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Posted at 10:04 PM ET, 07/21/2010

Virginia education standards on track

By editors

By Eleanor B. Saslaw

Regarding Kristen Amundson’s July 11 Local Opinions piece, “National education standards: The right answer for Virginia”:

In taking Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Virginia Board of Education to task for not adopting the Common Core national education standards, Ms. Amundson ignored recent actions to strengthen Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL).

The College Board and the America Diploma Project — organizations advocating postsecondary reform and rigor — recognize Virginia’s newly revised reading and mathematics standards as containing content essential to college and career readiness. In addition, the state superintendent and I are committed to raising the bar by increasing the number of items on reading and mathematics SOL tests that students must answer correctly to demonstrate proficiency.

Word-for-word adoption of the Common Core — required to compete in the federal Race to the Top contest — would interrupt this revision of Virginia’s standards, which began well before the national standards initiative was launched. Whatever gaps may exist between the SOL and the Common Core can be addressed in the curriculum frameworks that detail content at each grade level.

The Common Core initiative has produced grade-by-grade objectives, but corresponding assessments, aligned instructional materials and resources won’t be available for several years. Given the uncertainties surrounding the Common Core, Virginia is wisely moving forward with an accountability program that has made the commonwealth’s public schools among the highest-achieving in the nation.

The writer is president of the Virginia Board of Education.

By editors  | July 21, 2010; 10:04 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia, schools  
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