By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA — Gov. Bob McDonnell may be putting Virginia’s K-12 education system on a pedestal for the Governor’s K-12 Education Reform Summit, but the commonwealth’s public schools don’t always get glowing grades.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, a limited-government, free-market think tank, ranked Virginia’s K-12 schools at 26th in the nation — below the poorly performing schools in Washington, D.C. — in its 2012 Report Card on American Education. The organization also gave Virginia a C minus for education policy.
Education Week in its 2012 grading of states’ K-12 systems gave Virginia a B overall, but a C for actual K-12 achievement.
On top of that, Virginia schools are showing early signs of sharply plummeting math scores after the state, exempted from the No Child Left Behind Act, rolled out a new, more rigorous math test last spring. Preliminary reports put passage rates in the 60 percent range — down from more than 90 percent the previous year.
Despite these rankings, McDonnell insists that “Virginia is blessed to have one of the best K-12 education systems in the country, one which gives young people the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
McDonnell is hosting the summit with policymakers, education experts and business leaders from around the country from Wednesday through Friday in Richmond.
State leaders from both sides of the aisle will lead discussions on school choice, teacher quality, workforce development and innovation and technology in education, among other issues.
Contact Kathryn Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.