Public Comments for: HB1135 - Standards of Quality; DOE to oversee work-based learning, teacher leaders and mentors.
Last Name: Seyba Locality: Yorktown

Why now is the time to reach our Standards of Quality State aid for public education is still down from 2009 levels. This means local divisions are left paying more than what is required by localities in the state’s primary funding formula. High poverty divisions and divisions with the most students of color struggle to make up these funds, resulting in vast inequities in educational opportunity across the state. Schools are struggling to provide adequate staffing, resulting in insufficient counselors, social workers, instructional aides, and administrative and custodial staff. The pandemic has only widened these gaps, and students need full and fair school funding more than ever before. Solution In the fall of 2021, the Virginia Board of Education issued a set of Standards of Quality (SOQs) recommendations which, if funded, would go far to increase educational opportunity for Virginia’s children. This is just the minimum the state Board says is necessary to meet the state’s constitutional duty to ensure a high quality education for Virginia’s students. It is now up to the General Assembly to adopt these SOQs, and fully fund it. The act would: Increase funding for school counselors to ensure there is one counselor for every 250 students. Increase funding for English learner students based on proficiency. Increase a host of other critical support positions in schools and programing. Why Funding the SOQs Matters The Education Law Center finds that K-12 funding per student is basically flat in Virginia between the highest and lowest poverty school divisions. Experts note it can cost as much as 40% more to educate a student in poverty than a student not in poverty. For students to receive the full benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program, school counselors’ caseloads should not exceed 250 students. Students have the right to a high-quality education. Our underinvestment of our students today will have damaging implications for their future.I’m

Last Name: VanDerhoff Organization: Fairfax County Federation of Teachers (AFT 2401) Locality: Springfield

My name is Emily VanDerhoff. I am a 1st grade teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools and am a proud member of my union, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, AFT 2401. On behalf of my union, I am asking you to support Delegate Bourne's bill, HB 1135. It is time for the General Assembly to fully-fund the Virginia Board of Education's Standards of Quality so that we can fully-staff our schools with the recommended rations for critical positions such has school counselors and teachers of English Learners. We strongly encourage you to pass this bill. We also want to thank Delegate Bourne for sponsoring this important legislation. Thank you.

Last Name: Burke Organization: Individual Locality: Fairfax

Please vote in SUPPORT of HB1135. With the strain on public schools from covid related issues and loss of teachers and staff, we need to step up the establishment of teacher leader and teacher mentor programs and improving the ratios of students to teachers especially where schools have high numbers of low-income students. Also, we should have a way to provide extra compensation to teachers in those schools that are particularly challenging as an incentive to help recruit and retain teachers in those schools. We need to ensure there are experienced teachers in those particularly challenging schools and have more appropriate teacher leaders and mentors to help less experienced teachers grow into valuable and experienced teachers. We also need to have funds to support low income, at-risk and English language learner students, employing reading specialists and other full-time staff in each school. These could include specialized student support positions, including school social workers, school psychologists, depending on the need at each school.

Last Name: Martinez Locality: Albemarle

Virginia schools desperately need adequate funding to meet the needs of all students. This bill would take us much closer to achieving that goal. We need our youth to be competitive with their peers in other states and that requires fully funding the support needed to get there. I wholeheartedly support this bill.

Last Name: Gruber Organization: Virginia People’s Party Locality: Arlington

I believe that education is a fundamental human right, and that all students should have the same high-quality education regardless of their income level or their zip code. Virginia needs to fully fund the Standards of Quality to close the gaps between schools in rich and poor districts and ensure that all students have equal access to teachers, counselors, and other support staff. I urge members of the committee to support HB 1135 and fully invest in the future of Virginia’s students.

Last Name: Figueroa Locality: Charlottesville

The Standards of Quality have never been fully funded by the General Assembly, that means the state is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to provide all students in Virginia with a quality public education. With schools continuing to struggle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a crucial time for Virginia to take this important step towards supporting our students and school personnel. Students in our state deserve better. Support HB1135 to take a step in the right direction!

End of Comments