2020 General Assembly Session

Instruction and Standards of Learning Related Legislation

2020 General Assembly Summary
Instruction & Standards of Learning Related Legislation
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations

This report describes all of the Instruction & Standards of Learning-related legislation considered during the 2020 General Assembly Regular Session.  Bills are listed in one of three categories: Approved, Continued to 2021, or Failed. 

Approved legislation goes into effect on July 1, 2020 unless otherwise specified in the legislation itself.

Bills designated as “Continued to 2021” are effectively “Failed” for purposes of the 2020 Session, but can still be acted upon by the Committee that recommended continuing the legislation prior to the 2021 Session (by December 3, 2020).  Even if a bill were to be acted upon prior to that deadline (which rarely occurs), it would still have to proceed through the remainder of the legislative process (pass in both chambers, signed by the Governor) during the 2021 Session.

Summaries are linked to the Division of Legislative Services’ web pages for text, up to date summary information, and fiscal impact statements. If a bill of interest is not found in one category, please check another as legislation often can fit under multiple categories.

UPDATED:  March 30, 2020

INSTRUCTION & STANDARDS OF LEARNING - PASSED

Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide; Board of Education Review and Revise HB 1680 (Tyler) requires the Board of Education to review and revise, in consultation with certain stakeholders, its Career and Technical Education Work-Based Learning Guide to expand the opportunities available for students to earn credit for graduation through high-quality work-based learning experiences or in the case of agricultural education, supervised agricultural experiences, in addition to job shadowing, mentorships, internships, and externships. Such revisions are to be completed no later than December 1, 2020.

Child Care Providers; Out-of-State Background Checks SB 668 (Boysko) requires certain child care providers and employees or volunteers thereof to submit to background checks that include a criminal history record information check and sex offender registry check in any state in which the applicant has resided in the preceding five years.

Commission on Civic Education; Sunset and Funding; Membership SB 957 (Marsden) repeals the sunset provision for the Commission on Civic Education and repeals a prohibition on the use of general funds to support the work of the Commission. The bill also increases and adjusts the makeup of the Commission's membership.

Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee HB 916 (Sickles) and SB 853 (Boysko) require the Department of Education to establish and appoint such members as it deems appropriate to a Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee for the purpose of providing (i) standards recommendations to the Department of Education that shall be considered by the Board of Education during the 2021-2022 review of the history and social science Standards of Learning and (ii) recommendations on meaningful professional development with school personnel related to culturally relevant and inclusive education practices. The bills require the Committee to report its recommendations to the Board of Education, the Governor, and the Chairs of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than July 1, 2021. HB 916 incorporates HB 483 (Kory) and HB 1110 (Hudson).

Digital Devices; Guidelines for Use of HB 817 (Hope) requires the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Health and medical professional societies, to develop and distribute health and safety best practice guidelines for the use of digital devices in public schools no later than the 2021-2022 school year.

Dyslexia and Literacy; Multisensory Structured Language Education SB 904 (Vogel) direct the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to facilitate the development of a statewide coalition of public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, by December 1, 2020, to gather and share information on the latest evidence-based methods and approaches to prepare teachers to effectively educate K-12 students in reading, including multisensory structured language education to instruct students with dyslexia. The bill allows each public institution's school of education, education department, or relevant department for the career paths of K-12 reading specialists and teachers to collect such information and collaborate with other public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth regarding the latest reliable research for reading instruction to all K-12 students, with an emphasis on improving reading instruction to students with dyslexia.

Early Childhood Care and Education; Establishment of System, Licensure HB 1012 (Bulova) and SB 578 (Howell) require the Board of Education to establish a statewide unified public-private system for early childhood care and education in the Commonwealth to be administered by the Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Department of Education. The bills transfer the authority to license and regulate child day programs and other early child care agencies from the Board of Social Services and Department of Social Services to the Board of Education and Department of Education. The bills maintain current licensure, background check, and other requirements of such programs. Such provisions of the bills have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2021. The bills require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a plan for implementing the statewide unified early childhood care and education system and requires the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education to enter into a cooperative agreement to coordinate the transition. The bills also require the Board of Education to establish, no later than July 1, 2021, a uniform quality rating and improvement system designed to provide parents and families with information about the quality and availability of certain publicly funded early childhood care and education providers and to publish the initial quality ratings under such system in the fall of 2023.

