College Lab Partnership Bill Passes Unanimously, Provides Educational
Options at the Commonwealth's Private Colleges and Universities
Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-97th District) announces passage of his House Bill 765 today by a vote of 98 - 0. House Bill 765 is a measure which would allow any institution of higher education in Virginia to operate a college partnership laboratory school. The measure is part of Governor McDonnell’s “Opportunity to Learn” initiative, Phase II. Peace carried the original legislation creating these collaborative partnerships at public colleges and universities in 2010. As in 2010, Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-City of Richmond) served as a co-patron. Del. McClellan attended a lab school at Virginia State University as a young woman.
"In 2010, the General Assembly passed legislation, as a part of Governor McDonnell’s ‘Opportunity to Learn’ package, enabling public colleges and universities in Virginia to team with approved teacher-preparation programs in an effort to establish college partnership laboratory schools throughout the Commonwealth. With this legislation we will see more partnerships between Virginia's higher educational institutions and K-12 public divisions, in turn increasing choices for K-12 students statewide," said Peace.
A College Partnership Laboratory School is a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious school established by a public institution of higher education operating in the Commonwealth which maintains and operates a teacher education program approved by the Board of Education. Virginia currently has 14 approved sites including but not limited to James Madison University, University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, and George Mason University.
Lab partnerships offer options and innovation for all Virginia school children, but especially those who are disadvantaged or at-risk. These schools have worked in the past and there is currently interest within the higher education community to open College Partnership Laboratory Schools. In fact, last year the legislature approved $600,000 for planning grants to establish lab schools. 6 schools have applied and awards will be made in March.
"Laboratory schools allow local divisions to offer greater opportunities for innovative instruction and assessment methods - customizing and improving the educational experience for all of our students. Providing educational options through utilizing the strengths and talents at the Commonwealth's colleges and universities are necessary steps toward assuring academic success for our youngest citizens,” continued Peace.
The measure will now crossover to the Senate for consideration.