The following statement is from Gov. Ralph Northam’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni, in response to the Youngkin administration this evening essentially arguing that they’re frustrated that Virginia public school accreditation percentages didn’t fall further, despite the COVID pandemic.
“In 2015, the ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ was passed, which led many states to work with the U.S. Department of Education to update their Standard of Accreditation, which are how schools are scored. While the Trump Administration was in office—Virginia worked with U.S. Department of Education, at that time led by Betsy Devos, to negotiate and put in a more rigorous Standards of Accreditation that provide a deep flashlight into academic achievement of subgroups of students (e.g. Special Needs students).
Unfortunately, the Youngkin Administration lacks the basic understanding of how Standard of Accreditation work. This Governor ran on a manufactured narrative that Virginia schools are failing, and since the new ratings don’t fit his narrative, he wants to manufacture an alternate reality. However, the facts are that our hardworking educators and staff worked with our amazing, resilient children [during the COVID pandemic] to make sure academic achievement was not as severely hindered. Instead of attacking public schools, the Governor should be talking about ways to support our schools e.g. talk about how the state can better support mental health, infrastructure, technology needs, etc.”