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Commonwealth's Counties

Textbooks, Teacher Shortage, and Tapping into Innovation: Post-Session Board of Education Updates

Since the 2018 General Assembly Session, the Board of Education has held two business meetings, discussing passed legislation, listening to state and national education issues, and acting on multiple items. Of particular interest to counties is the Board’s plans to address the teacher shortage.

Representatives from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) presented state and national trend data on the teacher shortage crisis. To view the presentation, please click here. In 2017, at least 23 states addressed teacher recruitment from collecting teacher supply and demand data, developing districts of innovation, developing career pathways and grow-your-own programs, altering preparation and licensure requirements to providing financial incentives, and incentivizing retired teachers to return.

The Virginia Advisory Committee on Teacher Shortages recommendations focused on recruitment and retention components of the shortage. The committee analyzed the challenge, and determined that the issues in Virginia relate to costly pathways into teaching combined with limited earning potential, a negative perception of the teaching profession, and undesirable working conditions. The five priority recommendations emphasize financially accessible and stackable pathways into teaching, permitting undergraduate teaching majors, raising awareness of federal loan forgiveness programs, considering establishing a competitive Commonwealth Teaching Fellows Program, and differentiating compensation or retention bonuses. Two recommendations were taken up as either policy or budget items in the 2018 General Assembly. To access the presentation, please click here. The Advisory Board on Teacher Education and Licensure also offered recommendations addressing teacher shortage in addition to the proposed regulations on personnel and education program approval. The recommendations can be found here.

During the 2018 Session, there were over 20 bills addressing teacher shortage. Of note, HB 1125 (Landes)/SB 349 (Peake) addressed the crisis via teacher licensure requirements. The bills: 1) increase the length of time a license is active from five to 10 years; 2) provide a one-year grace period for teachers to meet requirements when they seek a provisional license; 3) remove additional assessments for teachers seeking licensure reciprocity; 4) establish an alternative pathway to licensure for elementary preK-6 teachers and K-12 special-education teachers; 5) extend the three-year provisional license for up to three more years based on a recommendation from the division superintendent and performance; 6) increase the provisional waiver process to a biennial timeframe; and, 7) require that the Board amend regulations to establish requirements for license renewal and the completion of no more than 360 professional development hours within the 10-year period.

Of note, the Board also took final action on the following items:

  • Approved 2018-2019 K-12 Mathematics Textbooks
  • Approved 2018-2019 Textbooks and Instructional Materials for K-12 History and Social Science with potential supplements to cover: 1) Virginia state and local government, 2) massive resistance, 3) Jim Crow laws, 4) Virginia’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, and 5) the Holocaust and Genocide in World History
  • Removed the Dryden Elementary School Project in Lee County from the waiting list
  • Approved leases for the Rural Retreat Middle and High School Projects in Wythe County
  • Approved Bellwood Elementary School’s year-round school plan in Chesterfield County
  • Approved the Standards of Accreditation regulations
  • Amended and approved the School Divisions of Innovation regulations to include information sharing
  • Removed three and added 20 Board approved industry credentials
  • Expedited filling Board vacancies

Future meetings will include status updates on the Board’s priority concerns from teacher shortage and equity to accountability.

VACo Contact: Khaki LaRiviere

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