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Va. lawmakers push bipartisan effort to reinvigorate electric utility commission



As Virginia lawmakers negotiate proposals to reform the laws regulating the state’s two largest electric utilities, a separate push is being made to reinvigorate a commission intended to allow more in-depth consideration of such issues outside the legislative session.

Senate Bill 1166 from Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, and House Bill 2275 from House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, R-Scott, would outline a greater role for the Commission on Electric Utility Regulation, or CEUR, in reviewing the state’s energy policy.

While the Virginia State Corporation Commission oversees utility regulation in the commonwealth, the CEUR, established in 2008 and composed of lawmakers, is charged with overseeing how the SCC implements the laws governing Dominion Energy and Appalachian Power Company.

Currently, legislators working on rate regulation proposals are “virtually dependent on industry lobbyists and environmental organizations for information” and must “mediate between the two,” Surovell said. Utility regulation, he added, is “not everyday subject matter.”

CEUR would “help members who get appointed to the commission learn about energy,” Kilgore said. “We need more folks involved in that whole area.”

Among other changes, the proposed legislation would add three citizen seats to the CEUR and require it to meet at least twice per year.

Surovell has requested $1 million to add seven staff members to the commission.

Despite a law last session extending the CEUR’s term to 2024, the commission has not met since 2017. After the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed more than half a dozen rate reform proposals in 2021, the committee voted to send a letter to the CEUR asking it to review four of the bills.

Months after it was asked to take up reform proposals, electric utility commission still hasn’t met

“We are embroiled in incredibly complex matters here,” said Sen. Monty Mason, D-Williamsburg, at the time. “And I think we’ve got to figure out a mechanism in the off-season where we can delve into some of these things.

The CEUR never convened to take up the proposals.

Restarting the commission is “very important,” said Kilgore. “We get out here in a short session right now, moving all this energy policy through. It’d be a lot better if we had time to discuss and get all the stakeholders together before we get here to have some of these items worked out.”

Surovell and Kilgore’s bills this session would also require the governor to present his statutorily mandated four-year energy plan and the utilities to present their integrated resource plans, which outline plans for future utility investments, to the CEUR. Additionally, the commission would be charged with reviewing ways to access federal funding for energy projects and creating a Commonwealth Energy Research Fund. The research fund would be administered legislatively instead of implementing a similar administrative-run Virginia Power Innovation Fund and Program, a project backed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin that is being advanced through legislation from Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Fauquier.

“Energy is something that is such a huge part of our economy,” Dana Wiggins, director of outreach and financial advocacy for the Virginia Poverty Law Center, told the Mercury. “Everyone needs access to energy; we all depend on access to electricity. It is something that really deserves more consideration and time.”

In recent years, the General Assembly has seen increasing calls for electric utility reform. Two sweeping pieces of legislation introduced this session was expected to be considered in Senate committee Monday but were removed from the agenda as negotiations continue between Dominion, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Clean Virginia, Virginia Poverty Law Center, industrial groups, and more.

Another bill, being carried by Sen. Frank Ruff, R-Mecklenburg, would separate Appalachian Power Company from the system of regulation that governs Dominion under state law.

On Monday, Senate Commerce and Labor Committee members moved Surovell’s CEUR bill forward without discussion. Kilgore’s bill has not yet been taken up in the House.


by Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Silver Branch Brewing Company expands into Virginia with new facility in Fauquier County



Silver Branch Brewing Company, a renowned production brewery and taproom based in Silver Spring, Maryland, is making a significant move by investing $3 million to establish a new facility in Fauquier County, Virginia. The expansion aims to enhance the company’s production capabilities, broaden its range of beer offerings, and strengthen its presence in the region. The project, which successfully competed with Maryland, will generate 38 new jobs and contribute to the economic growth of Fauquier County.

Governor Glenn Youngkin expressed his excitement about Silver Branch Brewing Company’s expansion into Virginia, highlighting the state’s reputation in the food and beverage processing industry. Governor Youngkin emphasized the Commonwealth’s business advantages, industry resources, and strategic access to markets, which have contributed to its strong manufacturing growth across various regions.

