Governor Bob McDonnell
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement this afternoon following a vote by the State Senate to send HB 576, a bill to bring more accountability to Virginia’s public schools and reward the Commonwealth’s best teachers, back to committee for the year. The bill had already been passed by the House of Delegates.
“Three years ago, President Barack Obama called for a ‘culture of accountability’ in our public schools. He said ‘…..I reject a system that rewards failure and protects a person from its consequences.’ One year later, the President told the National Urban League, ‘… all I’m asking in return – as a President, as a parent, and as a citizen — is some measure of accountability. So even as we applaud teachers for their hard work, we’ve got to make sure we’re seeing results in the classroom. If we’re not seeing results in the classroom, then let’s work with teachers to help them become more effective. If that doesn’t work, let’s find the right teacher for that classroom. The President was right. Improving our public education system is a critical, bipartisan issue. This is about the future prospects of future generations of American leaders. We owe every child in Virginia and America a world class education, no matter their zip code or where they go to school. That begins with ensuring that when they walk into their classroom they are greeted by a great, committed and motivated teacher. Fortunately, in Virginia the overwhelming majority of our teachers are excellent. But we live in a globally competitive world. This great nation finds itself at risk of losing some ground to other industrious nations when it comes to educational excellence. This is unacceptable. We can’t accept the status quo in education. Funding is important, but accountability and results matter far more.
There is a bipartisan, national movement underway to bring more accountability to our schools. The President is leading on the issue from Washington D.C. In the states, leaders like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and current Republican and Democratic governors alike, are putting positive reforms in place. With this action today, unfortunately, it appears Virginia will not be joining that reform movement this year. That is disappointing. Virginia’s schoolchildren deserve nothing less than excellence in every single classroom.
Our legislation to reward Virginia’s best teachers and principals and bring more accountability to our classrooms had the strong support of Virginia’s education leaders. The legislation was strongly endorsed by the Virginia Association of Superintendents and the Virginia School Boards, and I thank them for their advocacy on this issue. The managers of our public education system recognized, like the President, that teachers and principals are professionals who deserve to be treated as such and rewarded for their success in educating the future leaders of this nation.
Setting high standards, requiring regular performance reviews, and rewarding people for their performance are staples of the American private sector. It is increasingly becoming a greater part of our public sector culture as well. Indefinite promises of a job and or contract do not create incentives for accomplishment. Last year we made progress in permitting a merit pay pilot program for our great teachers. That was positive.
Significant reform is never easy. It takes time and commitment. We are committed to this pro-teacher, pro-parent, pro-student policy. We will continue to strongly advocate for this legislation in the future. Today’s vote is a delay; it is not a defeat. Increased accountability in our public education system and in government in general is an idea whose time has come. It has the support of the President, Republican and Democratic governors, mayors of cities big and small, school boards, parents, and teachers. It is critical to ensuring our children get the world class educations they need and deserve. Virginia may have missed this opportunity today, but it will be an opportunity delayed, not denied.”
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Education, Politics, State Politics
Tags: governor, legislators, McDonnell, school