Home 2016 elections Monday News: Sea-Level Rise Far Worse Than Previously Thought; GMU “becomes a...

Monday News: Sea-Level Rise Far Worse Than Previously Thought; GMU “becomes a favorite of Charles Koch”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Monday, April 4.

  • Quizzical

    One would naturally expect the Tidewater region to take the lead in addressing rising sea levels and climate change in Virginia. So I’m glad to see Senator Warner down there trying to make that happen. Viewing this situation as an opportunity is a helpful device to break out of the paralysis of denial, I guess. The sarcastic side of me though is saying oh yeah, another opportunity to excel . . . .

    However, as I understand the situation, as bad as it could be for our coastal cities, where hundreds of billions of investment in buildings and infrastructure are at risk, the climate change part of it is as dangerous because it is going to affect farm lands and growing seasons. So it isn’t just about the coast.

  • Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Legislation Interfering with Local School Board Policies

    RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today vetoed House Bill 516, which would require schools to identify materials as “sexually explicit” and notify parents if teachers plan to provide instructional material containing such content. The legislation would also require teachers to provide alternative instructional materials if requested by a parent.

    The Governor’s full veto statement is below:

    April 4, 2016

    Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 516, which would require schools to identify materials as “sexually explicit” and notify parents if teachers plan to provide instructional material containing such content. The legislation would also require teachers to provide alternative instructional materials if requested by a parent.

    Open communication between parents and teachers is important, and school systems have an obligation to provide age-appropriate material for students. However, this legislation lacks flexibility and would require the label of “sexually explicit” to apply to an artistic work based on a single scene, without further context. Numerous educators, librarians, students, and others involved in the teaching process have expressed their concerns about the real-life consequences of this legislation’s requirements.

    We have long entrusted curriculum management to our local school boards. School boards are best positioned to ensure that our students are exposed to those appropriate literary and artistic works that will expand students’ horizons and enrich their learning experiences. School boards are also most knowledgeable about those materials that will best position our students to succeed in Advanced Placement and other college preparatory programs.

    The Virginia Board of Education has been examining this issue recently and has been engaged in lengthy and substantive conversations with school boards, teachers, parents, and students about existing local policies and potential state policies to address these concerns.

    Because the Board of Education is already considering this issue in a broader and more complete context, I believe House Bill 516 is unnecessary.

    Accordingly, I veto this bill.

    Sincerely,

    Terence R. McAuliffe

    ###

  • Progress Virginia Statement On Veto Of HB516

    Progress Virginia today thanked Governor McAuliffe for his veto of HB516, which would have effectively censored great works of literature in Virginia classrooms. The bill, which was the subject of intense criticism during the General Assembly session, would have required teachers to inform parents of curriculum content deemed “sexually explicit,” allow parents to opt their students out of the assignment, and require teachers create alternative assignments. The vaguely defined term “sexually explicit” could in turn be construed to apply to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet or even biology lessons.

    “Thank goodness this ridiculous crusade against great works of literature is finally over,” said Progress Virginia executive director Anna Scholl. “This absurd campaign by a few individuals to ban important works of African-American literature from classrooms is a poor use of the legislature’s time. Now that the Governor has vetoed HB516, perhaps Speaker Howell can redirect the energy he was spending stage managing this colossal waste of time into something actually useful for Virginia families, like finally closing the coverage gap and expanding access to health care.”