Public education in Virginia
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 School districts
- 12 Education ballot measures
- 13 Recent news
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Virginia
Public education in Virginia
School board elections portal
The mission statement of the Virginia Department of Education reads:
|“||The mission of Virginia's public education system is to educate students in the fundamental knowledge and academic subjects that they need to become capable, responsible, and self-reliant citizens. Therefore, the mission of the Virginia Board of Education and the superintendent of public instruction, in cooperation with local school boards, is to increase student learning and academic achievement.||”|
The Virginia Board of Education is in charge of governing and creating policy for the Virginia public school system. The Board of Education is composed of nine members who are appointed to four-year terms by the governor and confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. As of 2014, Virginia had not adopted these standards.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Virginia compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Virginia as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Virginia's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||1,762||0.14%||0.42%|
|Two or More||54,583||4.34%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
The majority of students in Virginia attend suburban or rural schools. Though this is the same in Maryland, students in North Carolina are more likely to attend city schools than suburban schools, and students in West Virginia are more likely to attend town schools than suburban schools.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to three neighboring states (Maryland, North Carolina, and West Virginia), Virginia had a higher percentage of students score at or above proficient in math in fourth grade and eighth grade.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores*|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile ranking**||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| *Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
**Graduation rates for states in the first quintile ranked in the top 20 percent nationally. Similarly, graduation rates for states in the fifth quintile ranked in the bottom 20 percent nationally.
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Virginia was lower than the national average at 2.3 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 1.9 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Virginia
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Virginia state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 16 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is down 3.3 percentage points, a 17.1 percent decrease in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 19.3 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Just over half of Virginia's education revenue comes from local funding. State funding accounts for approximately 37 percent, and federal funding accounts for about 10 percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources:NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Virginia totaled approximately $14.4 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Virginia and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Virginia totaled approximately $14.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Virginia and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Virginia, the average salary decreased by 5.8 percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Virginia ranked 47th overall, or weakest, which was in the last tier of five.
List of local Virginia school unions:
- Virginia Education Association
- Fairfax Education Association
- Richmond Education Association
- Norfolk Federation Of Teachers
- Education Association of Norfolk
- Education Association of Alexandria
- Loudoun Education Association
- Arlington Education Association
- See also: Virginia government sector lobbying
The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Virginia School Boards Association. The government sector lobbying organization for school personnel is the Virginia Association of School Personnel Administrators.
In 2009 the Virginia State Legislature passed two transparency bills: Senate Bill 936 and House Bill 2285. SB 936 and HB 2285 created a searchable database website containing information on state revenues, appropriations and expenditures.
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Virginia received a score of 84.8, or a B average in the "chance for success" category. This was above the national average. The state's highest score was in "standards, assessments and accountability" at 93.3, or an A average. The lowest score was in "K-12 achievement" at 74.2, or a C average. Virginia earned above-average scores in all six categories. The chart below displays the scores of Virginia and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Virginia||84.8 (B)||74.2 (C)||93.3 (A)||81.9 (B-)||76.1 (C)||85.7 (B)|
|Maryland||85.9 (B)||83.1 (B)||88.3 (B+)||83.7 (B)||85.2 (B)||96.4 (A)|
|North Carolina||75.7 (C)||69.8 (C-)||92.8 (A)||77.8 (C+)||67.0 (D+)||85.7 (B)|
|West Virginia||71.6 (C-)||60.8 (D-)||96.7 (A)||80.3 (B-)||89.0 (B+)||89.3 (B+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
ABCs of School Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice publishes a comprehensive guide to private school choice programs across the U.S. In its 2014 edition, the Foundation reviewed Virginia's Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program, which was launched in 2013. The program gives tax credits to businesses and individual taxpayers who donate to scholarship granting organizations. Unless there are special circumstances, only students whose household income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible to receive the scholarships. The Foundation found that the program's $25 million funding cap further limits the number of students who are eligible to receive funding. The Foundation suggested the funding cap be increased, the eligibility standards be widened to include more students and the amount of scholarship funding for each student be increased as well. The full Friedman Foundation report can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
- See also: School board elections portal
School districts in Virginia are divided into city and county districts. A city district serves students within the confines of a single city, while a county district operates schools within the boundaries of a county.
- See also: List of school districts in Virginia
|Enrollment, 2011-2012||Per-pupil spending, 2008-2009|
|1.) Fairfax County Public Schools||1.) Arlington Public Schools|
|2.) Prince William County Public Schools||2.) Falls Church City Public Schools|
|3.) Virginia Beach City Public Schools||3.) Alexandria Public Schools|
|4.) Loudoun County Public Schools||4.) Surry County Public Schools|
|5.) Chesterfield County Public Schools||5.) Sussex County Public Schools|
|6.) Henrico County Public Schools||6.) Charlottesville Public Schools|
|7.) Chesapeake Public Schools||7.) King and Queen Public Schools|
|8.) Norfolk Public Schools||8.) Bath Public Schools|
|9.) Newport News Public Schools||9.) Fairfax County Public Schools|
|10.) Stafford County Public Schools||10.) Charles City Public Schools|
School board composition
Virginia school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. Virginia school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
- Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.
School boards can consists of five, seven or nine members. Board members typically serve four-year terms.
Virginia does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.
Here are several quick facts about Virginia's school board elections in 2015:
- The largest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Prince William County Public Schools with 81,937 K-12 students.
- The smallest school district by enrollment with an election in 2015 is Pittsylvania County Public Schools with 9,245 K-12 students.
- Alexandria Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools are tied for the most seats on the ballot in 2015 with nine seats up for election in each.
- Arlington Public Schools has the fewest seats on the ballot in 2015 with one seat up for election.
The districts listed below served 469,135 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Virginia, a person must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- A citizen of the United States
- A resident of Virginia for at least one year prior to the election
- A current resident of the school district
Each candidate must file a Certificate of Candidate Qualification and a Statement of Economic Interests to the city or county's election office.
State law requires candidates who receive or spend $1,000 or more in an election cycle to file campaign finance reports. A candidate who does not plan on receiving or spending $1,000 or more during an election must file a pre-election and post-election report detailing large contributions. Candidates who receive or spend more than $1,000 must file detailed pre-election and post-election reports. Reports filed electronically are submitted to the state elections board while paper reports are delivered to city or county elections officials.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Virginia + Education "
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Virginia state budget and finances
- Virginia Department of Education
- List of school districts in Virginia
- School choice in Virginia
- Charter schools in Virginia
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Virginia Department of Education
- Virginia Superintendent
- Virginia Board of Education
- Virginia School Report Card
- Virtual Virginia
- Virginia State School Ratings by PSK12
- Virginia State School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- Virginia Department of Education, "Vision Statement," accessed June 3, 2014
- Virginia Department of Education, "Superintendent of Public Instruction," accessed June 3, 2014
- Virginia Department of Education, "About VDOE," accessed June 3, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Virginia Department of Education, "Virginia Board of Education," accessed June 3, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Virginia teachers unions," accessed September 30, 2009
- Tertium Quids, "Transparency Bills Pass Senate, House," February 25, 2009
- Virginia General Assembly, "SB 936," accessed 2009
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, "The ABCs of School Choice," 2014 Edition
- Virginia School Boards Association, "VSBA Regions," accessed July 10, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
- Virginia Department of Education, "Table 15 of the Superintendent's Annual Report for Virginia," April 2, 2010
- Virginia State Board of Elections, "May 6 2014 Elections: Candidacy Requirements for City and Town Offices," accessed March 17, 2014
State of Virginia
|State executive officers||
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