Public Comments for 03/07/2022 Education
SB156 - Public schools; English language learners.
I support SB156 which would provide funding to increase the number of teachers for English language learners.
SB395 - Roanoke Higher Education Authority; board of trustees, membership.
SB421 - Libraries and education services; obsolete provisions.
SB431 - COVID-19; DOE to recommend options for isolation & quarantine for students & employees at schools.
Both the Virginia Education Association and I, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, OPPOSE SB431. The bill takes away power from local school boards to decide what is best for their served population. This is not equitable. Just like students, each school board serves a distinctly different population, and it does not make sense for the DOE to impose the exact same guidelines to districts with different needs.
The Virginia Education Association and I, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, OPPOSE SB431. This bill will take away power from individual school boards to make the best decisions for their district. When it comes to health and safety, it should not be a "one size fits all" model. Individual districts have individual needs.
SB597 - Arts, Va. Commission for the; eliminates Va. Arts Foundation and transfers its powers & fund to Com.
SB598 - College partnership laboratory schools; application and establishment, contracts.
Both I, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, and the Virginia Education Association OPPOSE SB598. These "laboratory schools" are just charter schools by a different name. Charter schools steal essential funding for public schools, and their existence hurts students, schools, and communities.
I am opposed to SB 598 because it would allow private companies and business organizations control of the laboratory schools. Fully fund our K-12 public schools.
Re SB598 I suspect that funding and a mechanism for funding for lab schools is being negotiated behind the scenes. If lab schools operated by postsecondary institutions are ultimately approved and funded, several caveats need to be in place. First, the schools must be subject to fully open or lottery-based enrollment, be prohibited from excluding special needs or second language students, and be subject to the same due process and accountability requirements as regular public schools. Lab schools must also be required to administer the SOL and other state tests and have the results accessible to the public. Further, it cannot be permissible for students in a lab school to be excluded for low achievement or minor disciplinary infractions. Additionally, these schools must be required to provide transportation, which is often a barrier to attending "schools of choice" for economically disadvantaged students. A lab school operated on the VCU campus might as well operate on the moon for a kid in south Richmond if transportation is not provided. Beyond this, lab schools need to be subject to close financial scrutiny, including the same kind of yearly audit that occurs in public school divisions. There also needs to be strict limits on personnel spending that is not directly instructional. For example, a small lab school does not need a director, deputy director, associate director, and assistant director, all with technology, clerical, space, and office expenses. There should also be very strict regulations on conference travel, which often becomes a huge and wasteful boondoggle. Multiple people do not have to go to the same expensive out-of-town conference. And finally, state funds for a lab school should not be used to supplant normal facilities spending. If a school uses two floors of an existing five-floor facility for a lab school, the funding for the lab school should not be used to fund the operations of the entire facility, just the part that is used. These are all reasonable provisions that will ensure equal opportunity for students and effective stewardship of public resources.
Both I, a public school teacher in Fairfax County, and the Virginia Education Association OPPOSE SB598. Any and all forms of charter schools (including laboratory schools) take valuable funding away from public education. This hurts our schools, our students, and our communities.
SB662 - School Quality Profiles; teacher data.
I fully support the implementation of this bill, and I would further suggest that the Teacher Diversity metrics include the representation of disabled teachers as well. There is much literature that shows the impact that representation has on closing achievement gaps, increases chances of high school graduation, lowers absenteeism and more. All of our students deserve the opportunity to see themselves in their teachers, and tracking teacher diversity data transparently will support that aim.
Research shows that teacher diversity positively impacts student achievement. Virginia’s School Quality Profiles are designed to provide parents and the public with easily accessible data about school quality including basic student demographic and assessment data, and factors that impact student learning and achievement including teacher quality, school safety, student to teacher ratios, and school climate. While thirteen other states already provide teacher diversity data to parents on their ESSA report cards, this data is not readily available to parents in Virginia. Increasing transparency by publishing teacher diversity and languages spoken on the School Quality Profiles will enable parents, administrators, school staff and legislators to determine if we are making meaningful progress in diversifying Virginia's teacher workforce and improving a factor that is proven to contribute to student achievement.
SB667 - Innovative Internship Program; SCHEV, et. al, to collect and utilize certain data.
SB704 - School health services information; Superintendent of Public Instruction to survey school divisions.
Please support this bill. We need this data to be able to know what all of the public-school students in Virginia need to better serve them. Virginia Association of School Nurses supports this bill and asks for your support as well. Thank you!
Please support SB 704. COVID has taught us that we need a better tracking system for health in schools. Schools are the frontline of public health. Tracking school health helps us track the next emerging condition and address current issues from obesity, mental health, diabetes, and potentially the side effects of COVID in children. With data we can better determine which programs are needed, so we use resources efficiently and effectively. We will also see where children do not have access to services. We will be addressing health inequities. Most districts already collect the data so it is not an added burden. They just need to submit the data. My experience working with school health data tells me this is an investment in not just knowing the current landscape, but also the future. Data can be used to help us know risk factors so that we can identify students at risk even earlier-preventing crises from occurring and helping keep youth in school so they can advance, graduate and be productive, tax paying citizens. Please vote 'yes' for SB 704.
I teach pediatric and community health nursing, serve on the Virginia School Mental Health Partnership, and sometimes substitute for school nurses. I speak in strong support of Senate Bill 704 seeking the collection of data regarding school health staffing and health services required for students in our schools. Right now, the Department of Education requests the data each year, but reporting is voluntary and only about 2/3 of school divisions actually submit a report. As a Commonwealth, we can’t know what we need if we don’t know what we already have, and which needs are being met and which are not. This bill does NOT require additional funding, only reporting of the data that school divisions already have. Through compilation of this data, we can better understand the needs of students in our schools and help to ensure that our children are receiving the services they need to succeed. I ask for your support of Senate Bill 704. Thank you.
As President of VASN, I am coming forth to represent our entire membership, which consists of 500+ School Nurses throughout all of the State Superintendent’s eight regions in Virginia. We are in unanimous support of SB 704 and ask for your support by voting in favor of it on Tuesday. This bill will produce data which is urgently needed to determine continuous quality improvement in school health services across Virginia schools. It will allow for better implementation of professional development and can help determine where staff may be needed in. Currently, this data is already being collected in all schools. VASN knows this to be true, because it is done by the school clinic. In 2019, when it was only optional, 92 of 132 school districts were already choosing to send this very data to VDOE. With that, please note that there is no fiscal impact related to SB704 because it is already being done. If the only school nurse organization in the Commonwealth is asking you to push forth a bill that would bring us more work… then it must be very important to us, especially with Covid already on our hands. BUT… That is just not the case though. This is not more work. We are simply asking you to mandate the collection of data that already exists. Thank you, on behalf of the School Nurses in Virginia. Angela Moore, VASN President VASN would like to give their support in favor of HB1328 (Delaney) and SB737 (Boysko) because it aligns with previously passed laws which mandate epinephrine in schools. K-12 already has the stock epinephrine, and this will just include the EXS3, which has seen a huge expansion since the previous bill was passed. Thank you for expanding the availability of epinephrine to our ECSE students by voting yes. It is the equitable vote to make. Angela Moore, VASN President VASN also supports HB215 and SB62 with a very STRONG recommendation to add a School Nurse who is Nationally Certified to each of the two committees. It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any such committee to make recommendations and/or pass along reports without the insight and expertise of a School Nurse. School Nurses are the most appropriate healthcare providers to answer questions regarding school related procedures, trainings, healthcare plans, emergency action plans, levels of training for staff, classroom and other school environments, documentation, and the like, when it comes to the health and safety of school children. It would behoove you to include a nationally certified School Nurse on both of these committees if they should pass, to best represent the school environment and to speak on behalf of school children. Thank you for your consideration. Angela Moore, VASN President SB161 VASN would also like to offer its support of SB161 and its willingness to provide assistance in developing guidelines on policies to inform and educate coaches and athletes. This will be beneficial to a magnitude of students throughout the Commonwealth and is geared toward optimizing the health and safety of our students, so VASN is in support. Please vote yes on SB161, for our students. Thank you. Angela Moore, VASN President
SB84 - New College Institute; noncredit workforce training.
Good morning. Writing in support of Senator Stanley's SB84. SB84 allows NCI to use internal staff as instructors where appropriate and allowable. With COVID, the availability and cost of external instructors has become prohibitive due to cost and availability, limiting options for students. The requested change will simply allow NCI to use staff who are credentialed to provide instruction rather than consistently be limited by instructor availability and price.