RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Senate committee has advanced two major components of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell's education reform agenda on close party-line votes.
The Education and Health Committee voted 8-7 Thursday to endorse a bill directing the state Board of Education to implement a system for grading public schools on an A to F scale. Supporters say the bill makes the state's evaluation of schools easier to understand. But critics say a letter grade doesn't tell the whole story and tends to stigmatize struggling schools.
By the same one-vote margin, the panel sent to the Senate floor a bill allowing the state to take over schools that repeatedly fail to meet accreditation standards. Proponents say it's the only way to turn around perennially under-performing schools. Opponents question the bill's constitutionality.
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