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by Brandon Jarvis

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office says he signed over 100 bills into law this week. Of those pieces of legislation, the governor specifically touted bills from Del. Roxanne Robinson (R-Chesterfield) and Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) that he says helped him deliver on campaign promises.

HB 938 from Robinson requires the Board of Education to collaborate with the state Superintendent and the Secretary of Education to convene a group of stakeholders that includes parents, public school principals & superintendents, school board members, teachers, institutions of higher education, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, industry partners and employers, and other concerned stakeholders to evaluate, to implement where possible, and to otherwise make recommendations to the General Assembly.

The group is tasked with making recommendations on how to promote excellence in math, expanding the advanced diploma, increasing the transparency and honesty of performance measures, ensuring that the proficiency standards on Standards of Learning assessments in reading and mathematics are maintained, and ensuring that performance measures prioritize the attainment of grade-level proficiency and growth during the course of a school year and from school year to school year in reading and math for all students, especially in grades kindergarten through five.

SB 656 from Dunnavant requires school divisions to develop policies for ensuring parental notification of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content. This bill will allow the parent of any student to review instructional material that includes sexually explicit content and provide alternative nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent so requests.

The ACLU of Virginia opposed the bill and spoke out against it Friday. “While the bill is lauded as parental choice, its true intent & impact is classroom censorship. The new law needlessly singles out ‘sexually explicit content’ while there are already processes at local school districts for parents to review curriculum & request accommodations for their children,” ACLU-VA said in a statement. “While it may not explicitly censor what books are taught, it will likely result in censorship due to teacher & librarian’s fear or confusion over what qualifies as ‘sexually explicit content.’ The classroom is where students are exposed to new ideas & various viewpoints, bettering their understanding of self & the world. Labeling books as having ‘sexually explicit content’ without understanding the materials limits a teachers’ ability to present varied perspectives.”

Governor Youngkin praised the bills in a statement after promising throughout his campaign to give parents more power in their child’s education curriculum.

“HB 938, carried by Delegate Roxann Robinson, and SB 656, carried by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, both deliver on my Day One promises to give parents a greater say in their children’s education,” Youngkin said in a statement. “I’m pleased to sign them into law, along with many other bipartisan bills that will enhance education, improve public safety, provide tax relief, and make government work better for the people of Virginia.”

Here is a summary of the rest of the bills Youngkin signed this week


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