Last year, public education advocates were unsuccessful at getting the 2023 priority education bills passed in the General Assembly. This was because the majority party in the House (GOP) tended to be less supportive of public education than the minority party (Democratic). Although the Democratic members in the Senate were in the majority, bills could not advance that year because each bill must pass both chambers before they have a chance of being signed into law by the Governor. The few education bills that were passed were weakened in their effectiveness because they were highly amended.
This year, the Democrats hold the majority in both chambers so 4 Public Education is hopeful that many of the 2024 priority education bills will pass onto Governor Youngkin’s desk to be signed. Public education advocates can help bills be successful by using the one-click calls to action sent by 4 PE (see signup link in the last paragraph below to receive these alerts if you don't already) that help legislators know what the constituents want. These tools that make advocacy easy are produced in collaboration with Network NOVA and Virginia Grassroots Coalition.
It is too early to know if Governor Youngkin will sign or veto the education bills that make it through both chambers, but early indications are that he may be softening his stance on some education issues. For example, there are bills based on recommendations in the Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission (JLARC) reports that address the serious underfunding of Virginia’s public schools and the need to restore the teacher pipeline in Virginia. Unfortunately, the chair of the Virginia Board of Education either has not read or does not believe the JLARC reports as she claims Virginia’s public schools are not underfunded. We hope that by now she has read the JLARC reports.
The status of each of the 4 Public Education priority education bills can be monitored on the education bill tracker that is managed by the Virginia Grassroots Coalition. That tracker provides links to the bills, the name of the chief patron and the status of the bill in the legislative process, and will eventually provide the outcome of the bill.
Also, as indicated above, there is a link to the one-click call to action that education advocates can use to contact legislators and tell them how they should vote on specific bills.
For those who want to receive notices when calls-to-action come out and when it is time to respond to them, please be sure you are on our email list and you will be sent these easy one-click tools for appropriate bill or bills.