Family Life Education Programs; Materials; Summaries HB 1394 (Leftwich) requires each local school board that offers a family life education program to post for public viewing on the local school division's official website a summary of such program. The bill also requires local school boards to share through any available parental portal a complete copy of all printed family life education program materials not subject to copyright protection and a description of all family life education program audio-visual materials. The bill requires each local school board to implement the foregoing provisions no later than the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

Family Life Education; Standards of Learning and Curriculum Guidelines; Contemporary Community HB 1336 (Keam) requires each school board to conduct a review of its family life education curricula at least once every seven years, to evaluate whether such curricula reflect community standards, and to revise such curricula if necessary.

Gifted Students Educational Services; comprehensive review  HB 1139 (Keam) requires the Board of Education, as part of its current comprehensive review of its Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students, to consider revisions to the process of screening and identifying students for eligibility for gifted and talented programs and referring students to such programs to improve the identification of student populations that are underrepresented in such programs, including economically disadvantaged students, English language learner students, and students with disabilities and the data collection requirements of the annual report required by such regulations to better inform equitable screening and identification for and access to gifted and talented programs for student populations that are underrepresented in such programs.  

Kindergarten Instructional Time SB 238 (Barker) increases from 540 hours to 990 hours the minimum instructional hours in a school year for students in kindergartenThe bill directs the Board of Education to adopt regulations by July 1, 2022, establishing standards for accreditation that include a requirement that the standard school day for students in kindergarten average at least 5.5 instructional hours in order to qualify for full accreditation. The provisions of the bill become effective beginning July 1, 2022. 

Parental Notice; Literacy and Response to Intervention Screening and Services HB 410 (Delaney) requires each local school board to enact a policy to require that timely written notification is provided to the parents of any student who undergoes literacy and Response to Intervention screening and services or does not meet the benchmark on any assessment used to determine at-risk learners in preschool through grade 12, which notification shall include all such assessment scores and sub-scores and any intervention plan that results from such assessment scores or sub-scores.

Religious-Exempt Child Day Centers; Staff-to-Children Ratios HB 1235 (Wilt) and SB 927 (Hanger) provide that, with respect to a child day center that is exempt from licensure due to its operation under the auspices of a religious institution, the applicable staff-to children ratio for children receiving care in a group shall be based on the age of the youngest child in such group.

Social-Emotional Learning and Development HB 753 (Rasoul) requires the Department of Education to establish a uniform definition of social-emotional learning and develop guidance standards for social-emotional learning for all public students in grades kindergarten through 12 in the Commonwealth; make such standards available to each local school division no later than July 1, 2021; and issue a report no later than November 1, 2021, on the resources needed to successfully support local school divisions with the implementation of a statewide social-emotional learning program.

 

INSTRUCTION – CONTINUED TO 2021

College and Career Readiness Steering Committee HB 958 (Ayala) would require the Secretary of Education to establish a 21-member College and Career Readiness Steering Committee to develop and oversee implementation of a strategic plan for ensuring that all students in the Commonwealth, and particularly subgroups of students who have been historically underserved, graduate from high school meeting the requirements for an advanced studies diploma, having had the opportunity to participate and succeed in pathways that integrate rigorous academic instruction aligned with the Standards of Learning, including career and technical education, work-based learning, wraparound services, and opportunities to earn credit for postsecondary education while enrolled in high school, and having had a high school experience that is aligned with expectations for postsecondary education and employer demand and provide certain recommendations, guidance, leadership, goals, and assistance relating to the implementation of such strategic plan.

