Monday, January 19, 2015

King's Struggle Continues/Committees Begin Their Work

As I remember Martin Luther King Junior, I remember that he was a great supporter of voting rights and of public education. 

I know it in my heart that where he still with us that King would look at the 41.6% Virginia turnout of registered voters in November’s elections, and he would remind us that people died so that we could vote.  He would admonish us to go to the polls for each and every election.

Further, were King to see today’s disparity in educational opportunity between localities in Virginia and across the nation, he would speak up for equal opportunity for all children.

His struggle continues.

The Public Education Subcommittee of Senate Education and Health incorporated SB 897 and SB 757 into SB 874, which “Directs the Board of Education to promulgate regulations to provide the same criteria for eligibility for an expedited retake of any Standards of Learning assessment in reading or mathematics to each student regardless of grade level.”  This bill was reported to the full committee on a bipartisan 3-2 vote.  Voting in favor of expedited retake were Howell, Locke and Carrico.  Cosgrove and Smith voted NO.
At this same meeting, Lobby Cadre member Cheri James voice VEA’s concerns regarding Senator Favola’s SB 782, which, “Requires the Board of Education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth. The bill requires that such regulations incorporate certain existing guidance documents; include definitions of terms, criteria for use, restrictions for use, training requirements, notification requirements, reporting requirements, and follow-up requirements; and address distinctions between certain student populations.”  VEA’s concern is that there are times when restraint must be used to maintain order in our schools.  VSBA also raised concerns regarding the bill, and the language of the bill was tweaked a bit.  Should this bill pass, public school educators are going to need to become involved in the development of the regulations by the Board of Education.