Gov. Robert F. McDonnell unveiled several proposals Monday that he said are intended to raise academic standards, increase flexibility for schools, improve teacher quality and promote school choice.
McDonnell (R) said he would push for repeal of a law, passed nearly 30 years ago at the behest of the tourism industry, that sets the first day of school after Labor Day. Teachers say the late start puts Virginians at a disadvantage for Advanced Placement and other tests taken by students nationwide.
Many school districts already have the right to seek an exception to that rule, and so many do that McDonnell said it no longer makes sense for the exception to be the rule.
McDonnell proposed establishing an annual contract and evaluation process for teachers, replacing the tenurelike job protections afforded by traditional multiyear contracts. The measure is intended to strengthen school districts’ ability to remediate or remove bad poorly performing teachers.
Saying he also wanted to expand educational options, McDonnell also proposed several measures aimed at promoting charter and virtual schools, including the establishment of a committee that would guide applicants through the planning process for such schools.
Virginia high schools currently award seven types of diplomas. McDonnell wants to reduce the number to three and to make requirements for earning them more rigorous.
My colleague Emma Brown has more details on the Virginia Schools Insider blog.