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Legislation providing flexibility for teacher licensure clears Senate Finance

HB 1776 (Ward) would require the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) to grant a two-year extension of licenses for teachers and school personnel whose licenses expire on June 21, 2021, in order to provide additional time for individuals to complete the requirements for licensure. This is meant to provide additional flexibility to school personnel as they strive to adapt to the challenges of K-12 education during the pandemic and follows additional actions taken proactively by VBOE to provide extensions. It is hoped that reducing administrative burdens on teachers will help reduce the loss of experienced personnel needed to provide quality instruction to the Commonwealth’s students.

According to VBOE’s 2020 Annual Report, Virginia continues to face a shortage of quality educators entering and remaining in the classroom. It is anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on the shortage. The number of unfilled positions increased from 440 during the 2010-2011 school year to a height of 1,081 in the 2016-2017 school year, then dropped slightly in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school year. In the 2019-2020 school year, the number of unfilled positions stood at 1,063. The percent of provisionally licensed and inexperienced teachers has climbed similarly. The academic disciplines facing the highest critical shortage areas are Special Education, Elementary education (Grades PreK-6), and Middle Education (Grades 6-8).

HB 1776 reported unanimously from the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and will now head to the full Senate. The bill has not received a single “no” vote.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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