The declining performance of public schools in the Richmond area and throughout Virginia raises big questions about how the administration of Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is handling education.
Recent surveys under the federal No Child Left Behind program show that all regional cities and counties had worse performance in the 2009 to 2010 school year compared to the year before.
In Richmond, for instance, 35 out of 47 public schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards in 2008-2009, but only 28 out of 45 schools made it this year. Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover County schools also showed declines.
The declines mirror results from other surveys, such as the National Assessment of Education Progress that has shown decreases in performance for Virginia schools across the board.
The Obama Administration has tried to boost public schools with its "Race to the Top" reforms which offer federal money to boost classrooms.
But this spring, McDonnell rejected such help, writing in a pithy letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan that Race to the Top is "overly prescriptive and disregards individual state initiatives and progress."
Huh? What initiatives? What progress?
It seems that Republican McDonnell is once again sticking to his limited government script while schools deteriorate.