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Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin Signs Executive Order Addressing Teacher Shortage

The order would make it easier for out-of-state teachers to get licensed in Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia announced new initiatives aimed at addressing teacher shortages and learning gaps among students.

Virginia schools have between 1,000 and 1,200 unfilled positions across the state. A staffing shortage, which had been documented before the COVID-19 pandemic, increased by over 60% between 2020 and 2021.

“We need to know the needs through accurate and timely data on why teachers have left the profession. Why do we have vacancies?” Youngkin said while addressing students and teachers at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford.

“There are few professionals who are more dedicated and hardworking than teachers. Educating Virginia’s children requires a strong teacher pipeline and workforce. Recruiting, growing, and retaining high-quality teachers is crucial to ensuring a best-in-class education for our students,” the governor states in Executive Directive #3, which he signed on Sept. 2. 

“Our children are still recovering from devastating learning loss and other effects of school shutdowns,” he wrote. “We must pursue a comprehensive approach to supporting teacher recruitment and retention efforts.”

To fill the shortage, the directive approves giving or renewing licenses to licensed out-of-state teachers. The directive also permits retired Virginia teachers with expired or lapsed licenses to receive new accreditation and fill all vacant K-12 positions with the support of the Virginia Retirement System.

To help areas in the greatest need of recruiting teachers, those school districts can use COVID-19 relief funds to offer bonuses, maximum teaching benefits, and other incentives.

The directive also greenlights the creation of apprenticeship programs aimed at helping younger people gain experience in the education field. One apprenticeship opportunity program would allow high school students to train as childcare specialists. Another would allow college students pursuing a degree in Education to earn credit by working in real school classrooms, per WDBJ7

Additionally, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is required to inform all eligible teachers about the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program, “a public-private parent choice program that serves as a national model for early childhood education and care, as well as other child care opportunities.”

Youngkin also hopes to address the learning gap revealed in the state’s Standards of Learning assessment.

In January, the assessment indicated just over 27% of kindergarteners and almost 29% of first-graders tested below educational benchmark standards. This reflected a nearly 10% collective increase during the first year of the pandemic, according to the Virginia Mercury

“There is no silver bullet in anything and we have to recognize that, when we bring multiple initiatives to bear on a single problem, we give ourselves a much better chance at solving it,” Youngkin said.

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