Virginia report shows more teachers leaving the workforce than entering it
Data shows school divisions have relied on provisionally licensed teachers to fill vacant positions
Virginia has more teachers leaving the workforce than newly licensed teachers entering it, according to a report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.
Data show that 10,900 teachers left the workforce ahead of the current school year, while only 7,208 teachers with first-time licenses were hired.
The finding was part of a broader study by the commission on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on students and staff in K-12 public schools.
“This is a major, substantial report from a nonpartisan arm of our legislature and it clearly points to the fact that significant new investments are needed to meet student needs and address our major teacher shortage,” said Chad Stewart, a policy analyst for the Virginia Education Association. “And the administration will show us how seriously they’re ready to respond to these recommendations based on what they choose to put into their update to the budget come December.”
JLARC found that “prior to the pandemic, there were about 800 vacant teaching positions statewide, on average.” That number rose “substantially” to about 2,800 vacant positions in October 2021 and 3,300 as of mid-August 2022.
“The majority of divisions (86 of 131) had higher teacher turnover between the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school year when compared with before the pandemic,” JLARC found. Turnover increased the most in Highland, King and Queen and Southampton counties, while vacancy rates in fall 2021 were highest in Franklin City, at 32%, and Norfolk, at 17%.
School divisions have relied on provisionally licensed teachers to fill vacant positions, JLARC found. During the 2021-22 school year, 9.5% of the overall teacher workforce were provisionally licensed teachers, up from 7.7% pre-pandemic. Out-of-field teachers, or those who teach a subject matter that differs from their area of certification, grew from 2.4% of the workforce pre-pandemic to 6.2% in 2021-22.
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