RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell commented today on Virginia’s public education system’s fourth place ranking in Education Week’s annual Quality Counts report. The rankings, which came out earlier this month, are based on four critical areas: the chance for success, K-12 achievement, school finance, and policies related to transitions and alignment. Since taking office, Governor McDonnell has worked to implement education reform initiatives to expand opportunities for students, passing an ambitious “Opportunity to Learn” legislative agenda during the 2010 General Assembly Session and continuing the efforts this year with proposals to implement a pilot performance pay program and expand access to nonpublic schools for disadvantaged children. Speaking about Virginia’s ranking, Governor McDonnell commented, “Over the last year we have come a long way in implementing substantive education reform in Virginia. As the Education Week rankings acknowledge, in these difficult economic times states are looking to find innovative ways to improve education. Here in Virginia that is exactly what we are doing. Over the past year we have strengthened our charter school system, set out guidelines for virtual schools, and authorized college lab schools. We have begun to place a greater emphasis on the high-demand STEM subjects in both primary and secondary education. This Session we are proposing a pilot program that will provide competitive performance pay grants for hard-to-staff schools to ensure that we are hiring and retaining top-quality teachers. We are also calling for tax credits for corporations that help disadvantaged children gain access to new educational opportunities. We must continue to provide more options for our young people and parents while ensuring accountability at every level in our public school system. While we are doing well when compared to the rest of the nation, we still have a long way to go to ensure our students are getting the education they deserve. To get a good job you need a good education, and we are committed to ensuring that every child in Virginia, in every community, has access to the best education possible.”
Information on Governor McDonnell’s K-12 initiatives for the 2011 General Assembly Session is available here: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=564.
For more information about last year’s “Opportunity to Learn” Legislation please visit: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/News/viewRelease.cfm?id=215.
Education Week’s Quality Counts annual report: http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2011/01/13/index.html.