Kaine Statement on 2022 National Education Report Card
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine—who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee—issued the following statement regarding the newly released 2022 National Assessment of Education Progress:
“In the wake of the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19, teachers, students, and their families need and deserve our support. That’s why Congress made historic investments in K-12 schools in the COVID relief bills, which provided invaluable resources to help students across Virginia. Many Virginia schools have used this federal funding to increase access to mental health services for students and meet the learning needs of especially vulnerable students, and not all of the allocated funding has been spent yet. I strongly encourage every Virginia school to continue to lean on these resources, and I will keep fighting for additional federal reforms to strengthen our education system like my bipartisan PREP Act to address the teacher and principal shortages that are adding even more strain on our schools.”
The National Assessment of Education Progress, also known as America’s Report Card, is an annual exam delivered to fourth and eighth grade students across America to gauge their proficiency in math and reading. According to The New York Times, this year, 36% of fourth graders and 26% of eighth graders nationwide were proficient in math. In Virginia, students outperformed those averages: 38% of fourth graders and 31% of eighth graders were proficient in math. 33% of fourth graders and 31% of eighth graders nationwide were proficient in reading. In Virginia, 32% of fourth graders and 31% of eighth graders were proficient.
Among the recent challenges faced by students and schools are the tolls of the pandemic on youth mental health and a severe teacher shortage. Kaine has long been a strong supporter of allocating needed resources to schools to address these challenges, both through annual government spending bills and through the American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, both of which he helped pass.
Kaine also continues to push for his bipartisan Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act, which would help ensure that there are enough teachers and principals with the right skills and tools to prepare students for the future, by expanding the definition of “high need” districts under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to include schools experiencing teacher shortages in rural communities as well as in areas like special education, English language, science, technology, engineering, math, and career and technical education (CTE) in order to give schools access to additional support. It would also encourage school districts to create partnerships with local community colleges and universities to ensure their programs are educating future teachers in areas where there is a shortage of educators. In addition, since the majority of students in our nation’s public schools are students of color but only 20% of the teaching workforce is comprised of teachers of color, the PREP Act would increase support for teacher preparation programs at Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to support a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce.
In 2007, while Kaine was governor, Education Week ranked Virginia the state where a child was most likely to succeed.