From the VA Grassroots Coalition:
Statement by the Virginia Grassroots Coalition on HB2305
The Virginia Grassroots Coalition asks that Senators Petersen and Saslaw arrange for HB2305 to be reconsidered by the Senate Education and Health Committee. This bill would require the Board of Education to issue guidance for the Governor’s Schools to focus on increasing access for historically underserved students. The Virginia Grassroots Coalition believes this a critical educational equity issue.
We condemn the Senate Education and Health Committee’s vote to kill (pass by indefinitely) HB2305 – which ironically occurred shortly after the Fairfax County Public School Board overwhelmingly (10-1-1) voted to revise the admissions review policy for the Governor’s school in Fairfax County – Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. The decision was made after months of deliberation by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisor’s Joint School Board and Capital Improvement Project Working Group, public hearings, and a determination that the admissions process to the Fairfax Governor’s school was inequitable.
The decision made by the Fairfax County Public School Board will reduce reliance on a standardized test for admissions and instead adopt a holistic review admissions policy. This mirrors decisions made by admissions offices in many colleges and universities after detailed studies demonstrated that standardized tests like the SAT are poor predictors of performance at the college level. Senator Scott Surovell (SD 36) who spoke in favor of the bill before it was defeated commented that he was “pleased to see that the Fairfax County School Board has taken action to follow Ivy League universities and other major colleges by creating a more holistic admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. 36th District children will finally have a chance to get in.”
Instead of embracing the decision made by the Fairfax County Public School Board, Senators Petersen and Saslaw from Fairfax voted against the bill after offering comments that contribute to stereotypes about underserved students and communities in Northern Virginia.