~ Innovative Education Reforms a Focus for Delegate Peace ~
Central Virginia - Delegate Christopher Peace (R-Hanover) introduced several bills in the 2014 General Assembly focused on providing innovative educational opportunities and increasing information available to students and parents. “While Virginia has some of the best schools and most devoted educators in the world, maintaining these high standards requires Virginia to build on its success and continue to innovate and improve,” said Del. Peace.
Peace introduced House Bill (HB) 886, a bill to connect job and wage data to consumer students and parents in K-12 and higher education. Data will also include rates of degree completion and performance of the institution relative to workforce needs. In an effort Peace calls “Virginia’s Know Before You Go,” HB 886 will enable consumers of higher education, students and their families, to make informed decisions when choosing a post-secondary institution of higher learning. “Know Before You Go,” would ensure that a wide range of comparative data about higher education programs is readily available for prospective students and their families who are paying high tuition and potentially carrying years of debt. For these people, jobs and wages data is important information to have.
An educated workforce is also key to a competitive workforce, so one of Peace’s goals is to foster an environment where students can get the best education possible which fits their individual goals. While some students will attend Virginia's world class universities or community colleges, there are other students who would benefit from a workforce development and career readiness program that provides technical training for jobs in high paying manufacturing fields.
To support and expand opportunities in these technical training programs, Peace proposed House Bill 887, a measure to consider implementation of a Governor's school for Career and Technical Education (CTE). CTE training provides good paying jobs and strengthens workforce vocational training opportunities. “Highly talented and educated workforce is the lynchpin for maintaining, evaluating and enhancing Virginia's economic competitiveness,” said Peace. "Further, I am excited about Hanover's School Board and Superintendent's interest in assessing whether Hanover can serve as a purpose in a future school."
Additionally, Del. Peace is co-patron of HB 930, this legislation would reform Virginia’s Standards of Learning assessments by reducing the number of tests and creating SOL “Revision Committees” to promote critical thinking and problem solving skills. Virginia’s SOL tests have worked because they have fostered a sense of accountability, learning excellence, and academic rigor. But parents, teachers and educators from across the Commonwealth have demanded reforms. This legislation would only reduce the number of tests to stop over testing and work to improve the tests by re-emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving skills. Critical thinking and problem solving are life skills that will help students later in life. This reform will also promote greater flexibility for Virginia teachers and helping to ensure that our children have the skills they need to succeed in a 21st century economy.
Delegate Peace also proposed a working family child care tax credit in HB 1047. This legislation would support middle class working parents who need quality child care. Del. Peace said “Early education provides a solid foundation for future academic success”, adding “no parent should have to make a choice between quality care for their children and their career.”