The General Assembly has been extremely busy this session. With the Governor’s focus on education during this upcoming year, the representatives in the house and the senate have been quick to take up that calling. HERE is a link to VASSP’s blog on happenings at General Assembly, Capital Issues. In it, our full time lobbyist, Bet Neal, goes over the laundry list of things the General Assembly is considering. She also includes links to the actual bill, so you can read for yourself what is trying to be passed into law.
I would call special attention to a few of these proposed bills. SB 458 deals with making it mandatory to examine alternatives to suspension before a suspension is issued. read the words carefully. HB 389 would allow parents to establish an educational savings account based on the per pupil expenditure. Parents could then use this money for private school tuition. And, as there has been for the past few years, thee are several bills regarding home school students participating in public school activities, including sports.
As a school leader, we have so much that is piled on our plates. We all know the list. SOL scores, student achievement, special education, parental concerns. the list is seemingly endless at times. There doesn’t seem like there is any spot to place one more thing. Yet, I am going to make a case for adding on more thing. Advocacy for our profession, and our schools, staff and students, is something you need to find a spot for. right now, there are men and women, elected officials, who have no experience running a school, teaching in a classroom or dealing with the myriad of issues we deal with. The stories they hear are from parents and other community members who have a very different perspective than an educator. If that is all they hear, then there is no one to blame but ourselves. Take 10 minutes, write your representative an e-mail, express your concerns over these bills. Better yet, offer to meet with them. Invite them to your school. Take this time to take back the conversation about public education and the best way to perform our important task. If you don’t tell the story, some else will.