Thursday, February 20, 2020

Winding Down the Work on Education Bills

February 20, 2020

Both the House and Senate Education Committees are working hard to get through the volume of bills they have seen this session. Wednesday. the chair of the House Education Committee announced that the last full committee meeting would be on Monday. The subcommittee on PK-12 has finished their work on bills, and the SOL/SOQ committee will meet Monday morning at 7am to finish their bills. The Senate has a bit more work to do and will need the Public Education subcommittee to meet Thursday afternoon. The final full Senate Education and Health meeting will be next Thursday.

As I said in Tuesday’s post, all the attention will turn to budget in the next few days and to the floor of each body as they spend hours debating and voting on the bills that crossed over. Today we saw SB377 advance to the floor of the House after already passing the Senate. The bill restores an option of a three-person panel in teacher grievance and dismissal cases. This is one of three bills that are top priorities for the VEA. The three bills act together to reverse actions taken by the Republican-controlled 2013 General Assembly and Governor Bob McDonnell to strip teachers of their due process. The changes were part of the Republican false narrative that it was hard to fire teachers and, since so many teachers are bad, we need to make it easy to fire them. During a 2013 floor speech, a member of the Virginia Senate suggested we needed lemon laws for teachers, and the Republicans passed exactly those laws.

Each body will debate their budget Thursday, so we are prepared for a long day, but our bills are, overall, doing well.