McDonnell Signs A-F School Grading Bill

Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed a number of bills Friday to reform public schools in Virginia, including one that will assign letter grades to public schools in Virginia, ranking them from A to F.

The 10 bills are part of his ALL STUDENTS initiative, touching everything from hiring practices to red tape reduction to alegebra and reading education.

"This year's K-12 reform agenda included bold legislation to empower Virginia's excellent teachers, embed innovation and accountability in the classroom, and provide public school options for our students," McDonnell said in a statement.

The new laws will "ensure that every child, regardless of ZIP code" graduates college or becomes otherwise career-ready, McDonell said.

Supporters of the school grading bill, including Republican House Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights, said last month that the grading system is the only way to hold underperforming schools accountable.

Opponents, including lobbying groups for teachers and school boards, say the grades unfairly single out struggling schools and would further harm at-risk students.

Other bills signed by McDonnell Friday include:

  • The Educator Fairness Act: makes several changes to hiring, evaluation, and termination processes for teachers and some administrators
  • Teach for America Act: will allow for TFA to begin placing educators in Virginia schools starting in the 2013-2014 academic year
  • Algebra Readiness Initiative: adds kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades to the requirement that local school divisions provide early intervention services based on individual performance
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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