Virginia Board of Education
News & Announcements
On June 18, 2020, the Virginia Board of Education unanimous adopted the following statement regarding systemic racism, racial justice and education. The Board remains committed to making good on the promise of a high-quality education for every child by eliminating racial and socioeconomic inequities in Virginia’s public education system.
Statement from the Virginia Board of Education
The history of people of color, particularly Black Americans, in our country is a history of strength, perseverance, courageous struggle, agency and hope. But we also know that history is marked by exploitation, oppression, disenfranchisement, and discrimination. As part of broader systems of oppression, people of color have been denied access to the schoolhouse based on the color of their skin. The fight for equal access to public education is longstanding and endures to this day. The brave actions of Mary Peake, Barbara Johns, Ruby Bridges, the Norfolk 17, and countless other students, parents, and civil rights leaders helped break down racial barriers to education. The Board recognizes that equal access to a high-quality public education is a fundamental right of all Virginians, regardless of race, gender, creed, color or sexual orientation. However, systemic racism and discrimination still exist in public education, and too often, a student’s skin color or socioeconomic status predicts the quality of their educational opportunities. As education leaders in the Commonwealth, we have a responsibility to recognize and confront such racism and discrimination.
The Virginia Board of Education is committed to ensuring that Virginia students learn and understand the complex and often untold history of Black Americans in Virginia, and our nation. Through the work of the Commission on African American History Education, a review of Virginia’s History Standards of Learning, instructional practices, and professional development supports is underway, with recommendations due September 1, 2020. Further, the Virginia Department of Education is revising its process for reviewing all Standards of Learning so that all voices are heard during the revision process. As part of the statutory duty to establish the educational objectives for the Commonwealth, the Board is committed to making the necessary revisions to the Virginia’s Standards of Learning to ensure an accurate and comprehensive history of and contributions from Black Americans is taught in Virginia’s public schools.
Further, the Board remains committed to prioritizing equity in every facet of Virginia’s public education system, to ensure every child receives what they need, when they need it, to access a high-quality public education. This vision of equity extends across race, socioeconomic status, and regional diversity. In October 2019, the Board prescribed revised Standards of Quality, and advocated for their implementation during the 2020 General Assembly, in order for the Commonwealth to make progress towards equity of opportunity and outcome for all of Virginia’s students.
The current system of funding for our schools, codified as the Standards of Quality, has not resulted in meaningful changes in educational outcomes. In fact, in combined effect with the previously long-standing Standards of Accreditation, segregation in our schools has increased. We have seen resources, in terms of funding and personnel, migrate to schools and localities that disproportionately served fewer students of color. The result has been a recognized achievement gap that continues to persist.
The Board of Education stands firm in its conviction that the state needs to change how it structures public education funding, and how much it provides to public schools, primarily through the Standards of Quality. Without such action, we believe student achievement gaps, easily predicted by race and socioeconomic status, will stubbornly persist as they have for decades.
An environment that fosters personal growth and economic opportunity is foundational to broader societal equality. Education is the precursor to both. Without a meaningful change to public education funding in Virginia, we believe that the unacceptable results we see today won’t change.
Therefore, today the Board recommits to making good on the promise of a high-quality education for every child by eliminating racial and socioeconomic inequities in Virginia’s public education system. The Board calls on the Virginia General Assembly to make progress on funding and implementing concepts embedded in the 2019 Standards of Quality in order to close the achievement gap and advance equity of opportunity and outcome for Virginia’s students. Additionally, the Board calls on fellow leaders across the Commonwealth to examine policies, procedures and funding through the lens of racial inequity to implement necessary reform to ensure children of every race have equal access to educational opportunity. Virginia’s leaders have a shared responsibility to deliver on the promise of a high-quality education for every child, and together, with intentional action to dismantle racism and eliminate achievement gaps, we can fulfill that promise for every learner.
If you have questions, please contact Emily Webb, Director of Board Relations, at Emily.Webb@doe.virginia.gov or 804-225-2924.
The vision of the Board of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction, in cooperation with their partners, is to create an excellent statewide system of public education that derives strength from our diversity and that ensures equity of opportunity for each student in a safe and healthy learning environment that prepares all students to be capable, responsible, and self-reliant citizens in the global society.
The mission of the Board of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction, in cooperation with their partners, is to develop policies and provide leadership that improve student achievement and prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education and the workplace, and to become engaged and enlightened citizens.
The main duties of the Board of Education include:
- Setting statewide curriculum standards;
- Establishing high school graduation requirements;
- Determining qualifications for classroom teachers, principals, and other education personnel;
- Establishing state testing and assessment programs;
- Establishing standards for accreditation of local school divisions and preparation programs for teachers and administrators;
- Implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and administering federal assistance programs; and
- Developing rules and regulations for the administration of state programs.
The Board of Education consists of nine members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. Members are appointed to serve a term of four years. No member shall be appointed to more than two consecutive four-year terms.
In accordance with § 22.1-16 of the Code of Virginia, the board has adopted the Bylaws of the Virginia Board of Education (PDF) for its own governance to carry out its powers and duties. The bylaws were last amended February 25, 2016.
Priorities & Goals for Public Education in Virginia: 2018-2023
The Board of Education's priorities and goals are the foundation for providing high-quality educational opportunities for all public school students in Virginia. In identifying these priorities and goals, the Board reached out to families, students, educators, administrators, community members, business leaders, higher education institutions, and the public through hundreds of comments provided during Board public hearings, presentations, and through correspondence. To ensure that all children in the Commonwealth have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for successful, healthy, and fulfilling lives, the Board developed the following priorities as outlined in the comprehensive plan:
- Priority 1: Provide high-quality, effective learning environments for all students
- Priority 2: Advance policies that increase the number of candidates entering the teaching profession and encourage and support the recruitment, development, and retention of well-prepared and skilled teachers and school leaders
- Priority 3: Ensure successful implementation of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate and the accountability system for school quality as embodied in the revisions to the Standards of Accreditation
The Board will continue to meet all statutory and regulatory requirements and work to engage all stakeholders in policy decisions and actions related to the Board's priorities and goals.
Go to Board of the Education’s Comprehensive Plan: 2018-2023 for more information.
To contact a member of the Virginia Board of Education, please email BOE@doe.virginia.gov.