State launches ‘Virginia is for Learners’ to highlight changes to the education system

Virginia Mercury

In recent years, state education officials have started to cut back on the number of tests students take, changed some graduation requirements and pushed to fund preschool.

But, Gov. Ralph Northam said on Monday, not enough people know that’s happening.

He introduced the “Virginia is for Learners” marketing campaign this week, which will include a website and other outreach to keep students, teachers and businesses informed of state education policy changes. It will also provide strategies to implement those changes.

“Virginia has always led the way on thoughtful and modern innovations to connect students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive after graduation,” said James Lane, Virginia superintendent of public instruction. “Virginia is for Learners is about recognizing our responsibility to adapt to a changing economy and make sure that every student has the knowledge, skills and experience to build a successful life after graduation.”

The campaign will focus on changes to allow for deeper learning in schools; new high school graduation requirements; the state’s changes to Standards of Learning testing; early childhood education efforts; new accreditation standards for schools and a section Northam’s office called, “maximizing the potential of all students,” in a press release.

“Education is one of our most effective ways of making good on the promise of equal opportunity for all people no matter who they are or where they live,” Northam said during Monday’s press conference. “When we do it right, a quality education can empower and equip people to make a better life for themselves, their family and their community. Education is the most powerful tool we have to turn the tide against generational poverty, systemic racism and other ills that hold too many of our fellow Virginians back.”

Part of the initiative will be explaining why those changes are so important, Northam said.

“So many of our other goals as an administration and a commonwealth can only be achieved if we have a strong education system,” he said.

“On behalf of the Virginia Board of Education, I am proud of the ongoing work that state, local and private partners have undertaken to better ensure our education system prepares students from every corner of our state for success in the modern workforce,” Board of Education President Daniel Gecker said in a press release.

“Virginia is for Learners is a strong platform to highlight the important revisions the Board made to the Standards of Accreditation that focus on continuous improvement for all students and the persistent equity work of the Board, the Department and our public schools across the Commonwealth.”