RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia House subcommittee voted down a bill that its sponsor said would bring transparency to the state’s Standards of Learning (SOLs) revision process.
The bill from Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun) would have required the Virginia Board of Education to publish a list of the parties that the education department consults with during the process online, including how much the organization or individual was paid.
The legislation stipulated that the list be put on the board’s website “in a publicly accessible format” at least 30 days before any public hearings on the revisions.
“Parents, students, and educators deserve to know who is writing and revising our SOLs and whether, for example, far right think tanks are infiltrating this process with their political agenda,” Del. Subramanyam said in a statement Wednesday.
Subramanyam’s bill came in response to the latest effort to revise K-12 history and social science learning standards, a process that was delayed and met with scrutiny over how it was handled by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration.
History standards are revised every seven years under state law and the new 68-page draft put forward by the Department of Education, if approved, will be used as a framework for what students should know at each grade level as early as the 2024-2025 school year.
The legislation was laid on the table, a move that effectively kills the bill this year, in a 5-2 vote Wednesday in the House of Delegates’ early childhood and innovation subcommittee.
“This process is too important to our kids to leave it to conversations behind closed doors without transparency about who is deciding what will be taught in our schools,” Subramanyam continued.