Computer Science or Introduction to Technology Course Requirements, Students in Grades Six, Seven, and Eight HB 694 (Simonds) would require each student in grades six, seven, and eight, starting in the 2025–2026 school year, to complete at least one semester-long or year-long computer science elective course or introduction to technology course that is aligned with the appropriate Standards of Learning and may include the following content: examining systems and resources of technology, solving problems in technology, introducing microcontrollers, exploring the designed world, computing systems, networks and the Internet, cybersecurity, data and analysis, algorithms and programming, and the impacts of computing. The bill would provide that no such student shall be required to complete an end-of-course assessment for any such course. The bill would require the Board of Education to amend or create Standards of Learning as necessary to implement the foregoing provisions and requires the Department of Education to confer with certain organizations to ensure that the proper training is available to the teachers of such courses.

Dual Enrollment; Course Credit for; Strategies for Enhancing Opportunities HB 195 (Orrock) would require the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, in consultation with each public institution of higher education and in collaboration with the Department of Education, to include in its policy for granting undergraduate course credit to any entering student who has successfully completed a dual enrollment course strategies for public high schools and institutions of higher education to enhance dual enrollment opportunities for students.

Education and Workforce Development; Virginia Works Portal SB 363 (Dunnavant) would create the Virginia Works Portal to provide one-stop access to information regarding education pathways, career opportunities, and workforce development information available from agencies, institutions, and entities around the Commonwealth. The bill would provide that the Portal shall provide an interactive, user-friendly environment and must be available to the public by July 1, 2021.

Sixth Grade Science Curriculum SB 779 (Lewis) would direct the Department of Education to coordinate with the Department of Environmental Quality to update the "Window into a Green Virginia" curriculum developed by the Departments for sixth grade science to include a unit on the benefits, including the energy benefits, of recycling and reuse.

Reading Diagnostic Tests and Instruction HB 332 (Hope) would require the Department of Education to develop and implement a geographically representative two-year pilot program to administer reading diagnostic tests that include all components of a normed rapid automatized naming test. The bill would require each local school division in the pilot program to provide evidence-based instruction, including structured literacy instruction, to students in kindergarten through grade three who fall below the benchmark on any such reading diagnostic test or demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the Standards of Learning reading test.

Public Institutions of Higher Education; Entrance Requirements; Computer Coding HB 1309 (Carroll Foy) would require each public institution of higher education to count credit received for successful completion of a high school computer coding course toward the mathematics or science entrance requirements of the institution.

 

INSTRUCTION - FAILED

Civic Education; Recommendations for Improving HB 223 (McNamara) would have required the Department of Education to develop and report to the Board of Education, the Governor, and the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than July 1, 2021, recommendations for improving civic education for each public elementary and secondary school student in the Commonwealth, including strategies for expanding their level of civic knowledge, increasing their respect for the political history of the Commonwealth and the United States, mitigating the politically polarizing effects that the mainstream media can have on such students, and helping such students become civically and politically engaged in a rational and civil manner. 

Critical National Security Language Grant Fund and Program; Established HB 156 (Sickles) would have established the Critical National Security Language Grant Fund and the Critical National Security Language Grant Program within the Department of Education for the purpose of awarding grants on a competitive basis to any school division that provides a foreign language course in a foreign language that is currently identified as critical by the National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship program. Such grants are limited to $5,000 per student who successfully completes a critical foreign language course per school year. 

Early Childhood Care SB 599 (Hanger) would have required the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Commissioner of Social Services to (i) convene a stakeholder group to consider the development of a statewide unified public-private system for early childhood care and education in the Commonwealth and (ii) collaborate to develop a uniform quality rating and improvement system with required participation by publicly funded early childhood care and education programs and voluntary participation by privately funded providers.

Electives on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament and the New Testament HB 1122 (Robinson) would have required local school boards to offer as an elective in grades nine through 12 with appropriate credits toward graduation a course, either in a traditional classroom setting or in a virtual classroom setting, on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament of the Bible or the New Testament of the Bible or a combined course on both. SB 132 (Chase) would have required the Board of Education to authorize local school boards to offer as an elective in grades nine through 12 with appropriate credits toward graduation a course on the Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament of the Bible or the New Testament of the Bible or a combined course on both.

