All News & Blogs
McDonnell: restore rights for those convicted of nonviolent felonies
Gov. Bob McDonnell
BOB BROWN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Visit the Photo Place
The school proposals are the third part of McDonnell's plans to revamp K-12 education. He previously announced bills to give teacher raises, tied to passage of changes to teacher evaluation procedures.
He wants to provide more ways to turn around schools that aren't meeting accreditation standards, he said.
"Even in a state like ours with a very good public education system, some students are trapped in schools that are underperforming and unaccredited," McDonnell said. "It must end now."
His proposal would let the General Assembly establish the threshold for when a school that has been denied accreditation multiple times should be taken over by the statewide school division, and also authorizes a portion of the per-pupil funding from that school district to be shifted to the statewide division.
He wants to have a constitutional amendment authorizing charter schools and then let local school divisions decide when to allow a new charter school, without needing state Board of Education approval.
McDonnell has long been a proponent of charter schools. He said Wednesday that Virginia has "one of the weakest public charter schools laws in all the country.
"The best public charter school operators in the nation will not come to Virginia because we have make it nearly impossible for them to get started here in our state," McDonnell said. "We need new charter school laws that demand excellence, set clear standards, and welcome the best charter schools into our communities."
Democrats in the legislature have opposed additional public resources going to private schools. In a response made before McDonnell's speech, House Minority Leader David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said he still thinks it's the wrong move for Virginia.
"During the last several years, the unfortunate response to our educational challenges from some of our Republican colleagues is propose further cuts in K-12 funding--while providing more resources to private schools," Toscano said. "In the Democratic view, that is the wrong way to go."
Democrats also object to McDonnell's positions--made previously but reiterated in his Wednesday speech--that Virginia will not create its own state-based health insurance exchange, nor expand Medicaid eligibility under the federal Affordable Care Act.
"The cost of Medicaid in our budget has grown 1,600 percent in the last 30 years," McDonnell said Wednesday. "Virginia simply cannot afford to become the bank for a federally designed expansion of Medicaid. The federal government must promptly authorize real, innovative, state-run Medicaid reforms to allow us at the state level to run our programs and manage our programs better. Without dramatic reform, I cannot recommend a dramatic Medicaid expansion."
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028