Va. House panel approves McDonnell education proposals

Several of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s (R) education proposals for the 2013 General Assembly were approved Monday by the House Education Committee, including a bill that could bring the Teach for America program to the commonwealth.

The Republican governor has declared 2013 “The Year of the Teacher,” and named education as one of the priorities for the final year of his term.

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The committee approved a bill that would create a two-year provisional license for Teach for America participants who have an offer of employment to teach in a Virginia school. Another bill approved Monday would lengthen the probationary period from three years to five to give principals more time to evaluate teachers before putting them on the “continuing contract” that makes it harder to dismiss experienced school employees. The bill would also streamline the process for administrators to get rid of teachers who aren’t doing well.

Also approved was legislation that would make charter school applications initiated by one or more school boards not subject to review by the state Board of Education.

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