Youngkin establishes partnerships with Virginia universities in school choice push
(Tyler Arnold | The Center Square) – In his effort to promote more school choice in the Virginia education system, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a partnership with several colleges and universities to…
(Tyler Arnold | The Center Square) – In his effort to promote more school choice in the Virginia education system, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a partnership with several colleges and universities to declare their shared goal of developing lab schools.
Lab schools are generally K-12 schools run by a college or university and focused on developing and testing different education models, studying how they affect learning and implementing successful teaching techniques in the classroom. Although there are no lab schools currently in the commonwealth, Youngkin set a goal of creating 20 lab schools, which he said would be innovative.
“Education is the gateway to opportunity,” Youngkin said in a statement. “An educated Virginian has a limitless future. And we are about creating future opportunities for every young Virginian. Reestablishing expectations of excellence, funding in the largest education budget, investing in teachers, special education, and localities to invest in facilities.”
The governor was joined by representatives from nearly 30 colleges and universities who support his effort to establish lab schools. Supporters claimed the schools would provide students with more opportunities.
“We join our sister institutions in the Virginia Community College system in welcoming the opportunity to partner with school divisions to develop and deliver even more innovative high school programs that address the workforce needs of the Commonwealth specially for students in underserved communities,” Dr. Paul Pando, the president of Reynolds Community College, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute our ideas, insight, and yes the passion we bring to this work. This [is] work that is most certainly work worth doing.”
The partnership itself won’t be enough to establish lab schools in the commonwealth. The plan still requires the General Assembly to allocate about $150 million to establish lab schools and charter schools in its biennial budget. Legislative Republicans have also introduced bills that would make it easier for lab schools to be created and bills that would allow private businesses to apply for the creation of lab schools.
Youngkin and many legislative Republicans have also supported legislation that would expand the number of charter schools and loosen regulations on establishing charter schools.
Although he has support from within his party, many Democratic leaders have expressed skepticism for the proposals, claiming that these policies would divert money away from the state’s public schools. The House of Delegates has a narrow Republican majority and the Senate has a narrow Democratic majority.