Norfolk judge rules state can’t run failing schools

WAVY/Walter Hildebrand

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk judge has ruled the state does not have the constitutional right to take over failing schools, including three in the city.

DOCUMENT: Judge Posten’s ruling

Judge Charles Posten declared the Opportunity Educational Institution and its governing board unconstitutional. Former Governor Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly created to OEI to take control of low-performing schools.

According to the ruling, local schools must be run by local school boards. The OEI would have effectively created a state-wide school district.

DOCUMENT: Judge Posten’s ruling opinion letter

The Norfolk school board adopted a strategic plan last summer to improve test scores.

Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement following the ruling in the:

My team and I are evaluating today’s ruling and will make a decision about next steps soon. Regardless of today’s ruling, Secretary Anne Holton, Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Staples and my entire administration are committed to working in a collaborative way with local school divisions and the Board of Education to improve outcomes in all communities, and particularly in our struggling schools. We absolutely have to do better by the children in these schools.

Reducing the achievement gap is a top priority for me and my entire team. It will require working together with the Virginia Department of Education, local school divisions, other state and local agencies and communities to ensure our youngsters have the best chance for success. Part of our effort will include continuing the bipartisan effort to reform our existing Standards of Learning system to better serve all of our students. Our Standards of Learning Innovation Committee will begin its work this summer.

Secretary of Education Anne Holton and Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Staples will be working with other state and local partners to get all of our priority schools on the right track.

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