A Crisis in Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Virginia

Secretary of Education Atif Qarni – Why is this man smiling”?

by James C. Sherlock

I urge those readers with experience as teachers and anyone else with expertise in education to review  a March 2020 presentation by Patty S. Pitts, Assistant Superintendent Teacher Education and Licensure Virginia Department of Education March 9, 2020. She discusses both reasons for teachers leaving Virginia public schools and the shortfalls in recruitment of their replacements. Her data  did not include the retirements and resignations since COVID.

Consider these data in light of the new expectations of teachers as reflected in the State Board of Education and the School Boards of Virginia Beach and Albemarle County policies written about in this space earlier.

The specific recommendations of the Commission on African American History Education in Virginia relative to professional development of teachers will be reviewed by the Virginia Board of Education on September 17th.

Click on and download those recommendations from the Governor’s Commission on African American History Education in Virginia.

I quote them here:

Professional Development Recommendations: 

Additionally, the Commission recognized that change in the delivery of content will only be successful if teachers and school leaders are appropriately supported and equipped to do so. The professional development subcommittee developed six key recommendations to ensure Virginia educators achieve proficiency in culturally relevant teaching and gain appropriate foundational knowledge in African American history. These recommendations are to:

  • Revise Virginia’s Teacher Evaluation Regulations and Virginia’s Uniform Performance standards for School Leaders to include cultural proficiency efficacy.
  • Require every Virginia educator to certify that they have enrolled in Cultural Competency Professional Development by 2022.
  • Allocate funding and personnel resources to develop and implement comprehensive professional development in the areas of cultural competency and African American History content for Virginia educators.
  • Mandate certification (Continuing Education Units) in African American History for all holders of education licenses issued by the Virginia Department of Education (this includes initial licensure and renewals).
  • Amend requirements for licensure endorsements in History/Social Science to require evidence of course study in African American History.
  • Require a credit in African American History as a new requirement for graduation in Virginia. The new elective course in African American History developed by VDOE and WHRO could be used to fulfill this requirement.

It is yours to judge from Ms. Pitts’ March presentation  the prospects for teacher hiring and retention in light of these new teacher professional development requirements.