- Report Published -
|Status of Education Reform in Virginia|
|Secretary of Education; Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Board of Education; Department of Education|
|SJR 331 (Regular Session, 1993)|
|The 1993 General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution No. 599 and Senate Joint Resolution 331 which requested the Secretaries of Education and Economic Development to implement World Class Education, relative to the recommendations of Workforce Virginia 2000. "World Class Education" is the name given to the State Board of Education's efforts at systemic education reform in Virginia's public schools, kindergarten through grade 12. ''Workforce Virginia 2000" refers to the" work of the Advisory Committee established by Governor L. Douglas Wilder which produced a report on preparing Virginia's students to compete in the workforce of the 21st century. The report, entitled "The Virginia Plan for Strengthening the Commonwealth's 21st Century Workforce," contained nine broad recommendations and is generally referred to as the Workforce 2000 Report.|
The genesis of current education reform efforts in the Commonwealth rest with the work and recommendations of the report of the Governor's Commission on Excellence in Education published in 1986. This Commission found that "there are two main obstacles standing in the way of our having an excellent educational system. The first is the wide disparity among Virginia's school divisions in the quality and scope of educational programs, and the other being illiteracy." A number of the key recommendations of this Commission were adopted and implemented by the State Board of Education and funded by the General Assembly. Most notable were programs for literacy testing at the sixth grade, and smaller class sizes for first grade and secondary English.
Recognizing that the Commonwealth's students would need more than basic literacy skills to allow them to compete in the workforce of the 21st century, Governor Wilder appointed the Governor's Commission on Educational Opportunity for All Virginians as well as the Advisory Committee on Workforce Virginia 2000. Both groups were charged with making recommendations to create a world class educational system for Virginia so that students would master both the basic and higher level skills needed to enter the workforce and allow Virginia to remain economically vital. Appendices A and B provide detailed information on the implementation of recommendations contained in the two respective reports.
Members of the State Board of Education served on both the Commission and the Advisory Committee, and the Board of Education embarked on an ambitious program to implement many of the key recommendations made by both groups. On May 27, 1993, the State Board of Education adopted a vision statement, "Virginia's Vision for a World Class Education" (see Appendix C). This document guides future Board action to implement the recommendations of the Workforce Virginia 2000 report and the Commission on Educational Opportunity through a focus on World Class Education and the needs of the business community.