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Culturally Responsive & Inclusive Education Practices Legislation

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Cultural Competency Bill

The Culturally Competent Virginia Educators Bill (SB 1196  carried by Senator Mamie Locke, and HB 1904 carried by Delegate Clinton Jenkins) includes the following provisions:

  • -Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license shall complete instruction or training in cultural competency. 
  • -Every person seeking initial licensure or renewal of a license with an endorsement in history/social science shall complete instruction in African American history, as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education
  • -Each school board shall adopt and implement policies that require each teacher and other school board employee holding a license issued by the Board of Education to complete a cultural competency training, in accordance with guidance issued by the Board of Education, at least every two years.
  • -The Board of Education shall issue minimum guidance for cultural competency training by December 31, 2021. The required training must be completed at least once by each teacher and license holder by the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year
  • -Teacher Evaluations shall include cultural proficiency efficacy.

Implementation and Cultural Competency Training Requirements

Each component of the law will be implemented via action by the State Board of Education. At the Board’s Business Meeting on June 17, 2021, the following actions were taken to begin implementing the law:

  1. The Board adopted a timeline to implement the recently updated Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Teachers in the 2022-2023 academic school year. The Department will make training available in the spring of 2022. It is anticipated that the Board will review updates to the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Principals and the Guidelines for Uniform Performance Standards and Evaluation Criteria for Superintendents in early 2022.
  2. The Board approved a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action (NOIRA) to amend the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel (8VAC20-23) to include instruction in cultural competency for initial licensure and renewal of a license. This action initiates the process to update the regulations to comply with the law. Individuals will be required to comply with the new licensure regulations once the regulatory process is complete, which is not anticipated until 2023.
  3. The Board heard, for first review, a Fast-Track Regulatory Action to amend the Licensure Regulations for School Personnel and Regulations Governing the Review and Approval of Education Programs in Virginia (8VAC20-23 and 8VAC20-543) to comport the regulations with the component of the law that requires those with an endorsement in history and social sciences to complete instruction in African American
    history. Compliance will be required by individuals and Virginia’s approved education programs once the regulatory process is complete, which is not anticipated until after summer 2022. It is anticipated that the Board will conduct a second and final review of this action at their July 22, 2021 business meeting.

The new requirements will NOT go into effect during the 2021-2022
school year, however the different components of the law will be phased in over the coming years as regulatory changes are made and training is made available to school divisions staff.

Additional information on training details will be forthcoming from the Department.

Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee

During the 2020 legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation (HB916) which charged the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to establish and appoint, in consultation with the Governor’s Office, members to a Culturally Relevant and Inclusive Education Practices Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee is to provide:

  1. Standards recommendations to the Department of Education that shall be considered by the Board of Education during the 2021-2022 review of the History and Social Science Standards of Learning. 

  1. Recommendations for the issuance of Board of Education guidelines for local school division staff, including teachers and school counselors, to offer age-appropriate anti-bias education to students. This includes:
  • -Recognition that anti-bias and anti-discrimination education is the work and responsibility of all staff within the local school division;
  • -An emphasis on diversity and building a community of empathy, respect, understanding, and connection;
  • -Examination of how lower levels of hate, ridicule, and dehumanization lead to larger acts of violence, discrimination and violence;
  • -Acknowledgment of inequity on the individual level, such as biased speech and harassment, and injustice at the institutional or systemic level, such as discrimination, and the harmful impact of inequity and injustice on the community, historically and today;
  • -School-based and classroom-based responses, which are student centered and proven effective, to various forms of racism, bigotry, and discrimination through empathy, respect, understanding, and connection; and
  • -Updates to the Department of Education’s teacher’s manual, as required by action taken by the 2009 Session of the General Assembly, that emphasizes the causes and ramifications of the Holocaust and genocide.

3. Recommendations on meaningful professional development with school personnel related to culturally relevant and inclusive education practices. This shall include but not be limited to considerations for:

  • -The policies and regulations governing teacher preparation programs; and
  • -The policies and regulations governing teacher licensure and professional development requirements for licensure renewal.

The bill requires the Committee to report its recommendations to the Board of Education, the Governor, and the Chairs of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health no later than July 1, 2021. 

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