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Virginia Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli is outlining his education platform.
For the last two decades, parents have been frustrated by the Standards of Learning — known as SOLs — because of concern that classes are designed to teach to the test. Cuccinelli says he wants to shift attention to student knowledge and problem solving rather than rote memorization and time spent in the classroom.
"Our first step will be to convene what we are calling an Apples Commission made up of academics, parents, principals, leaders, educators and students to review and recommend changes to Virginia's SOLs," he says.
Critics say Cuccinelli is rehashing a familiar debate and that the State Board of Education has been working on reforming the SOLs for years. Del. Rob Krupicka, a Democrat, says the idea of establishing a commission isn't exactly a game changer.
"I think in politics you have to be careful not to get enamored with the idea that someone is going to ask someone to sit around the table and that somehow constitutes bold leadership," Krupicka says.
Cuccinelli also wants to provide more options for failing schools, including closing them and sending students to better-performing schools or opening charter schools.