VEA Names Aird, Guy, McClellan ‘Legislators of the Year’; Others Earn ‘Legislative Champion’ Awards
March 23, 2021
March 23, 2021
In honor of their stalwart efforts on behalf of students and public schools in this year’s session of the General Assembly, the Virginia Education Association has named Delegate Lashrecse Aird, Delegate Nancy Guy, and Senator Jennifer McClellan its 2021 Legislators of the Year.
VEA singled out Del. Aird and Sen. McClellan for sponsoring identical bills to address the perennial underfunding of Virginia’s Standards of Quality. The SOQ are baseline requirements for instruction in our public schools set by the Virginia Board of Education and have not been fully funded by the General Assembly for years. While that remains the case, Del. Aird and Sen. McClellan were able to get a school personnel requirement changed in the SOQ. Local school boards will now be required to provide at least three specialized student support positions, including school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions, per 1,000 students.
“Delegate Aird and Senator McClellan truly stepped up for Virginia’s public schools,” said VEA President Dr. James J. Fedderman. “It’s indefensible that our General Assembly hasn’t committed to fully funding our state’s Standards of Quality. It must happen, and we salute the efforts of these two legislators for making important progress in bringing that day closer to reality.”
The VEA also honored Delegate Nancy Guy as a Legislator of the Year in recognition of her work to ensure that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our schools are carefully studied and plans are made to counteract them. An impact study, a VEA priority introduced by Del. Guy, passed the House and Senate unanimously, and will examine the ways the pandemic affected Virginia’s public schools, students, and school employees.
“COVID-19 is an unforeseen event that has caused long-lasting effects in our schools,” said VEA President Fedderman. “We must think and plan carefully as we move ahead and, thanks to Del. Guy, we’ll have solid research to use as we do so.”
The VEA also honored Senators and Delegates with Legislative Champion Awards for their support of public education initiatives in this year’s General Assembly session. They are: