For Immediate Release - June 28 2010
"Opportunity to Learn" Legislative Package to Take Effect Thursday
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today highlighted his “Opportunity to Learn” legislative package, designed to offer options and innovation for all Virginia schoolchildren, but especially those who are at-risk or in underperforming school systems, will become law on July 1st. The three key components of the package – improving public charter school applications, developing criteria for virtual school programs, and establishing college partnership laboratory schools – all passed the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support during the 2010 legislative session.
Speaking about the new laws, Governor McDonnell remarked, "These three key components of the ‘Opportunity to Learn’ legislative package, that will take effect on Thursday, will give Virginia’s students more options when it comes to their education, thus enhancing their opportunities to compete and succeed in a global economy. Our public charter school legislation will create a process in which the Board of Education, utilizing charter school experts, will review all applications before they come before a local School Board. This will ensure quality public charter schools, by providing needed guidance and consistency in the approval process and will also allow applicants an opportunity to petition the local school board for reconsideration after seeking technical assistance from the Department of Education and receiving public comment. Through college laboratory schools, students will benefit from the tools and resources available to Virginia’s colleges and universities, but have the option to learn in a setting that best suits their needs. The expansion of virtual school programs in Virginia will enable students all across the state to receive the services of highly qualified, Virginia-certified teachers without being limited by classroom walls. This entire legislative package will provide flexibility and options to children who struggle in traditional classroom environments. I thank the Members of the General Assembly for their broad support of this important initiative – it shows Virginia’s commitment to providing our children with a world-class education, right here at home.”"
Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson added, "I share the Governor and Legislator’s commitment to providing the best educational opportunities that we can for Virginia’s students. By bringing innovation to education, the winners are Virginia’s students, parents and teachers. Public charter schools, laboratory schools and virtual schools strengthen our educational system and provide needed options that will lead to the success of our young people."
"Opportunity to Learn" Education laws taking effect July 1st:
SB737 (Newman)/ HB1390 (Lingamfelter/Dance) – Improves the quality of charter school applications
- Requires the public charter school applicant to submit its proposed charter application to the Board of Education for review, comment, and a determination as to whether the application meets approval criteria developed by the Board, prior to submission to the local school board.
- Provides a public charter school applicant with an opportunity to petition the local school board for reconsideration after seeking technical assistance from the Department of Education and receiving public comment.
SB738 (Newman)/ HB1388 (Richard P. Bell) – Develops criteria for Virtual School programs
- Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop, and the Board of Education to approve, criteria for approving and monitoring multi-division providers of online courses and virtual school programs.
- Also allows local school boards to enter into contracts with approved private or nonprofit organizations to provide such courses and programs.
SB736 (Newman)/ HB1389 (Peace/McClellan) – Establishes College Partnership Laboratory Schools
- Allows for the establishment of college partnership laboratory schools by any public institution of higher education that operates an approved teacher education program. Such schools shall be public schools established by a contract between the governing board of the school and the Board of Education. Teachers working in such schools shall be employees of the institution of higher education and shall either be licensed by the Board or eligible for such license.
More about College Partnership Laboratory Schools
More about Virtual Learning