(WWBT) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed an order to address the state's teacher shortage. He also announced a series of budget actions, which include investing in recruiting new teachers and keeping current teachers.
The governor is also asking the Virginia Board of Education to provide emergency regulations in giving colleges and universities the option to offer education as an undergraduate major. State regulations currently do not allow for undergraduate majors in teaching.
"The teacher shortage is a growing crisis that we have to stop and reverse if we are serious about the Commonwealth's economic future," said Governor Terry McAuliffe. "High-quality teachers are the key to unlocking the potential in our children, our Commonwealth, and the new Virginia economy and these steps will help us recruit and retain them across the state."
McAuliffe announced the following budget actions on Monday:
- New funding ($1.1 million over biennium) to automate the teacher licensure process, which is currently paper based and burdensome for both teachers and Virginia Department of Education staff;
- New funding ($1 million over biennium) to support the recruitment and retention of principals in Virginia’s most challenged school divisions. Principal leadership is critical to the success of our challenged schools, and has a direct impact on the ability to attract and retain our best and brightest teachers;
- An increase in the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) program ($225,000 in FY2020) to encourage students attending Virginia’s private colleges and universities to enter into the teaching profession. Seniors pursuing degrees in education will receive an additional $500 increase in their TAG award amount; and,
- New funding ($100,000 over biennium) the help cover the cost of tests and test-preparation programs for provisionally licensed minority students who pass those exams at disproportionately lower rates than their peers. This is one of the contributing factors to Virginia’s shortage of teachers of color, which is has huge implications for the success of the Commonwealth’s students.
- Revised budget language to improve the Virginia Teaching Scholarship Loan Program to better incentivize teachers to fill vacancies in the places where they are needed the most. Students will be eligible for up to $20,000 if they teach for two years in a top five critical shortage area, in a division with 50% free and reduced lunch student population.
The full budget will be announced on Monday, Dec. 18.
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