4-H educational programs and activities. Provides that students who miss a partial or full day of school while participating in 4-H educational programs and activities shall not be counted as absent for the purposes of calculating average daily membership and shall receive course credit in the same manner as they would for a school field trip. The bill directs each local school board to develop policies and procedures for students to make up missed work and may determine the maximum number of school days per academic year that a student may spend participating in 4-H educational programs and activities to not be counted absent.
S.B. 709-VEA STRONGLY OPPOSES Patron: DeSteph
Education improvement scholarships tax credits; sunset. Removes the sunset of taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2028, for the tax credit for donations to certain scholarship foundations and removes the sunset for changes to the definition of an eligible student with a disability and certain income guidelines that were set to expire beginning with taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2024.
The Senate Education Subcommittee will meet upon adjournment of the full Senate and will take up the following bills. VEA positions are listed below with each bill.
S.B. 20 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: Hackworth
Treatment of transgender students; model policies. Eliminates the requirement that each school board adopt policies that are consistent with the model policies developed by the Department of Education concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools.
S.B. 178 – VEA STRONGLY OPPOSES Patron: Peake
Public school teachers; probationary term of service, grounds for dismissal, and dismissal hearings. Permits each school board to extend for up to two additional years the three-year probationary term of service that is required for each teacher in the school division before the issuance of a continuing contract and prohibits each school board from reemploying a teacher whose performance evaluation during such probationary period is not satisfactory. The bill provides that, for the purpose of the dismissal of a teacher for cause, the term “incompetency” may be construed to include consistent failure to meet the endorsement requirements for the position or one or more unsatisfactory performance evaluations. The bill also eliminates the option for a school board to conduct a teacher dismissal hearing before a three-member fact-finding panel, requires each such hearing to be set no later than 15 days after the request for the hearing, and reduces from 10 days to five days the minimum period of advance written notice to the teacher of the time and place of such hearing.
S.B. 430-VEA OPPOSES Patron: Dunnavant
Department of Education; assessing individual student growth. Requires the Department of Education to create or request proposals for a system for value-added modeling to assess growth of students in public schools. The bill requires each school board in the Commonwealth to, upon the creation of such system, implement the system and make reports made by the system available to parents or guardians for their child’s report and the Department.
S.B. 431-VEA OPPOSES Patron: Dunnavant
Board of Education; COVID-19; test-to-stay guidelines. Requires the Board of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Health, to (i) recommend as best practice the shortest duration of quarantine possible, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for students and employees at public schools who contract COVID-19 and (ii) develop test-to-stay guidelines for such schools and recommend such guidelines to schools for use as an alternative to quarantine for students and employees who contract COVID-19. The bill also provides that all guidelines established pursuant to the bill shall be immediately distributed to local school boards and shall reflect the most updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit the amount of time out of the classroom to be as short as possible, including no quarantine, as recommended for asymptomatic individuals who have been fully vaccinated either within six months or have a boosted vaccination status. The bill contains an emergency clause.
S.B. 570 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: Kiggans
Public elementary and secondary schools; curricula and instruction including inherently divisive concepts prohibited. Requires each public elementary or secondary school principal to ensure that no curriculum utilized or instruction delivered in the school includes inherently divisive concepts, as that term is defined in the bill, regardless of whether such curriculum or instruction is provided by a school board employee or any other individual or entity.
S.B. 598 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: Pillion
College partnership laboratory schools; application and establishment. Permits any public institution of higher education, private institution of higher education, or private business to apply to the Board of Education (the Board) to establish a college partnership laboratory school as a new school or through the conversion of all or part of an existing school. Under current law, only public and private institutions of higher education that operate approved teacher education programs are permitted to apply to the Board to establish such a school and no explicit provision is made for the conversion of an existing school. The bill requires the Board, in reviewing such applications, to give substantial preference to any application from a historically black college or university and any application to establish a college partnership laboratory school in an underserved community, which the bill defines as a geographical area that is served by public schools in which a high percentage of students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch, as determined by the Board.
S.B. 600 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: Pillion
School safety audits; law-enforcement officers. Requires each local school board to require its schools to fully collaborate with the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality or his designee when conducting required school safety audits. Under current law, the division superintendent is required to make the results of such audits available to the chief law-enforcement officer upon request, and his approval is not needed. The bill also requires that the completed walk-through checklist using the standardized checklist provided by the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety be made available to the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality or his designee. Current law requires that the completed walk-through checklist be made available to the chief law-enforcement officer or his designee upon request.
S.B. 656 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: Dunnavant
Board of Education; policy on sexually explicit instructional material. Requires the Board of Education to establish, and each local school board to comply with, a policy to require each public elementary or secondary school to (i) notify the parent of any student whose teacher reasonably expects to provide instructional material that includes sexually explicit content, (ii) permit the parent of any student to review instructional material that includes sexually explicit content upon request, and (iii) provide, as an alternative to instructional material and related academic activities that include sexually explicit content, nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent so requests.
S.B. 724 – VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Pillion
School boards; broadband; annual report. Requires each school board to submit an annual report to the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development that lists each student’s 9-1-1 address that does not have broadband service, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, to the home beginning in the fall of 2022 through the 2025 school year.
S.B. 737-VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Boysko
Early childhood care and education entities; administration of epinephrine. Requires the Board of Education to amend its regulations to require each early childhood care and education entity to implement policies for the possession and administration of epinephrine in every such entity, to be administered by any nurse at the entity, employee at the entity, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of epinephrine to any child believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction. The bill mandates that such policies shall require that at least one school nurse, employee at the entity, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of epinephrine has the means to access at all times during regular facility hours any such epinephrine that is stored in a locked or otherwise generally inaccessible container or area. This bill shall be known as Elijah’s Law.
S.B. 738 – VEA SUPPORTS Patron: Morrissey
Department of Education; State Council of Higher Education for Virginia; instruction concerning post-graduate opportunities for high school students. Requires the Department of Education to collect and distribute to public schools and publicly post on its website information that assists high school students in making more informed decisions about their futures after graduating from high school and in doing so ensure that such students are aware of the costs and benefits of different educational and certificate programs. The bill directs the Department to annually collect and compile such information in consultation with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and any other entity that can assist the Department with collecting and compiling such information and to update its distribution materials accordingly each year. The bill requires the Department to post and distribute the information to school boards, with any relevant updates, no later than October 1 each year and requires each school board to ensure that the information is readily available to each high school student and distributed to each high school student who expresses an interest in attending an institution of higher education or completing another training program as described in the bill.
S.B. 739 – VEA OPPOSES Patron: Dunnavant
Public elementary and secondary schools and public school-based early childhood care and education programs; student instruction. Requires, except in the case of the 10 unscheduled remote learning days otherwise permitted by law, each school board to offer in-person instruction, as defined in the bill, to each student enrolled in the local school division in a public elementary or secondary school for at least the minimum number of required annual instructional hours and to each student enrolled in the local school division in a public school-based early childhood care and education program for the entirety of the instructional time provided pursuant to such program.