By Don Soifer
Virginia’s public officials are fond of describing the commonwealth’s schools as among the finest in the nation. But while students here perform very well on national indicators, typically in the highest one-fourth of states on nationally administered exams like the National Assessment of Educational Progress, what these results lack are the impressive gains that come with a statewide commitment to educational innovation.
One promising change being considered by the Virginia General Assembly would open the door to a reform approach that is demonstrating impressive results outside the commonwealth. Gov.Bob McDonnell’s plan to change state teacher certification rules to permit Teach for America corps members to teach in public schools would add a valuable tool to the tool chests of local school boards and officials seeking to embrace innovation.
Soifer is executive vice president of the Lexington Institute in Arlington.