George Allen (U.S. Politician) - Virginia Governor (1994-1998) - Standards of Learning

Standards of Learning

In June 1995, the Virginia Board of Education adopted Governor Allen’s Commission on Champion Schools recommendation for statewide standardized tests for academic accountability. The Board of Education voted in favor of implementing the Standards of Learning (SOLs) which measures student achievements and ensures accountability for schools in the core subjects of English, mathematics, history, economics, and science. The commission also recommended the creation of an annual ‘report card’ to grade each public school's performance stating that: “If Virginia’s youngsters can’t make the grade, then neither should their schools” (2)(9). Experts suggested that in order to improve the quality of learning, a school should emphasize academic goals and effective leadership. By using measurement through tests, the state, teachers, and parents can monitor the effectiveness of schools teaching the basic fundamental subjects (1). Allen’s legislation used public data of SOLs test scores along with school attendance and drop-out rates to ensure that unsatisfactory schools are accountable by the threat of state takeover through court action.

Initially, Allen succeeded in keeping Virginia’s educational reform independent from federal funding by using a line-item veto in the state’s budget, a power granted to Virginia governors. Allen argued that federal funding would force the Commonwealth to adhere to federal regulation, therefore, restricting the freedom of Virginia to craft its own high academic standards education plan. Despite Allen’s efforts to keep Virginia independent from federal education funds, the Virginia Board of Education applied for federal funds through the program Goals 2000.

During Allen’s tenure as Governor, the American Federation of Teachers rated the SOLs “exemplary” in the four core subjects.

Read more about this topic:  George Allen (U.S. Politician), Virginia Governor (1994-1998)

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