The 2014 session of the Virginia General Assembly is underway. This session will produce a biennial budget, consider the expansion of Medicaid to provide health insurance to 400,000 working Virginians, improve SOL testing and make important changes to our mental health system.
The legislation I have introduced deals with reforming the SOL’s, good government initiatives and several bills to protect our children.
Here is a description of some of my major initiatives:
Eliminating Two SOL’s for 3rd Graders – Virginia is one of only five states that require third graders to take four SOL tests. These are cumulative tests - testing students’ knowledge from kindergarten through third grade. This means that third graders are tested on more knowledge in third grade than they will be during the rest of their school experience. After reviewing the statewide scores for the 3rd grade reading SOL, I was shocked to learn that more than half of Virginia’s schools have a pass rate of less than 75%. In order to focus on strengthening students’ reading skills, my legislation will eliminate the History and Science SOL’s for 3rd graders. This does not mean that History and Science will not be taught in third grade – just not SOL tested. We must give our 3rd graders a solid foundation in reading and math if they are going to be academically successful.