Federal

Virginia Lawmakers Enact Measure Taking Aim at NCLB

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 17, 2008 3 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative session. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2007 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.

VIRGINIA

The Virginia legislature has approved a bill that would direct the state board of education to decide whether to withdraw from participation in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. But neither Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, nor the board is likely to approve such a move, according to officials in the state.

Gordon Hickey, a spokesman for Mr. Kaine, said the governor—who had yet to sign the bill as of last week—doesn’t support withdrawing Virginia from the No Child Left Behind Act, which would put much of the state’s federal education funding at risk.

Gov. Tim Kaine
Democrat
Senate:
21 Democrats
19 Republicans
House:
45 Democrats
53 Republicans
Enrollment:
1.2 million

Under President Bush’s proposal for the fiscal 2009 K-12 federal education budget, Virginia is set to receive $416 million in federal education funding, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education.

Gov. Kaine is “not going to throw that away,” Mr. Hickey said. He noted that the bill says simply that the board should study the issue, and the governor doesn’t have any problem with such a study, so he’ll likely support the bill.

The legislature’s action in its recently concluded annual session “reflects the frustration that’s been felt at the state and school district level in implementing this important legislation,” said Charles B. Pyle, the director of communications for the Virginia Department of Education.

He added, however, that “the board has never taken the position that Virginia should withdraw from No Child Left Behind.” The 6-year-old revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act requires that schools show annual progress toward student proficiency or face a range of possible penalties.

The Virginia legislature approved and sent to the governor on March 8 a bill that said that if the board of education should decide that withdrawal were the best option, it should submit a plan for how to do so to the governor and the legislature by June 2009.

Virginia officials have sought additional flexibility from the federal Department of Education on some NCLB issues in the past but have been rebuffed. For example, the state board had requested more flexibility in determining the order in which school districts offer certain educational options—tutoring or school choice, for example—when those districts are found to need improvement under the federal law. The federal government permitted the state to carry out that plan only as a pilot program, not statewide, according to Mr. Pyle.

Mr. Pyle also noted that some state educators are unhappy with how the federal government required Virginia to stop allowing some English-language learners to take the state’s English-language-proficiency test as a substitute for its regular reading test.

“That was a source of great frustration for Virginia school districts to have the rug pulled out from under them after administering a test for several years [to ELLs] in good faith.”

In addition to passing the NCLB-related bill, the legislature approved a bill to expand the governor’s preschool initiative that serves children who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunches. Gov. Kaine scaled back his own request for preschool funds to $43 million, from $58 million, after he realized he wouldn’t get what he had initially requested. In the end, the legislature decided to provide $22 million, according to Mr. Hickey.

The legislature also adopted a bill that would require clerks of courts in Virginia to report to the state school board and the local school board if any teachers have been convicted of sexual molestation or physical or sexual abuse or rape of a child or any felony involving drugs.

Virginia’s current K-12 budget is $6.9 billion out of the state’s $36 billion budget. As of presstime last week, legislators were still hashing out what the state budget, and K-12 budget, would be for the coming fiscal year.

A version of this article appeared in the March 19, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Teachers Shouldn't Have to Drive Ubers on the Side, Education Secretary Says
In a speech on priorities for the year, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said teachers should be paid competitive salaries.
5 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal A Chaotic Start to a New Congress: What Educators Need to Know
A new slate of lawmakers will have the chance to influence federal education policy in the 118th Congress.
4 min read
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the House floor after the first vote for House Speaker when he did not receive enough votes to be elected during opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023, in Washington.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3 following the first round of voting for House Speaker. McCarthy fell short of enough votes to be elected speaker in three rounds of voting on opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Historic Changes to Title IX and School Safety Funding: How 2022 Shaped K-12 Policy
Federal lawmakers sought to make Title IX more inclusive, respond to school shootings, and crack down on corrupt charter schools.
6 min read
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during the annual NYC Pride March, Sunday, June 26, 2022, in New York.
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during New York City's annual Pride March in June. Proposed changes to Title IX would explicitly protect students from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexuality.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Federal What Education Issues Did Voters Care About Most? Hint: It Was Not Critical Race Theory
An NEA poll shows voters' education priorities in the midterm elections.
5 min read
People fill out ballots to vote at Benjamin Banneker Middle School during Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Silver Spring, Md.
People fill out ballots to vote at Benjamin Banneker Middle School on Nov. 8 in Silver Spring, Md.
Jose Luis Magana/AP