Schools Across the State Facing New Regulations

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Bills are moving through the General Assembly that will affect schools and teachers across the state.

Friday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal helped promote Governor McDonnell's education reform in Richmond.

One bill allows the state to give A through F letter grades to each Virginia school.

The other, known as the Education Fairness Act, makes it easier for schools to evaluate and, if necessary, terminate teachers deemed incompetent.

As a teaching veteran, Jessica Jones understands the pressure educators can be under.

New legislation will lengthen the probation period for new teachers from 3 years to 5 years.

During this time, struggling teachers will be given support, but if they do not improve, they could be let go.

"We know that there are some teachers that may need some help. Being able to extend that period is a good idea. In addition, being able to give a concrete reason as to why that teacher's not performing well, " said Jones.

While this may create additional pressure for teachers, a second bill will have schools getting the grades, not just giving them.

Pittsylvania County Schools Superintendent James McDaniel says school evaluations are not new in Virginia, but many are concerned localities may lose their constitutional right -- to run their schools on their terms.

"I think there's pressure already on our schools for accountability and we don't shy away from accountability. We never have, we never will because I think we can only continue to get better, " said Pittsylvania Co. Superintendent James McDaniel.

Jones says she appreciates the attention on education reform.

She says the bills are not perfect, but definitely a step in the right direction.

"Education fuels your society, fuels your community. It cannot be put on the back burner, " said Jones.

If the grading scale is implemented with the suggested criteria, most schools in the state - including Pittsylvania County - would get an A.

The schools that get an F could possibly have the state take over their operation.