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick welcomed Silver Branch Brewing Company to Virginia’s impressive food and beverage processing industry, underscoring its position as the second-largest manufacturing sector in the Commonwealth. Merrick emphasized the value and efficiency of Virginia’s robust logistics infrastructure, which enhances supply chain growth for companies. The state is committed to supporting the success of Silver Branch Brewing Company in Fauquier County.

Christian Layke, Co-Founder of Silver Branch Brewing Company, expressed excitement about joining Virginia’s vibrant craft beer community. With personal ties to the area, Layke and his co-founder, Brett Robison, are fulfilling a lifelong ambition of bringing their beer to the Commonwealth. They view beer not just as a beverage but as a social experience they call “Gemütlichkeit” (German for comfort), which is essential to their brewery’s ethos. Silver Branch Brewing Company is eager to welcome Virginians to their new tasting room in Old Town Warrenton and is actively seeking passionate beer lovers from Fauquier and surrounding counties to join their team.

Mayor Carter Nevill of Warrenton extended a warm welcome to Silver Branch Brewing Company, emphasizing the significance of having such a highly regarded regional brewer and restaurateur invest in the town. Mayor Nevill highlighted the thriving business community in Warrenton and the role that craft brewing plays in making Fauquier County a premier tourist destination. The addition of Silver Branch Brewing Company will complement the existing array of wonderful restaurants, craft breweries, cideries, and unique retail shops, ensuring the continued growth and success of the local economy.

Delegate Michael J. Webert expressed his support for Silver Branch Brewing Company’s choice to establish their facility in Fauquier County. He credited the efforts of House Republicans and Governor Youngkin in making Virginia a more business-friendly state. Delegate Webert expressed enthusiasm for the positive impact this investment will have on the hardworking individuals in his district and home county.

Silver Branch Brewing Company, founded by Christian Layke and Brett Robison in March 2019, has gained recognition for its exceptional beers inspired by European and American brewing traditions. The company’s location in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, has served as a hub for beer enthusiasts, and now their expansion into Virginia will further solidify their presence in the craft beer community.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership collaborated with Fauquier County to secure the project, offering support for job creation through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP). This program provides consultative services and funding to companies creating new jobs, aiding in employee recruitment and training. VJIP, a state-funded business incentive, demonstrates Virginia’s commitment to enhancing job opportunities for its citizens.

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Why groups are fighting over obscure 1960s-era ‘slot and perimeter’ rules at a Virginia airport



This spring has seen increased bickering in Northern Virginia over two little-known aviation regulations called the slot and perimeter rules, which govern operations at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington County. What exactly are they — and why are people fighting over them? Read on to figure out what you need to know.

What is the perimeter rule?

The perimeter rule limits the distance of nonstop flights to and from Reagan National to 1,250 miles — roughly the distance westward to Kansas and Nebraska and as far north as Quebec and Newfoundland.

Initially set at 650 miles in 1966 and then later increased, the perimeter was intended to help reduce congestion at Reagan National and encourage use of the much larger Dulles International Airport in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

The rule allowed Congress to pass exemptions to the perimeter, which it has done three times in 2000, 2003, and 2012. (Congress has a special interest in both Reagan National and Dulles because the federal government owns them, with operations managed by the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority, known as MWAA.)

Those exemptions have opened up Reagan to 40 daily flights — or 20 round trips — to and from Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Austin and San Juan. A November 2020 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found these flights increased passenger traffic at Reagan National and “likely reduced” some of the airport’s existing capacity. 


Beyond-perimeter flight exemptions at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (U.S. Government Accountability Office)


What is the slot rule?

The slot rule also called the high-density rule, was created in 1969 to control congestion at five high-traffic airports, including Reagan National. It requires airlines to obtain a “slot,” or authorization, for every takeoff from and landing at the airport; Reagan is currently limited to a maximum of 67 slots per hour.

Slots are allocated by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the GAO noted in its 2020 report that “airlines consider their slots and slot exemptions to be valuable assets.” In 2009, JetBlue co-founder Dave Barger pitched then-Gov. Tim Kaine on a proposal to let airlines “slide” more slots between different hours of the day, arguing it would give more low-cost airlines access to the airport. The Kaine administration directed Barger to discuss the idea with the MWAA.

Why do some people want to change the rules?

Debates over the slot and perimeter rules aren’t new. They typically occur every five years when Congress reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration, which it’s slated to do by the end of September. But this year, the issue is getting more attention after U.S. Reps. Hank Johnson of Georgia and Burgess Owens of Utah introduced legislation last month to add 28 additional flights to Reagan National both within and beyond its current perimeter.

“Five years ago, there wasn’t as much of an organized effort,” said Brian Walsh, a Fairfax resident who serves as the spokesperson for the Capital Access Alliance, a coalition of business organizations that most notably includes Delta Air Lines. Since then, he says, “more people are flying than ever before,” and the population in Northern Virginia and around Dulles has grown.

“Nothing has been changed in a number of years, and so with this year’s authorization bill, we see an opportunity to modernize what many of us see as an antiquated” system, he said.

The Capital Access Alliance has mounted an aggressive campaign to get Congress to authorize the additional flights, which it argues will allow up to 1 million more passengers to fly to and from locations outside the perimeter, drive down ticket prices and create over 1,000 new jobs. An analysis by the group concludes Reagan National is “under-utilizing its capacity compared to other major airports in the top ten U.S. metros,” and prior additions of beyond-perimeter flights there have “not negatively impacted the overall passenger growth at” Dulles.

“Dulles is fully equipped to survive on its own. There are hundreds of thousands of people who live around it today,” said Walsh. “This is about giving air travelers more choices.”

Why do others want to keep the current system in place?

Not everyone agrees. A counter-organization is known as the Coalition to Protect America’s Regional Airports has emerged to oppose the proposal, saying adding flights from Reagan National “would create unnecessary gridlock, threaten jobs and local businesses, risk connectivity for countless communities, and increase congestion, delays, and noise.”

The coalition, which includes the MWAA as well as United Airlines, several Virginia chambers of commerce and 17 Virginia airports, points in its defense to a May 25 memo from the Federal Aviation Administration that called the Capital Access Alliance report “flawed.” Instead, the FAA wrote, additional flights “would likely have a negative impact on operational performance and passenger experience,” and Reagan National “is more delay prone than most other airports.”

Furthermore, argued coalition director Scott York in a release on the group’s formation, “if the slot and perimeter rules are removed or changed, airlines will be incentivized to replace routes that promote and sustain nationwide connectivity with longer-haul, more profitable flights. These lost connections will have a significant impact on the local communities that rely on regional airports for economic development as well as safe and convenient travel.”

The MWAA contends that Reagan National is already operating at full capacity and has the busiest runway in the nation, with 819 daily takeoffs and landings on average.

“While [Reagan National] is very popular because of its proximity to Capitol Hill, it simply cannot accommodate all the flights that airlines want to send to Washington,” said MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter in a statement urging Congress to reject the increases.

What’s next?

The debate could continue at least through the summer. The current FAA authorization is set to expire at the end of September, but it’s not unusual for Congress to extend the deadline.

Walsh said the Capital Access Alliance is currently focused on “educating” the public and members of Congress about the newest slot and perimeter proposal. It will have to win over a number of key votes, including those of Virginia’s U.S. senators, Democrats Mark Warner and Kaine. This spring, the two joined with Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen to convey their “strong opposition to any attempts at changing” the current slot and perimeter rules. Virginia’s six Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives are also opposing the measure.

“With the expansion of Metro access to Dulles, long-distance flights from the Washington region have never been more accessible or competitive,” Warner and Kaine wrote in an April statement. “The slot and perimeter rules help to balance consistent world-class aviation services at the region’s three major airports, which has in turn allowed for billions of dollars in private-sector capital investment in the metropolitan Washington area.”

by Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Legal Standoff: AG Miyares and 18-state coalition challenge Biden Administration’s new immigration rule



In a bold stance against the Biden Administration’s recent approach to immigration, Attorney General Jason Miyares of Virginia has spearheaded an 18-state coalition in a lawsuit challenging the newly proposed ‘Circumvention of Lawful Pathways’ rule.

Labeled by the federal government as a vital tool in immigration regulation post-CDC’s Title 42 public health order expiration, critics, led by Miyares, argue that the rule’s actual impact is far from its purported goals. This order was instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic, granting authorities enhanced capabilities to bar immigrants from crossing the border.

At the heart of the dispute is the definition of “lawful pathways.” As per the new rule, activities previously deemed as illegal border crossings are now being classified as “lawful pathways,” an interpretation viewed by some as a tacit endorsement of illegal immigration.

Miyares minces no words in his criticism, stating that the Biden Administration’s plan does little to deter illegal immigration. “This… provides the Cartels with a makeshift manual on how to circumvent and exploit our immigration regulations,” he said. This argument comes amid rising concerns about the increasing chaos and tragedy taking place at the border, with human trafficking and the scourge of fentanyl smuggling into Virginia’s communities being spotlighted.

This contentious move has united a diverse group of states in opposition. Joining Virginia’s Attorney General in this suit are Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming.

Given the escalating tensions surrounding immigration policy in the US, this lawsuit represents a significant challenge to the Biden administration’s approach to immigration and border control. The issue will undoubtedly remain a contentious point of national debate and a potential pivot for future policy-making.

Click here to read the lawsuit.

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Cast Your Line: Enjoy fresh and saltwater fishing without a license



This weekend promises to be an excellent time for fishing aficionados and novices alike. Virginia’s Department of Wildlife Resources and Marine Resources Commission has announced free fishing days from June 2-4, 2023, enabling the public to fish without the need for a license.

Whether your passion lies in fresh or saltwater fishing, the first weekend of June offers the perfect opportunity to engage in recreational rod and reel fishing without the usual red tape.

Despite this freedom, it’s important to note that fees charged by fishing piers are not exempt during this period. Moreover, all fishing regulations, such as size, season, catch limits, and gear restrictions, remain firmly in place.

For details regarding saltwater limits and regulations, you can visit the Marine Resources Commission’s website. The 2023 Freshwater Fishing and Boating Regulations can be found on the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources website.

Junior Anglers are especially encouraged to check out the program tailored specifically for them.

The Free Fishing Days are authorized by the Code of Virginia, § 28.2-302.5. So, mark your calendars and make sure to take full advantage of this unique opportunity to experience all that Virginia’s waters have to offer!

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Virginia State Police urges safety as summer travel begins amidst tragic loss during Memorial Day weekend



The 2023 Memorial Day weekend has unfortunately led to the loss of nine lives, which included four motorcyclists. The statistical count for this tragic weekend commenced on Friday, May 26, 2023, at 12:01 a.m. and concluded at midnight on Monday, May 29, 2023.

The Virginia State Police participated in the nationwide Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) and the annual Click It or Ticket campaign. Throughout this period, Virginia Troopers registered 771 seat belt violations and 136 child restraint violations.

Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent, expressed his concern with summer approaching and schools letting out. He emphasized the urgent need for responsible driving and adherence to safety protocols.

All available Virginia State Police patrolled the highways during the four-day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative, aiming to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities due to impaired driving, speeding, and seat belt violations. The initiative resulted in 4,990 speeders and 1,924 reckless drivers being cited, with 89 impaired drivers being arrested. A total of 1,846 traffic crashes were investigated, and 634 commercial vehicles were inspected. The initiative also led to 169 felony arrests and assistance to 1,447 disabled motorists.

Fatal crashes were reported from the City of Richmond, and Henry, Loudoun, Orange, and Shenandoah counties. Loudoun and Henry counties reported two fatal crashes each, while two out of four fatal motorcycle crashes occurred in Loudoun County.

Comparatively, the 2022 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E. initiative reported 16 fatalities.

Funds generated from the summonses issued by Virginia State Police are directed towards court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which supports public school construction, technology funding, and teacher retirement.

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Report on Virginia public education standards and policies overdue



Over a four-month period in 2022, Virginia leaders in education and workforce development held a series of meetings to provide recommendations to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration on improving state K-12 education.

However, a report on recommendations from those meetings, which were convened to fulfill the requirements of a 2022 law known as House Bill 938, remains six months overdue, with no explanation for its delay.

Asked about the report last month, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office did not provide an update on its status or why it hasn’t been released. A follow-up request in May went unanswered.

“The administration values the input from public school principals, school superintendents, school board members, and school teachers received both through the [House Bill] 938 workgroup and other feedback opportunities,” said Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter in an April email. “We continue to incorporate this feedback into the policies and actions needed to restore excellence to education and ensure our schools are serving every child. A detailed review of the policies and actions implemented over the last year and the Department’s policy recommendations will be outlined in the report.”

House Bill 938, which passed the General Assembly last year, required the Board of Education, Secretary of Education, and Superintendent of Public Instruction to create a group of stakeholders to evaluate various state policies and performance standards for public education.

Among the goals the group was tasked with evaluating were “promoting excellence in instruction and student achievement in mathematics,” expanding the availability of the Advanced Studies diploma, “increasing the transparency of performance measures,” and ensuring those measures “prioritize the attainment of grade-level proficiency and growth” in K-5 reading and math, and “ensuring a strong accreditation system that promotes meaningful accountability year-over-year.”

A report on the group’s findings and recommendations was due to the House and Senate education committees by Nov. 30, 2022.

During a Feb. 2, 2022 hearing, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera called the legislation an opportunity for Virginia to develop a strategic plan to ensure public school students are prepared for life and the demands of the future.

“There are a lot of signs that we don’t have that, and that means taking a review of our standards, our curriculum, our assessments to make sure they are best in class and our proficiency levels are aligned with what the economy and democracy requires, and also our accountability system is aligned to make sure that we are holding systems accountable for serving every single child in Virginia,” Guidera said.

During the same hearing, Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, who carried the bill, said the legislation was “part of the governor’s ‘Day 1 Plan’ to empower parents” and a “mission statement as to where we want to take our education system.” She did not respond to interview requests.

Fifteen teachers, principals, parents, superintendents, school board members, and higher education and business experts were convened by the administration for the work group, which met at least four times before concluding its work in November, according to an October 19 report to the Board of Education. The group was also broken into four smaller groups that focused on “Mathematics Excellence and Achievement,” “Advanced Studies Diploma Options,” “Academic Growth and Assessment,” and “School Accreditation and Data Transparency.”

Each topic group met individually and was assisted by members of the Department of Education and the Region 5 Comprehensive Center, which provides assistance to states on education and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

According to a Nov. 3 draft provided to the Mercury, some of the work group’s recommendations included providing additional funding for elementary and middle school math specialists, revising state accreditation profiles to make them more accessible, and improving communication about how both learning growth and proficiency contribute to school performance scores.

Members who spoke with the Mercury said they were uncertain of whether there was any opposition to the recommendations after they were submitted.

“The timeframe for the HB 938 group was fairly limited, and so we could only accomplish so much,” said Kimberly Bridges, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University and a member of the workgroup. “But I think there were folks at that table who were more than willing to keep working if the state had asked. But again, it just kind of ended, the report was drafted, and the folks on the working group did what they were there to do.”

A timely report

Members of the work group said the report is particularly timely given that the Board of Education is currently considering new accountability and accreditation systems.

In May 2022, the Youngkin administration released a report calling for “a new path” for Virginia education after student proficiency ratings and test scores on state and national assessments dropped following the COVID-19 pandemic. The administration has blamed changes to school accreditation standards made by prior Democratic-controlled Boards of Education for the declines and, most recently, has proposed changes to how the state scores its schools.

At the same time, the administration has pushed for state education to focus more on workforce readiness, with Youngkin calling for every high school student in Virginia to graduate with “an industry-recognized credential.”

Courtney Baker, director of workforce and training for the Associated General Contractors of Virginia, who served on the Mathematics Excellence and Achievement topic group, said one of its recommendations was for Virginia to focus more on applied mathematics associated with careers such as architecture and engineering, instead of the “standard fast-paced, credit-driven approach.”

