His thoughts —Report Card of the Year

Published 12:30 pm Thursday, May 26, 2022

The report Gov. Glenn Youngkin ordered on his first day in office is in, and the results aren’t pretty.

Said simply, Virginia has maintained an illusion of student achievement by easing standards and moving the goalposts on what constitutes adequate learning.

The result is that kids are being left behind, even while their parents think they’re getting a solid education.

Last week Gov. Youngkin released a groundbreaking report delivered to him by the Virginia Department of Education on the state of Virginia’s public education system.

The 33-page report details how state policy choices and priorities over the last decade have resulted in lower student achievement in reading and mathematics, wider achievement gaps, and eroding parent confidence in the commonwealth’s public schools.

Virginia’s wide gaps between student proficiency standards on state reading and math assessments and the grade-level proficiency benchmarks on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – also known as “The Nation’s Report Card” – create an “Honesty Gap.”

Only 33% of Virginia eighth graders are proficient in reading on the 2019 Nation’s Report Card, put out by the National Association for Education Progress.

Only 38% of Virginia fourth graders are proficient in reading. From 2017 to 2019, reading SOL scores declined every year.

Some 42% of Virginia second graders scored below reading benchmarks on PALS in Fall 2021.

Virginia has fallen from third to ninth in the nation on students earning college credit on AP exams.

This report is an initial step in Governor Youngkin’s work to ensure high expectations and excellence for all students – efforts that will continue for years to come. In the next four years, we will:

Establish and maintain high expectations for students, schools, and ourselves.

Advance parent and teacher empowerment to best serve students in partnership.

Demand zero-tolerance for discrimination in education and beyond.

Foster innovation in all education environments.

Provide transparency and accountability so that each child is seen and receives what they need to succeed.

Ensure post-secondary readiness so that all learners can succeed in life.

Protect and nurture freedom of speech and inquiry to ensure every student is taught how to think, not what to think.

Virginia is getting back on track. We have a governor who’s committed to bringing out the best of our children and their educational opportunities. If we demand excellence in education, we will get students who have an excellent education.

VIRGINIA BEACH BOOK CONTROVERSY

This is not a book ban.

This is the equivalent of considering putting an “R” rating on a movie or putting a copy of Playboy in an 18-and-over section, or behind the counter.

Parents should oversee what their children see. Full stop.

The code has this mechanism in place for a reason, and it’s handled on a community-by-community basis.

The process is not immediately declaratory. The code invites outside perspectives to give the court the widest possible selection of views.

This encourages people on all sides, not just the publisher, authors and sellers, to present their views to the court.

If the court finds the book to be obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors, it’s not a ban.

If parents decide they want their children to read these books, they can. There’s nothing that would prevent them from buying them or checking them out for their children.

Just as we keep some things that are inappropriate for younger people out of their reach – alcohol and drugs for example – this keeps a book that is inappropriate for children out of their unsupervised reach.

GAS MORTGAGE PAYMENT

Gas prices could have been 26 cents lower right now, but Virginia Democrats said no.

Virginians need real help. The constituents of this district are some of the hardest-working people you will ever meet and deserve more than a gift card for half a tank of gas.

Republicans tried to help. I will always fight for more money in your pocket.

Every Virginia House Democrat voted against lowering the gas tax. The Virginia Senate Democrats became a “blue brick wall” and killed the bill for good.

Wind and solar aren’t the solution to high gas prices. Not everybody can afford an electric car.

It’s time for Democrats to get out of the way and let American energy bring down gas prices.

Republicans are still committed in making Virginia the best place to live, worship, work and raise a family.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.