McDonnell Proposes Additional Education Reforms

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This year - 2013 - is officially the year of the teacher in Virginia. Thursday, Governor Bob McDonnell announced the second wave of reforms he wants in state education.

The governor proposed a two percent pay raise for teachers across the state last month. Thursday's announcement is the second phase of the governor's education reform proposals.

"In the fall, we emphasized the focus on teachers, and today we are putting the focus on innovation and accountability," Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash.

Thursday's top piece of legislation focuses on bringing national nonprofit Teach for America to Virginia. It trains recent college graduates, and places them in hard-to-staff schools.

"What we hope to do with Teach For America is to be able to recruit and train and retain top college graduates from across the country to accept full-time teaching assignments in either under-performing or hard-to-staff schools in Virginia," said McDonnell.

"We look forward to partnering with communities across the commonwealth to bring in phenomenal teachers and leaders for our Commonwealth's students," said Eva Colen, director of regional recruitment for Teach for America.

The governor also wants to make it easier for everyone to concretely understand school ratings and accreditation, by using a familiar formula. "And I hope you parents will like this. You know your kids get A through F's when they get their grades. Well, I'm proposing that we give the same grades to our schools, so you can understand how well your school is doing," said McDonnell.  

McDonnell hopes a clearer understanding of school ratings will help foster more parental and community involvement. The governor also proposed legislation to allow school divisions flexibility in how they assign faculty to schools with specific needs. 

McDonnell will announce phase three of his "All Students" package when he makes his State of the Commonwealth Address next Wednesday.