RICHMOND, Va. — You’ve heard of the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers,” but what about “Virginia is for Learners”?
The governor and education leaders announced a new public information campaign so families, schools and employers know how the state is changing education policies.
The main focus of these policy changes is equipping students with the tools and knowledge they need for future jobs.
Over the past year of the Northam administration, changes have been made to Virginia’s standards of learning and graduation requirements that help to modernize the classroom, so students are learning skills for the workplace. State officials say students are also being tested on things that employers would be looking out for.
“Our graduates will be capable of more than answering questions on a set, ready to learn and build successful lives as adults,” Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia) said.
An emphasis on “deeper thinking” is one of the themes described during a press conference on Monday. Education leaders say the keys to developing real-world skills for the workforce align with the “5 C’s of Learning:” critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship skills. These will be incorporated by teachers for public school classes from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade, education officials say.
“Strong content knowledge is important, but the jobs of the future demand more,” Dr. James Lane, the superintendent of public instruction, said. “We have a responsibility to equip students with the skills it takes to be strong students, successful workers, and thriving adults.”
These advancements are being made so kids have a better idea about what they want to do for a career and develop a set of skills before graduating to pursue that path. It’s not just jobs like computer coding, but also trades like being a mechanic.
Gov. Northam says the education initiative is also about making sure all kids, no matter their race or socioeconomic background, can have access to good education from the start.
“Education is the tide that lifts all boats,” Gov. Northam explained. “When one child has access to early childhood [education] and one doesn’t, that’s what starts that gap between the haves and the have nots.”
The main resource to get information about these policy changes is through a new website, separate from the Department of Education. Click here to check it out.