2021 General Assembly Session

Standards of Quality/Standards of Accreditation Related Legislation

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

This report describes the Standards of Quality 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: 04/26/211

PASSED

JLARC Study; Costs of Education SJ 294 (Lewis) directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study the true cost of education in the Commonwealth and provide an accurate assessment of the costs to implement the Standards of Quality.  An interim report will be available by November 30, 2022 and the final report will be completed on or before November 30, 2023.

Specialized Student Support Positions, Standards of Quality SB 1257 (McClellan) modifies a school personnel requirement in Standard 2 of the Standards of Quality and will require each school board to provide at least three specialized student support positions, which can include school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions, per 1,000 students.

FAILED

High School Graduation Requirements; Certain Substitutions HB 1947 (Davis) would have required the Board of Education, in establishing high school graduation requirements, to provide for the substitution of computer coding course credit for any foreign language course credit required to graduate with a standard or advanced diploma for children with disabilities. Such requirement would have replaced a narrower provision in current law that requires the Board to permit a student who is pursuing an advanced diploma and whose individualized education program specifies a credit accommodation for world language to substitute two standard units of credit in computer science for two standard units of credit in a world language.

School Equity and Staffing Act; Standards of Quality; Work-Based Learning; Teacher Leaders and Mentors; Principal Mentors; Certain Personnel Positions and Initiatives HB 1929 (Aird) would have made several changes to the Standards of Quality, including requiring the establishment of units in the Department of Education to oversee work-based learning and principal mentorship statewide in Standard 1 and requiring the Board of Education to establish and oversee the local implementation of teacher leader and teacher mentor programs in Standard 5. The bill would have also made several changes relating to school personnel in Standard 2, including establishing schoolwide ratios of students to teachers in certain schools with high concentrations of poverty and granting flexibility to provide compensation adjustments to teachers in such schools; requiring each school board to assign licensed personnel in a manner that provides an equitable distribution of experienced, effective teachers and other personnel among all schools in the local school division; requiring each school board to employ teacher leaders and teacher mentors at specified student-to-position ratios; requiring state funding in addition to basic aid to support at-risk students and granting flexibility in the use of such funds by school boards; lowering the ratio of English language learner students to teachers; requiring each school board to employ reading specialists and establishing a student-to-position ratio for such specialists;  requiring school boards to employ one full-time principal in each elementary school; lowering the ratio of students to assistant principals and school counselors in elementary, middle, and high schools; and requiring each school board to provide at least four specialized student support positions, including school social workers, school psychologists, school nurses, licensed behavior analysts, licensed assistant behavior analysts, and other licensed health and behavioral positions, per 1,000 students.  Note however that SB 1257 (McClellan) as passed did include one change (requiring specialized student support positions) which was also proposed in this legislation.

Standards of Quality Constitutional Amendment HJ 548 (Hurst) would have provided that it is the responsibility of the Commonwealth, rather than the General Assembly, to provide for a system of free public elementary and secondary schools and to ensure a high-quality educational program is established and maintained. The amendment would have also removed the authority of the General Assembly to revise the standards of quality that are determined and prescribed by the Board of Education for school divisions.  Current constitutional language requires the General Assembly only to “seek to ensure” a high-quality education program.