Additionally, the group recommended allowing students enrolled in career and technical education courses to qualify for Advanced Studies diplomas. Similar efforts to expand career and technical education in Virginia through legislation failed during the last General Assembly session.

[Read more: Bills to bolster career and technical education falter in General Assembly]

Baker said Virginia is “plagued” by a workforce shortage, pointing to estimates from construction industry groups that more than 250,000 craft professionals will be needed in Virginia by 2026.

“While we continue to hear how important the trades are to the health of Virginia’s economy, we do not see that reflected in current policy,” Baker said. “Students cannot pursue CTE training and qualify for prestigious advanced diplomas, CTE classrooms are in need of additional funding, and we have CTE instructors who are retiring and not being replaced.”

Proficiency vs. growth

Educators and lawmakers have debated for years how student success should be measured and whether assessments of school performance should focus more on student proficiency, as measured on state exams, or evidence of growth in test results.

Most Virginia schools remain fully accredited despite student testing declines

The Youngkin administration has argued for a greater emphasis on proficiency, saying that the inclusion of growth factors in school accreditation rankings has masked deficiencies in performance.

Officials were especially skeptical of the state’s most recent accreditation results, which showed only a few schools fell short of full accreditation despite student declines on standardized tests. Specifically, the number of fully accredited schools dropped from 92% in the 2019-20 school year to 89% for the 2022-23 year.

“This broken accountability system fails to provide a clear picture of the academic achievement and progress of our schools to parents, teachers, and local school divisions,” Youngkin said at the time. Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow similarly said the school ratings “fail to capture the extent of the crisis facing our schools and students.”

Both Balow and former Del. Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach, who chaired the House Education Committee, told the Washington Post that school accreditation rankings shouldn’t lump together proficiency and growth.

However, many education experts argue both factors are important in determining school success — a conclusion supported by the HB 938 work group, which in its Nov. 3 document stated that “focusing on both proficiency and growth provides an accurate depiction of how schools are performing.”

“The board should ensure that growth and proficiency continue to be included in one combined rate and increased parent-friendly communication surrounding its meaning would promote transparency,” the document says.

Members of the work group recommended the Board of Education “consider a weighted balance” of the two and conduct further investigation on the issue.

“We need accountability that looks at both student growth and students reaching proficiency. If you want to get a holistic picture of what’s happening with learning in schools,” Bridges said. “If you’re only looking at proficiency, particularly after coming out of this pandemic, and all of the impacts that it’s had on kids and their learning … then you’re only getting a piece of the larger picture.”

Members of the work group said they hope the report will be prepared and included as part of the board’s discussions.

Rodney Jordan, a former president of the Virginia School Boards Association who served on the work group, said Virginia has had a long history of educational excellence, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of the challenges students face.

I don’t want to see the pandemic used as an excuse for allowing opportunity gaps, lack of support for teachers and ill-defined student outcome goals to persist; I want to see those things lessened, frankly deliberately eliminated,” Jordan said.

However, he continued, education leaders must “acknowledg[e] that where students start and where students end can vary from school to school and community to community, and we have to find ways of accelerating academic excellence for all of our children while also finding ways to continue to … raise the bar and ceiling simultaneously.”


by Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.

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Historic Area. Welcome Summer by watching the sunset across the Crooked Run Valley with a special solstice-themed Astronomy For Everyone. Join members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club as they use special technology to view the[...]
8:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 17 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA’s Jet Propulsion[...]
10:00 am Native Wildflower ID and Invasiv... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Native Wildflower ID and Invasiv... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 18 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Native Wildflower ID and Invasive Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Buds are blooming all across the Crooked Run Valley. Explore these native wildflowers, herbaceous plants and pollinators with Virginia Master Naturalists and Native Plant Society members. Discover new ways to identify natives[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jun 21 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
all-day Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 24 – Jun 25 all-day
Great American Campout @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. Don’t miss your chance to camp out in the beautiful Historic Mount Bleak backyard. See all that Sky Meadows has to offer through activities beginning at noon on Saturday and running until noon[...]