Virginia

Republican lawmakers vote on bill to improve transparency of Virginia’s learning standards

The process to revise Virginia’s history and social studies SOLs is in the spotlight after months of public backlash.

RICHMOND, Va. – A bill aimed at eliminating confusion over school standards in Virginia died Wednesday in subcommittee hearings.

On Wednesday, six Republican lawmakers voted in an education subcommittee against House Bill 1851, which:

“The Board of Education shall publish on its website, in a publicly available format, a list of all persons and organizations consulted regarding the revision of such learning standards and the amount at least 30 days in advance of the public hearings it is required to hold before adopting revised learning standards , which may be paid by any government agency or body for such consultation.

“One of the complaints I hear is that when they see the final product, they don’t know who was consulted,” Del said. Suhas Subramanyam, who introduced the bill.

In a statement released after the bill was rejected, Del said. Subramanyam:

“Parents, students and educators deserve to know who writes and edits our SOLs and whether, for example, far-right think tanks are subverting this process with their political agenda. This process is too important for our children to be left to behind-closed-door discussions with no transparency about who decides what is taught in our schools.”

The process of revising Virginia’s history and social studies SOLs is in the spotlight after months of public backlash over errors and omissions related to racial and world history.

Education leaders and other lawmakers have previously attacked what they call a lack of transparency in this ongoing process, citing limited public input into a recently drafted November version of the historic SOLs.

The bill’s failure at subcommittee hearings comes weeks after documents previously obtained by 13News Now show one of the November standard bill’s stakeholders, Sheila Byrd Carmichael, was paid $1,000 a day for 15 work days.

The House bill of 1851 aimed to make these transactions more readily available to the public, but Republican lawmakers voted not to move the bill forward because its scope of work was “superfluous.”

The state board will review a new draft history standard next week.

The Virginia Education Association publicly supported and advocated this law before it was rejected.

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