Youngkin calls for education system reform following ‘dismal’ report card

A decline for Virginia fourth and eighth graders inside the classroom.
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 2:53 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia’s Governor is calling for education reforms following a dismal report card from The National Assessment of Education Progress.

“These scores should be a shocking wake-up call for every Virginian. We are on the cusp of losing a generation of our children,” said Aimee Guidera, Virginia Secretary of Education.

It’s a blunt assessment of how 4th and 8th graders are doing inside Virginia classrooms.

The state secretary of education, among those at a news conference Monday morning, unpacked the results.

“State leaders had lowered expectations for both schools and students, and accordingly, trend lines across the board, in every measure, have all gone in the wrong direction, at an alarming pace. At all levels and for all demographic groups,” said Sec. Guidera.

Virginia’s 4th-grade students have fallen below the national average in reading and are barely above the national average in math.

Only 32% of students are proficient in reading, with 38% proficient in math.

The average scores of the Commonwealth’s 8th graders also dropped, with declines in math, while reading scores remained unchanged.

“This massive learning loss cannot be blamed solely on the pandemic because nearly half of the learning loss occurred before anyone in this room ever heard of COVID-19,” said State Superintendent of Instruction Jillian Balow.

The assessments are administered every two years.

But the 2021 testing got postponed until this year due to the pandemic.

To turn the tide, the governor says school divisions must use some of the $2 billion from the federal government.

He also wants the board of education to raise standards, and he says they will hold failing divisions accountable.

“The issue here is not funding. The issue here is an understanding of when you water down expectations when you, in fact, tell people things that aren’t true, when you expect less from our kids than they are capable of doing, you get worse outcomes,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin, (R) Virginia.

Meanwhile, local state democrats aren’t saying much in response.

NBC12 did ask several for interviews and were declined for various reasons.