National assessment shows significant drops in Virginia reading and math scores
Posted 7:25 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Youngkin urges districts to spend remaining recovery funds
By Nathaniel Cline
With the results of a national education assessment showing significant declines in reading and math, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin orders the Virginia Board of Education to raise Virginia’s test standards.
On Monday, the National Center for Education Statistics released the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a nationwide examination of fourth- and eighth-grade student achievement. The results showed declines in Virginia in reading and math between 2019 and 2022, and continued declines in fourth graders’ skills since 2017.
“Today, every Virginian sees clearly that our children need us more than ever,” Youngkin said. “Gaps in achievement in the critical areas of math and reading could seriously cloud the bright future of a generation of Virginia students, and that’s why we must and double down on our commitment to Virginians, especially , our commitment to the children of Virginia.”
Assessment officials said average math and reading scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students have declined nationally.
In August, Virginia Learning Standards test scores also showed declining scores during the pandemic.
Education Secretary Aimee Rogstad Guidera said the NAEP results offer a “clear and heartbreaking” statement that Virginia is failing students and called the “catastrophic decline” a “foreseeable result of the dismantling decade-long systemic commitment to excellence in education.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow also accused the two previous Democratic administrations of “systematically” lowering academic standards and expectations and downplaying assessment data showing declines.
“Using SOL scores, we report that two-thirds of fourth graders do well, and that’s just not true,” Balow said. “Parents and teachers cannot act unless they all know that we are nowhere near two-thirds competent with our students.”
Senate Democrats pushed back against the Republican administration’s claims.
In a joint statement, the senses. Mamie Locke, D-Hampton, Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth and Ghazala Hashmi, D-Chesterfield, challenged the idea that their party had lowered education standards.
“We have staffing shortages in Virginia schools, students aren’t getting the resources to set every child up for success, and many schools need funding for structural improvements to improve the quality of learning. education,” Lucas said. “Now is not the time to point fingers at those who are no longer in charge.”
Youngkin announces his priorities, including grants and tutoring services
On Monday, Youngkin presented a series of proposals that he says will help stem learning loss. Last month, he announced plans to address Virginia’s teacher shortage through measures such as hiring retired educators.
The governor said his administration is investing $30 million in learning recovery grants to help parents connect their children to one-on-one lessons or a virtual tutor and announced the launch of partnerships with Khan Academy and Schoolhouse, two organizations that provide educational resources and tutoring services.
Additionally, the administration said it plans to expand its Bridging the Gap pilot program, which aims to provide school divisions with additional resources and data to close learning gaps, from 15 to 25 schools. .
As part of Bridging the Gap, parents, students, and teachers will receive individual reports on each student’s academic progress and learning plans in grades 4 through 12.
Governor tells schools to spend remaining federal funds
Youngkin urged school districts to spend their remaining federal stimulus funds to close achievement gaps. Virginia has nearly $2 billion in unspent funds that “could be spent on proven efforts to restore learning,” he said, including extended school years and bonuses for teachers. .
School divisions have until Dec. 31 to update their spending plans at the direction of the governor.
The governor singled out several school divisions for having millions available, including Fairfax and Henrico counties and the cities of Norfolk, Richmond and Virginia Beach.
“The money is in the bank,” Youngkin said. “It should be spent on things that will put our kids back on track for success. This is why the money was given to you. Put it to work.