Experiential Learning and Workforce Development Opportunities in High-Demand Fields, Report HJ 66 (Kilgore) would have requested the Department of Education to study experiential learning and workforce development opportunities for high school students in high-demand fields.

Family Life Education Programs; Student Participation HB 683 (LaRock) would have prohibited any public elementary or secondary school student from participating in any family life education program without the prior written consent of his parent.

Financial Literacy Objectives; Mathematics Standards of Learning; Report HB 197 (Orrock) would have required the Department of Education to determine and report to the General Assembly no later than December 1, 2020, the feasibility of incorporating the Board of Education's student financial literacy objectives into the appropriate pre-high school mathematics Standards of Learning.

Firearm Safety Education Program HB 939 (Webert) and SB 129 (Norment) would have required local school boards to provide firearm safety education programs for students in high school. The bills would have required the Board of Education to establish curriculum guidelines for the program, in consultation with the Department of State Police, and requires that the program be taught by a school resource officer, other law-enforcement officer, or a United States Armed Forces instructor. The bills would have prohibited the use of firearms in the program. SJ 77 (Norment) would have requested the Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, in collaboration with the Department of Education, to study, develop, and recommend best practices for firearm safety education in the Commonwealth's public schools.

Homework Assignments; Internet Connection HB 1177 (Poindexter) would have required each school board to establish a policy to prohibit any teacher in the school division from assigning to any student a homework assignment that requires the use of an Internet connection that is capable of transmitting information at a rate that is not less than 256 kilobits per second in at least one direction when such student lacks meaningful access to such an Internet connection.  

Success Sequence, Public Elementary Schools; Instruction; HB 1089 (Miyares) would have required each public elementary school principal to ensure that instruction on the importance of the success sequence, which the bill defines as the sequential act of graduating from high school, securing full-time employment, and marrying before having children and the impact that has on poverty in the United States, is provided at least annually to each student at the grade level that the principal deems appropriate. The bill would have permitted such instruction to be incorporated into existing curricula and to be delivered in collaboration with any other entity or individual.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Programs; Grants HB 953 (Ayala) would have stablished the STEAM Education Fund for the purpose of awarding grants in amounts not to exceed $50,000 annually to any public elementary or secondary school in the Commonwealth at which at least 25 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch that provides an academic class, curriculum, or activity focused on a science, technology, engineering, arts, or mathematics (STEAM) discipline.

Sixth Grade Science Curriculum HB 272 (VanValkenburg)  would have directed the Department of Education to coordinate with the Department of Environmental Quality to update the "Window into a Green Virginia" curriculum developed by the Departments for sixth grade science to include a unit on the benefits, including the energy benefits, of recycling and reuse. 

Virtual Virginia; Availability HB 1711 (Bagby) would have required Virtual Virginia to be made available to every public middle school student in the Commonwealth and permit it to be available to every public elementary school in the Commonwealth. Existing law requires availability only to public high schools.  SB 142 (Dunnavant) would have required that the Virtual Virginia Program, the statewide electronic classroom established by the Department of Education, be made available to all public schools. The bill would have required the Department to utilize a learning management system for the purposes of implementing Virtual Virginia. The bill also would have authorized the Department to charge a per-student, per-course fee to school divisions for each student enrolled in a full-time Virtual Virginia program beyond an initial allotment of 15 such students per course, per school. The bill would have prohibited the Department from limiting the total number of such students by school division.  

Volunteer Cybersecurity and Information Technology Professionals; Workforce Development and Mentorship HB 524 (Subramanyam) would have directed the Secretary of Administration to establish a register of cybersecurity and information technology professionals interested in volunteering to assist localities and school divisions, in collaborating on workforce development, and in providing mentorship opportunities.