‘Effective solutions:’ Virginia Education Association addresses teacher shortages

The President of the Virginia Education Association spoke about Governor Youngkin’s Executive Directive

RICHMOND, Va. – From teacher shortages to bus driver shortages and more, the educational system has taken a hard hit this year.

“We all know that we have a teacher shortage in Virginia and the reasons for it aren’t a mystery to anyone who’s been paying attention: Our teachers are not only underpaid but do their jobs under almost unbearably difficult working conditions,” Dr. James J. Fedderman, the President of the Virginia Education Association said. “They don’t get the respect they deserve and they aren’t given the resources they need to most effectively serve our students.”

Recommended Videos

On Thursday, Governor Youngkin signed an Executive Directive to address those shortages.

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

Some of the points included in the Directive are as follows, according to a press release by the Office of the Governor:

  • “Let teachers teach, especially by expediting teaching and renewing licenses whenever possible,
  • Build the K-12 teacher pipeline with an innovative, no-cost apprenticeship program,
  • Target teacher recruitment and retention efforts in communities and subject areas most in need,
  • Connect teachers with childcare options and build the early childhood educator pipeline by training high school students as childcare specialists,
  • Collect and provide accurate, timely data on teaching positions, including information on what is working for teachers and what is not, so that we can better recruit teachers, retain teachers, and address shortages when they occur.”

But some of the ideas set forth in the Directive did not offer serious investments that would move the needle on the issue, according to Fedderman.

“If the new collective bargaining law for school employees that we helped get passed was in place widely around our state, educators and local school leaders would be at the table, negotiating effective ways to fix teacher shortages in their communities,” Fedderman said.

Fedderman gave other solutions that he said educators have been offering all along:

  • Pay educators competitive salaries to attract and retain high-quality staff.
  • Increase additional aid to high-poverty schools through the At-Risk Add-On.
  • Lift the “support cap,” which limits state aid for critical school positions.
  • Invest in community school models to break down barriers to education faced by many students.
  • Fully fund the Standards of Quality set by the Virginia Board of Education.

“Our current budget surplus could be used effectively to solve this problem, which affects all Virginia’s citizens,” Fedderman said. “By what he decides to do with those funds, our governor will show us if he truly values education and solving our teacher shortages.”

You can read Youngkin’s full Executive Directive on teaching shortages in Virginia schools here.

About the Author

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Recommended Videos