Gov. Youngkin reveals plan addressing teacher shortage, learning loss

Governor Glenn Youngkin proposed solutions to the teacher shortage and student learning gaps by signing an executive directive Thursday morning.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 6:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Glenn Youngkin proposed solutions to the teacher shortage and student learning gaps by signing an executive directive Thursday morning.

“It makes one sad to think that we have a whole generation of students who aren’t fully prepared,” Youngkin said to students and staff at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford.

Under the executive directive, the governor outlined a number of actions that include:

  • Issuing teaching and renewal licenses for teachers who are licensed out-of-state and retired teachers whose licenses have relapsed.
  • Coordinating with the Virginia Retirement System to allow retired teachers to fill all vacant K-12 positions.
  • Calling on the Secretary of Education, Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of Labor, and the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry to work together to reduce red tape in getting a teacher’s license while ensuring high standards.
  • Targeting teacher recruitment and retention by offering bonuses to communities with the greatest need, maximizing teacher benefits, and fund incentives towards existing positions with Covid relief funds.
  • Forming an apprenticeship program allowing college students earning a degree in Education to earn credits while learning in the classroom.
  • Forming a statewide model policy to establish childcare specialist apprenticeship opportunities for high school students.
  • Offering support in child care operating inside of schools to benefit both teachers and local families.

“We need to know the needs through accurate and timely data on why teachers have left the profession. Why do we have vacancies?” he asked.

Youngkin said documenting those answers routinely in a comprehensive plan would also help address the root of teacher vacancies.

School board member Jonathan Young said retention is a big issue for Richmond Public Schools, where one quarter, or 25.6%, of RPS teachers, walked away last school year.

“We’re losing teachers because they are being micromanaged - because they are being told to shut up, sit down, know your place,” Young said.

Young said he hopes the governor’s executive action will make a difference.

“This is the beginning of an accelerated program that will not just bridge the gap for our children, but also bridge the gap in having a great teacher in every single classroom,” Youngkin said.

The governor is also launching a new pilot program where 15 school divisions will share learning loss recovery plans to see what works best.

The hope is to roll out the program statewide based on their findings eventually.