The education bills that did, and did not, pass in the 2022 legislative session
Angie Miles: Virginia's General Assembly ended last weekend. VPM News education reporter, Megan Pauly is at the Capitol with an update on key education bills from the 2022 legislative session, Megan?
Megan Pauly: Hi Angie, yes, education has been a huge topic of debate this session in large part because Governor Glenn Youngkin asked lawmakers to put forward several education related bills but with such a politically divided legislature, the success of those proposals has been mixed. Bills that sought to ban the teaching of quote "inherently divisive concepts" failed, but legislation was approved that will allow parents to opt their kids out of sexually explicit content in schools. And all schools will be required to have those policies approved and in place by January of next year. Also a law did not pass that sought to require police presence on every public school campus in Virginia. However, school principals will be required to report additional student offenses to law enforcement. This in part reverses a bill that was passed in 2020 that gave principals discretion in reporting certain low-level offenses to law enforcement, Angie.
Miles: I understand bills aimed at loosening guidelines for chartered schools did not pass, have lawmakers approved funding for university run lab schools?
Pauly: Not yet Angie, budget talks are still going on and some lawmakers are hesitant to sink $150 million into startup costs for these new schools when the long-term financial sustainability of them is uncertain and when lawmakers haven't had a chance yet to gauge interest from universities and look at their proposals. It's estimated that to replace all Virginia public schools that are over 50 years old, it would cost about $25 billion.
Miles: Megan, what about changes being made to the current lab school's law?
Pauly: Currently, Virginia universities are allowed to run public schools as long as they're operated in conjunction with a teacher education program but there aren't any of these schools in Virginia right now, so lawmakers are changing the law to remove the requirement of the teacher education program to allow universities to focus on other specialized content areas like STEM for example.
ANGIE MILES: Thank you, Megan. Megan Pauly reporting.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that principals would be required to report all low-level student offenses to law enforcement. They must only report certain low-level offenses. We have updated the story and apologize for the error.