2021 General Assembly Session

Instruction and Standards of Learning Related Legislation

2021 General Assembly Summary – Final Report
Instruction and Standards of Learning Related Legislation
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations

This report describes the Instruction and Standards of Learning related legislation considered during the 2021 General Assembly Regular, Special, and Reconvened Sessions.  Bills are listed as having Passed or Failed.  Any legislation labeled as Passed was signed by the Governor and will go into effect on July 1, 2021 unless otherwise specified in the legislation itself.

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: 04/26/2021


Computer Science Standards, Courses, and Pathways in Public Schools Comprehensive Review; Report HB 1885 (Simonds) requires the Department of Education to perform a comprehensive review of the ongoing implementation of mandatory computer science standards in elementary schools and middle schools and the alignment of middle school and high school computer science courses and course pathways. The bill s such review to include recommendations for implementation processes at the local level, profiles of implementation processes that have been successful for school divisions, a description of opportunities for enhanced collaboration with relevant computer science stakeholders to expand computer science education opportunities for all students in the Commonwealth and for relevant professional development for teachers, and examining methods of data collection annually from local school divisions pertaining to computer science implementation. The bill requires the Department of Education to prepare a report on its comprehensive review and provide such report to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health, the Secretary of Education, and the Superintendent of Public Instruction no later than November 1, 2021.

Early Childhood Education; Quality Rating and Improvement System Participation; School Readiness Committee HB 2105 (Bulova) delays until the 2022 - 2023 school year the requirement for all publicly funded early childhood education providers to participate in a quality rating and improvement system to be established by the Board of Education by July 1, 2021. The bill also delays from the fall of 2023 to the fall of 2024 the publication of initial quality ratings for such providers. The bill also reinstates the School Readiness Committee and alter the composition and scope of the work of the School Readiness Committee.

Economic Education and Financial Literacy Required in Middle and High School Grades; Employment Arrangements HB 1905 (Cole, J.G.)  adds to objectives developed and approved by the Board of Education for economics education and financial literacy at the middle and high school levels the implications of various employment arrangements regarding benefits, protections, and long-term financial sustainability. Employment arrangements are defined in the bill as full-time employment, part-time employment, independent contract work, gig work, piece work, contingent work, day labor work, freelance work, and 1099 work.

Health Standards of Learning; Advanced Directive Education SB 1190 (Kiggans)  directs the Board of Education to include advanced directive education in its curriculum framework for the Health Standards of Learning for high school students.

Reading Intervention Services HB 1865 (Delaney) requires reading intervention services for students in kindergarten through grade three who demonstrate deficiencies based on their individual performance on the Standards of Learning reading test or any reading diagnostic test that meets criteria established by the Department of Education to be evidence-based, including services that are grounded in the science of reading, and include explicit, systematic, sequential, and cumulative instruction, to include phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and text comprehension as appropriate based on the student's demonstrated reading deficiencies. The bill requires the parent of each student who receives such reading intervention services to be notified before the services begin and the progress of each such student to be monitored throughout the provision of services.

Learner's Permits; use of personal communications device SB 1335 (Stuart) eliminates the stand alone provision prohibiting a holder of a learner's permit to operate a vehicle while using a wireless telecommunications device as the provision was specific only to the holder of a learner's permit. Under a different current law, all drivers, including those with a learner's permit, are prohibited from holding a personal communications device while operating a vehicle.

Student Driver Education Program; Parent Participation Exemption HB 2119 (Keam) exempts students who are at least 18 years old, emancipated minors, or unaccompanied minors who are not in the physical custody of their parent or guardian from the requirement to participate in the parent/student component of a school's driver education program as required in Planning District 8 and authorized elsewhere in the Commonwealth.

Student Driver Safety HB 1918 (Mugler) and SB 1169 (Norment) require (i) driver education programs to include instruction on the dangers of distracted driving and speeding and (ii) a student to submit a standard application form developed by the Department of Education by which the student provides evidence that he possesses a valid driver's license or driver privilege card before being issued a pass to park a vehicle on high school property.

Virginia STEM Education Advisory Board; Established; Report HB 2058 (Simonds)  creates the Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Advisory Board to create a unified vision regarding STEM education initiatives, language, and measures of success to promote a culture of collaboration for STEM programming in the Commonwealth. The Board will be tasked with developing the infrastructure for creating STEM Regional Hubs and naming STEM Champions in communities across the Commonwealth. Additionally, the Board will report annually to the Governor and the General Assembly on STEM challenges, goals, and successes across the Commonwealth.

Workforce Development Data Sharing HB 1876 (Subramanyam) expands the type of workforce development data that state agencies may share with the Virginia Workforce System to support workforce program evaluation and policy analysis. The bill removes the requirement that all personal identifying information be removed before being shared among other state agencies and with the Workforce Development System and instead requires the identifying attribute information necessary to match entities across programs, support the coordination of services, and evaluate outcomes to be shared among agencies that enter into the memorandum of understanding supporting the Virginia Workforce Data Trust.


Apprenticeship training programs; DOLI to study the future need for programs HJ 529 (Simonds) would have requested the Department of Labor and Industry to study the need for apprenticeship training programs in Virginia, including (i) the future workforce needs of the construction industry; (ii) the economic impacts of a lack of highly skilled, well-trained craft personnel; (iii) construction industry workforce needs in the Commonwealth in response to potential large-scale investments in infrastructure by the federal government; (iv) what role apprenticeship programs will play in the development and acceleration of new industries, such as renewable energy; (v) whether the expansion of apprenticeships would contribute to greater diversity in construction workforce participation from women and people of color; and (vi) how expanding apprenticeship training programs would affect job security and workplace safety in the Commonwealth. In addition, the Department would have been requested to undertake an in-depth study of best practices used by state governments and convene a stakeholder advisory group to discuss expansion of critically needed apprenticeship training programs in the Commonwealth's construction industry.

Family Life Education Curriculum Guidelines; Human Reproduction; Viewing of Ultrasound Video Recording HB 2244 (LaRock) would have required the instruction on human reproduction contained in the Board of Education's family life education curriculum guidelines to include the viewing of a video recording of an ultrasound of a live unborn human in the uterus.

Pandemic Remediation Task Force Established HB 2184 (Wilt) would have established the 22-member Pandemic Remediation Task Force (the task force) as an advisory task force in the executive branch of state government, to be administered by the Department of Education, for the purpose of making recommendations on strategies for improving public education in the Commonwealth in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that can be implemented in each region and local school division in order to achieve a measure of uniformity in such improvements across the Commonwealth.