RICHMOND – After grappling this morning over how much input parents and other citizens should have into the state’s Standards of Learning exams, a House panel decided against creating a special review board for those groups.
Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William County, said many parents are unhappy with the tests and want a better way to provide recommendations. HB1827 would have created a Citizens Standards of Learning Review Board to provide “common sense” advice when the standards come up for revision.
“SOLs, frankly, have been controversial,” Lingamfelter told his colleagues on the House Education Committee. “And I think parents feel left out.”
Under the bill, each school division would accept nominations for the citizens review board and recommend two people. The Speaker of the House would choose seven, the Senate would select four and the governor would pick two. The superintendent of public instruction and the chairs of the House and Senate education committees would serve as advisory, non-voting members.
The committee voted down the bill. Opponents said they didn’t want to create another layer of bureaucracy in the SOL process and that citizens already have opportunities to voice their opinions.
Anne Dudley Wescott, assistant superintendent of policy and communications for the Department of Education, said the Board of Education receives hundreds of comments, mostly through email and its website, each time the SOLs come up for review. The board considers that feedback and also conducts public hearings, she said.
“We get lots and lots of input,” Wescott said. “And we welcome that.”
-Kathy Adams, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot