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Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement regarding the Norfolk Circuit Court’s ruling of the Virginia Opportunity Educational Institution (OEI) as unconstitutional:
“After carefully evaluating the Norfolk Circuit Court’s ruling, my administration has decided not to appeal the court’s decision. Two attorneys general and our own analysis support the Circuit Court’s reasoning on the legal issues at stake. The Constitution of Virginia clearly gives the primary responsibility for educating Virginia children to local school boards across the Commonwealth, while assigning the task of overseeing those efforts to the Virginia Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“Unfortunately, the statute that established the OEI altered these relationships in significant and unconstitutional ways. There is no question that we must work together to ensure that every single Virginia student has access to a world class education in a public school, and I am confident there is a better way forward. I have asked Secretary of Education Anne Holton to preside over the coalition of government, nonprofit and private sector leaders who have a stake in improving Virginia’s underperforming schools so that we can better prepare all of our students to compete in a global economy.
“Despite our decision, I am grateful to the proponents of OEI for the constructive debate this legislation has initiated. It has helped us all focus on the importance of closing the achievement gap and paving the way for success and achievement in and out of the classroom. We can, we must, and we will do better for Virginia’s students.”