Legislative black caucus opposes McDonnell's education package
For the second time this week, the legislative black caucus has come out against an education proposal pushed by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R).
This time, the group opposes his plan to create virtual schools in which students can learn outside traditional classrooms and laboratory schools that would benefit from partnerships with Virginia colleges and universities.
"We simply cannot support an education reform package that does not adequately address the drastic budget cuts our schools are experiencing," Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth). "While we are debating numerous, painful and debilitating cuts to schools in our communities that will impact a generation of students, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus will not support any legislation that offers opportunities to a few and leaves the vast majority our children behind."
The caucus wrote in a statement today that it questions the purpose of McDonnell's education proposals when a multi-billion state budget shortfall will result in layoffs, larger classroom sizes and cuts to programs for at-risk children.
The decision means that the caucus is opposing McDonnell's entire education package. On Monday, it came out against his proposal to expand the number of charter schools in Virginia even though the schools are backed by President Obama and one of the caucus's own members, Del. Rosalyn R. Dance (D-Petersburg).
Members of the black caucus and local officials worry about McDonnell's desire to give the state more control over charter schools applicants -- a move that also appears to contradict the governor's conservative philosophy. McDonnell's office has been working behind the scenes to negotiate a compromise with groups that represent teachers, school boards and superintendents -- that have been vocal in their opposition to the bill -- to return some power to the local boards and ease concerns about the state having final control over applications. The bill be heard Thursday.
We have asked for a response from the governor's office. We'll let you know when we receive one.
February 24, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate
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