McDonnell proposes education reforms - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

McDonnell proposes education reforms

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Governor McDonnell unleashed several potential reforms for Virginia schools Thursday afternoon. It's part of his "All Students" plan, focusing on education reforms aimed at bettering K-12 Virginia education. The governor rolled out his agenda's second phase at Goochland Middle School.

The governor opened his speech by stressing the importance of what may be the core of education, teachers.

"We still have a significant achievement gap in some of our schools, and I believe we have an obligation to close that gap," said McDonnell.            

The governor is pushing to bring the Teach for America program to the Commonwealth. Teach for America recruits high-performing college graduates to teach in low-achieving areas.

Another proposal would revamp how schools are graded, with an easy-to-understand "A" through "F" system.

"Your kids get 'A's through 'F's when they get their grades. Well, I'm proposing that we give the same grades to our schools," added the governor.

Other initiatives include giving younger students who need help reading more instruction time. Middle-schoolers in danger of failing algebra would get extra help. The governor is also making sure schools have the ability to hire and place staff where they're needed most.

"This will provide the flexibility for schools to assign staff where they want to, where there's a need. One size doesn't fit all," asserted McDonnell.

Continuing on that trend, McDonnell hopes to make it easier for school districts to bypass certain, tedious state requirements, which might weigh teachers down.

"…So that we can keep you and your teachers teaching, and not just worrying about administration," concluded the governor.

The General Assembly will have to vote on these proposals in the upcoming session.

The governor is also planning on shifting money around to give high school freshman in under-performing schools a computer tablet each.

Next week, McDonnell will announce the third phase of his All Students plan. The governor has also named 2013 as the "Year of the Teacher."

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