Afternoon Read: Virginia Education and Jeb Bush - NBC4 Washington
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Afternoon Read: Virginia Education and Jeb Bush



    The Virginia House Education Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would dramatically change the way the state’s teachers and principals are evaluated, making it easier to fire ineffective educators.

    Backed by Gov. Bob McDonnell's administration, the measure would extend the probation period of teachers and principals to five years before they can get a three-year contract, The Richmond Times Dispatch reported.

    Employees would also have annual evaluations and their three-year contracts would not automatically be renewed.

    Teachers currently working under a continuing contract would be able to keep that contract.

    McDonnell will promote his K-12 teacher plan Wednesday at 7 p.m. at a tele-town hall style meeting for constituents, with former Florida governor Jeb Bush calling in to show his support.

    Bush is founder and chairman of the board of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a foundation established “to ignite a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century.”

    Ed Gillespie, former counselor to President George W. Bush and chairman of the Republican National Committee, will also call in.

    Opponents argue that the new evaluation system "would demoralize current teachers, turn off new ones and discourage candor and creativity in the teaching ranks," according to The Times Dispatch.

    Supporters say it will make sure the best teachers possible are in the classroom.

    McDonnell will also be answering questions about his bill to make it easier to establish charter schools in the state.

    * Loose Lips reports that the Office of Campaign Finance ruled that District politicians are indeed allowed to use their constituent service funds to donate to political organizations as long as the donations aren’t for political purposes.

    The ruling comes months after the D.C. GOP accused council member’s of breaking rules by donating constituent service funds to Democratic organizations.

    Read more here.

    * Montgomery County lawmakers asked state transportation officials to raise the speed limit on the new Intercounty Connecter, which connects Montogomery and Prince George counties, from 55 mph to 65 mph.

    The Postreported that Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley said "you do get the sense you could go faster" on the new toll road but would not say that they are raising the speed limit.

    She pointed to Gov. Martin O’Malley's previous comments that indicated that the state is studying the speed limit. He has said that since the connector is built in a highly residential area, speed limits are typically restricted to under 65 mph.

    * Maryland lawmakers from Frederick County are once again proposing to charge jail inmates intake processing and education fees.

    The Frederick News-Post said that it would collect $10 intake fee to process new inmates and charge a one-time $25 fee to participate in the GED program.

    This bill may stand a better chance of passage than previously proposed similar bills because it deletes a $10-a-day room-and-board fee that kept the others from moving forward.