For Immediate Release - April 7, 2010
Governor Bob McDonnell Signs Second Initiative of "Opportunity to Learn" Education Reform Agenda
Legislation develops criteria for virtual school programs in Virginia
LYNCHBURG – Governor Bob McDonnell signed SB738 and HB1388 this afternoon, legislation developing the criteria for virtual school programs in Virginia. This legislation is the second component of McDonnell’s "Opportunity to Learn" education reform agenda that passed the General Assembly with broad bipartisan support. The bills signed today establish guidelines for virtual school programs through local school boards around the Commonwealth. Virtual school students utilize technology in order to learn full-time through a distance learning environment outside of the traditional classroom. McDonnell was joined at Brookville High School by bill patrons Senator Steve Newman and Delegate Dickie Bell, and Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson.
Speaking about today’s bill signing, Governor McDonnell remarked, "The expansion of virtual school programs in Virginia will enable students all across the state to receive the services of highly qualified, Virginia-certified teachers without being limited by classroom walls. This legislation will provide flexibility and options to children who struggle in traditional classroom environments. A couple months ago I had the opportunity to speak with students enrolled in a virtual school program through the Virginia Virtual Academy. We were able to demonstrate, from the Executive Mansion, how students in a virtual school program connect everyday through their computers and learn through full-time distance learning, outside of the traditional classroom environment."
McDonnell continued, "Virtual schools are just one way to expand education options to public school students in Virginia. A child's educational opportunities should be determined by her intellect and work ethic, not by her zip code. All three parts of my "Opportunity to Learn" agenda were designed to implement real education reform in Virginia, allowing Virginia’s students greater access to the high quality education they deserve. Expanding virtual school programs, college lab partnership schools and charter schools in Virginia will provide opportunities to students to learn in an environment that suits them best and give students that are at-risk or disadvantaged increased access to innovation and opportunities."
Delegate Dickie Bell, bill patron in the House of Delegates, commented, "Expanding virtual schools in Virginia will enable our young children to learn through distance learning, at their pace, with access to highly-qualified teachers. Taking away classroom walls opens up tremendous possibilities for more challenging learning and greater options for our students, whether they live in a rural area like my district or a metropolitan area."
Senator Steve Newman, bill patron in the Virginia Senate, also noted, "Today’s bill signing represents a major step towards education reform in Virginia. Our students need more options, to learn in an environment that suits them best. Virtual schools provide an excellent option and will improve access for students all across the state to well-qualified teachers and increasingly challenging course material, no matter where they live."
More information on the legislation can be found below: