House of Delegates Passes Key K-12 Education Initiatives

The Virginia House of Delegates passed several key pieces of legislation Thursday aimed at improving Virginia's K-12 education system. Four bills were passed with broad, bipartisan support, including Governor Bob McDonnell's Educator Fairness Act, a bill that will bring the Teach for America program to Virginia and legislation to encourage the creation of more charter schools.

"I am very pleased at the steps the House of Delegates took today. We are constantly and continually focused on improving Virginia's K-12 education system and the measures passed today will help do just that," said Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). "Education is about jobs and opportunity. We must give all of our children the kind of education that will prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century.

"Our efforts to improve K-12 education have been focused on recognizing and rewarding Virginia's excellent teachers, encouraging innovation and accountability, and promoting success for all students by ensuring we rescue failing schools and increase access to opportunity by expanding charter schools.  

"The passage of the Educator Fairness Act is a key part of our efforts to recognize and reward good teachers throughout the Commonwealth. We are also very excited about the opportunity to amend the state budget and offer our teachers a two percent pay raise. We understand the role and value of teachers in educating our young people and want to reward the selfless work they do each and every day.

"While the steps we have taken today are important, our work is not done. There are several more pieces of Governor McDonnell's education package that will be advancing through the legislative process over the next several days. These measures deserve our full and undivided attention and I look forward to their passage in the House of Delegates."

House Bill 2151 (Bell) is the Educator Fairness Act. House Bill 2084 (Cox) will establish the Teach for America Program in Virginia. House Bill 2076 (Stolle) will allow local school divisions flexibility to authorize more charter schools. House Bill 2101 (Ramadan) creates a High School to Work Partnership program.

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