Dan Cohen AUTHOR Virginia’s public schools have a reputation for high standards, an attribute that historically has made serving at a Virginia military installation a favorable assignment for military families.Recently, however, an independent education organization found a significant gap between students’ proficiency scores on the state’s Standards of Learning assessments with their scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. The discrepancy of about 35 percentage points indicates the Virginia Department of Education has lowered its learning standards to improve students’ proficiency scores, writes Sandy Law, a military wife and mother of three sons, in a commentary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.“This may make parents feel good for a while. But if it keeps up, it will ultimately hurt Virginia’s reputation and desirability as a duty station,” writes Law, a member of Military Families for High Standards.The issue already has become apparent for military families moving to Virginia. “Whereas many military families used to worry that their students would be behind once they got here, I am not alone in finding that students are actually more proficient than their Virginia peers,” she says.Law urges the state Department of Education to address its “honesty gap” now, given DOD’s interest in shedding some of its excess infrastructure, which stands at an estimated 22 percent. She notes that military leaders previously have cited the quality of local schools as a factor in the services’ basing decisions.“[Virginia] must take the necessary steps to hold students to high levels of proficiency on the Standards of Learning assessments. Military families, and indeed all families who care about strong public schools, are looking to the commonwealth for leadership,” Law concludes.