Virginia Students Need to Keep Their Electives

We are concerned about the implementation of the Virginia Board of Education Economics and Personal Finance graduation credit scheduled to become effective July 1, 2011.  While we believe the Economics and Personal Finance graduation credit should be repealed, if the credit is to become effective, we support the intent of HB 1518.       1.  The new Economics and Personal Finance requirement imposes an unfunded mandate during a difficult budget situation for local education agencies.  School divisions are facing choices to maintain existing programs while implementing new requirements. Resources required to procure textbooks and hire and train teachers will, without additional fiscal support from the state, require a reallocation of existing monies at a time when budgets are being cut and funding for localities is falling short of the amount needed to sustain current levels of programming.
     2. This additional graduation requirement would adversely affect the elective options in high school making it even more difficult for a student to elect a four-year sequence in the arts or any other career choice sequence which requires maintaining skills and practice throughout high school. 
 3.  If the proposed Economics and Personal Finance graduation credit is implemented as initially approved, the strong potential exists for fine arts programs and other elective offerings to be reduced or eliminated.
We ask that the Economics and Personal Finance credit requirement be withdrawn and to ensure that students have fiscal and economic knowledgeand understanding by graduation, that statewide mathematics and social science Standards of Learning, which currently have aspects of the proposed additional course of study, be expanded to include the addition of economics and personal finance content.  In addition, it would be well to note that a number of electives including Career and Technical Education courses in business and entrepreneurship also currently addressaspects of the proposed courses.
If this bill cannot be repealed, we find that HB 1518 is a viable alternative that could allow local 'school systems to find alternative ways (i.e. as part of a government class or other required math or social science class) to deal with this requirement.
HB 622    Economics education and financial literacy. Patron %u2013 Robert OrrockAdds the following language to the original bill:  Local school boards may implement this requirement through relevant Standards of Learning and career and technical education programs or through other educational programs that comply with Board objectives for economics education and financial literacy.
Please contact your Virginia General Assembly member with these concerns before January 12, 2011. Information provided from VMEA
We the undersigned are sending this petition to you with the hopes that you will either repeal the bill adopted in 2009 that created a Finance/Economics class for all Virginia high school students, or at the very least approve HB1518 so it can go to the House floor and on to the Senate.This petition, though sponsored by the Fairfax Arts Coalition for Education has been signed by 1,632 Virginians throughout the state.  Many have made comments indicating why they want this to either be repealed or sent on.  As people continue to sign, I will update you periodically. We thank you for looking at this petition and wish you the best of luck on your deliberations.
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