It’s back-to-school and off-to-college time!
I’m thrilled to share great news about Virginia K-12 and higher education.
Virginia K-12 Public Schools
First, Wallet Hub has released their annual ranking of state educational systems, and Virginia, once again near the top of the list, ranked 4th in the nation overall out of 51 systems. There’s more great news.
- Virginia K-12 public schools ranked 2nd best for school safety!
- Virginia recorded the 4th lowest rate for school bullying!
- Virginia ranked 4th highest in math test scores!
Wednesday, I attended the annual FCPS Convocation for teachers and staff
Our Local School Districts
These great results are also evident here in the 33rd District. Niche.com just released their annual "Best School Districts" ranking, based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more. I'm pleased that all three of our school districts in the 33rd District were in the top 50 of the 133 districts in Virginia: Loudoun #4, Frederick #34, and Clarke #50.
Virginia Higher Ed
This year’s budget included $57.5 million for colleges to freeze their tuition for in-state students. This follows the Republican-led General Assembly prioritizing college affordability with a significant investment in our higher education institutions.
This Republican-led effort allowed all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities to freeze tuition for the 2019-2020 school year. Every state school has now agreed to freeze tuition for in-state students; additionally Christopher Newport University, George Mason University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Commonwealth University and Radford University, are also freezing out-of-state tuition.
More Education Progress
I’ve served on the House Education Committee for four years and have seen firsthand the long-term Republican commitment to education -- both quality and safety. This commitment is paying big dividends, and it shows.
Just this year we approved funding for a five percent teacher pay raise in 2019, the fourth teacher pay raise in the six years I've been in the legislature.
Speaker Kirk Cox announced last month his goal to raise teacher pay to the national average over the next four years, rewarding our teachers for their hard work and attracting new talent. We need to stay on top!
The General Assembly has approved nearly $4 billion in new funding for public schools since the unfortunate budget cuts during the economic recession that hit 11 years ago.
I’m glad to report we are returning 40% of all lottery proceeds back to school divisions with no strings attached.
I’m working hard to reform Virginia’s Standard of Learning (SOL) tests. So far we’ve reduced the number of required tests from 22 to 17 and made major improvements to promote critical thinking and problem solving skills.
We have also held the line on spending in education by capping the number of support staff and administrators so that we can prioritize funding to teachers and the classroom.
Virginia’s ranking for school safety is well-earned. Last year, the Select Committee on School Safety studied issues and presented a comprehensive final report with 24 priority recommendations to make our students and schools safer through threat prevention, counseling realignment and increased mental health services, and increased training for school personnel and school security.
Virginia has moved to re-align the roles and responsibilities of school counselors to emphasize direct student services including emotional, behavioral, career, and life counseling and guidance.
The final report includes best practices for localities on aid agreements, school design and security planning, and infrastructure improvements. While we do not want to create unfunded mandates, these proposals can be implemented by localities.
I hope all of your students have a great school year, and please let me know if you have any suggestions on how we can continue to make Virginia an even better place for students from Pre-K to Grad school!
I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. We are here to serve you! You can reach us at info@voteLaRock.us, 540-751-8364, Facebook, and Twitter