K-12 Education in Virginia

Public K–12 schools in Virginia are generally operated by the counties and cities, and not by the state. As of April 2010, a total of 1,259,623 students were enrolled in 1,881 local and regional schools in the Commonwealth, including three charter schools, and an additional 109 alternative and special education centers across 132 school divisions. Between 2000 and 2008, school enrollment increased 5%, the number of teachers 21%.

Besides the general public schools in Virginia, there are Governor's Schools and selective magnet schools. The Governor's Schools are a collection of more than 40 regional high schools and summer programs intended for gifted students. The Virginia Council for Private Education oversees the regulation of 294 state accredited and 141 non-accredited private schools. An additional 7,020 students receive homeschooling.

Nine high schools in the Northern Virginia region are ranked in the top 100 nationwide by Newsweek magazine. In addition, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which requires an application, listed as the best public high school in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. All Northern Virginia schools pay the test fees for students to take Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, and Alexandria and Arlington lead the nation in college course tests.

Civil War history
In October 2010, the vetting process used to approve history text books came into question over a fourth grade book entitled Our Virginia: Our Past and Present by Joy Masoff. Masoff is not a trained historian, but had previously published Oh Yikes! History's Grossest Moments. Her text, which had been approved by the State Department of Education, claims that thousands of slaves fought for the South during the Civil War. Most historians disagree with that view. Although Virginia is one of 20 states that have a state-level process for approving text books, the book had been reviewed by a committee that did not include any trained historians. Virginia's curriculum requires that the African-Americans' role in the Civil War be covered, including their work on plantations and on the sidelines of battles. So Masoff conducted internet research on the topic and found three references derived from the Sons of Conferate Veterans, who believe that slavery was not the main cause of the American Civil War. The Department of Education has said it will contact school districts and advise against teaching the passage. On October 21, the publisher of Our Virginia: Our Past and Present, which Masoff owns, announced that it will distribute sticker labels that can be used to cover the disputed paragraph.