Virginia relies more on temporary furloughs to address teacher shortages (2023)

Virginia relies more on temporary furloughs to address teacher shortages (1)

As Virginia's teacher shortage continues, the state is trying to avoid further educational impacts by issuing more provisional licenses.

The Commonwealth issued a total of 8,434 provisional licenses in 2021-22, compared to an average of 6,787 in years before the COVID-19 pandemic, according toa November reportof the Virginia Joint Commission on Legislative Review and Audit, which conducts reviews and oversees state agencies on behalf of the General Assembly.

The Virginia Education Association, the state's teachers' union, said the exodus of teachers, including highly qualified educators, is linked to low wages, increased workloads and politicized work environments.

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“For a long time in Virginia, teachers with short-term provisional licenses played an important role, and this is a totally viable path to eventually becoming fully licensed teachers,” said Chad Stewart, policy analyst for the Virginia Education Association. Virginia. “But the way this license is working right now, given the magnitude of provisionally licensed teachers we have, doesn’t necessarily match the way it was conceived.”

Provisional licenses are short-term, non-renewable licenses issued by the Virginia Department of Education to teachers who have not met all of the state's requirements to teach but still hold some qualifications.

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For example, individuals who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university but have not taken courses in education would not meet the department's requirements for a standard teaching license. However, they could apply for a provisional license.

The department also licenses "out-of-field" professors who have not yet completed their courses or certification in the content area they are teaching.

In Virginia, provisionally licensed teachers solved the teacher shortage. The November JLARC report found that school divisions across the state have become more reliant on provisionally licensed teachers, with approximately 7.7% of all provisionally licensed teachers pre-pandemic and 9.5% in that category in 2021-22 .

“This represents an extraordinarily large change in the proportion of teachers with a provisional license, which did not exceed 8.3% in any previous year examined,” the commission wrote.

Virginia's teacher vacancy rate increased from 3% in 2021-22 to 3.8% as of Oct. 1, according to the Department of Education. Data includes licensed and unlicensed teachers. Special education had the highest enrollment rate at the beginning of the last two school years.

Although the Virginia Education Association has found in the past that enrollment rates are higher in rural and high-poverty school divisions, it says that enrollment rates in non-rural schools are now on par with other school divisions.

The role of provisional licenses

Both the Virginia Association of Superintendents and the Virginia Education Association support provisional licensing. Scott Brabrand, executive director of the association of superintendents, said in an email to Mercury that the option is "another tool for school districts to use as needed."

However, a teacher who has not completed specific teaching courses is more likely to be less effective than a fully licensed teacher, according to JLARC's November report.

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"The completed bachelor's degree is important because it requires courses related to teaching methods (pedagogy), which contributes to teacher effectiveness at all levels of teaching," wrote the JLARC.

Stewart said it's vital that teachers have experience with pedagogical thinking, or the ability to think while teaching, and knowledge of how to plan and sequence lessons to best help students retain knowledge. Without training in classroom management skills and student readiness, there are concerns about the success of interim teachers.

“We're not saying that it's not a viable path and that it shouldn't be available to some people who are really interested in getting into the teaching profession,” Stewart said. “But what we're seeing now with thousands of new people taking these roles is very concerning because it seems to be filling the gap [from] the teacher shortage crisis that has become so severe in this state, and it masks the magnitude of how bad it's gotten.

stop the lack of teachers

As school leaders across the state struggle to find ways to address teacher shortages, the Arlington Public Schools turned to a 2019 law that creates an alternative path to teacher licensing.

Thatlegislation,by Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, requested that the Board of Education give special consideration to individuals seeking a provisional license who have completed a program offered by a program accredited by the Board of Educator Readiness Accreditation.

Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, supported a similar proposal aimed at helping the Arlington Public Schoolsmontessori program- the only Montessori program in Virginia's public schools - addresses teacher shortages. Montessori schools are based on Maria Montessori's educational theories and focus on more hands-on, student-driven learning than traditional classrooms typically provide.

At the time, the Arlington program had to turn away many experienced applicants because they lacked a Virginia teaching license and Montessori credential.

“We were already feeling some of that pressure because the requirements to have a Montessori credential and a public school license in Virginia were already challenging,” said Monique O'Grady, a former Arlington school board member.

The 2019 law required the State Board of Education to create a process that would allow a school board or a school board-sponsored organization, such as the Montessori program, to ask the board to approve an alternate route for teachers to meet the requirements of a contract. provisional or renewable license. . That path could include "alternatives to regulatory requirements for teacher preparation, including professional assessments and alternative courses."

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Arlington proposed that applicants would be eligible for a provisional teaching license if they had, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a credential issued by an institution accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education and had successfully passed in Virginia - Praxis tests required in your specific area.

The board granted Arlington's request on March 23.

“Montessori teaching is already in such high demand that the group is already small,” said O'Grady. “Any barrier that makes it difficult for a professor to come to Virginia to teach makes it difficult for us to fill that position, and I think that's what we were really addressing.”

Legislative and administrative efforts

Other bills passed during the 2022 and 2023 sessions sought to give more flexibility to the state's provisional license system.

Last year, lawmakers allowed the Board of Education to temporarily extend certain teachers' licenses by two years andissue a three-year provisional licensefor individuals with non-US teaching licenses or certifications

During the last session, legislators also gave the board authority to extend provisional licenses for up to two years based on a satisfactory performance review and a recommendation from the superintendent.

But provisional licensing is not the only solution legislators are looking for to involve teachers in the classroom.

Recent legislation introduced by Del. Carrie Coyner, R-Chesterfield, and Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, seeks retired school staff to address teacher shortage.

Under existing law, Coyner said retired administrative and instructional employees, student support workers and bus drivers with at least 25 years of service cannot return to work until one year after retirement without compromising their pension benefits.

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The newlegislationshortens that one-year period to six months, allowing retired teachers to return to the classroom to fill vacancies more quickly.

Coyner said he pushed to cut the outage to one month but committed to six months. Other proposals forMinutes of Senator Creigh, D-Bath and Del.steal bell, R-Albermarle, would have reduced the return to work by three months. A different version of Deeds' bill was later passed.

Still, he said he was optimistic the legislation would help address the shortage, as many retired school workers are looking for work.

“There are stories across the Community of children sitting in classrooms with long-term surrogates who are very kind and hardworking but lack the qualifications of a teacher and we must do everything we can to address this. ”Coyner told Mercury.

Hoping to get retired school employees back into schools more quickly, the legislation also included language that directs the VRS to verify that retired school employees can return to work within six months. The report must be delivered to the chairs of the House and Senate finance committees by Nov. 1.

Meanwhile, proposals to improve teacher pay and provide additional training and professional support to educators have failed.

During a CNN town hall last month, Governor Glenn Youngkin admitted that Virginia's teachers are underpaid and praised the legislators' inclusion in the state budget of 10% raises for teachers over the next two years. Still, some education groups say the increases would leave Virginia teacher salaries below pre-pandemic salary levels due to inflation, as well as below the national average for teacher pay. The VEA said the 7% budget proposal proposed by the House and Senate would bring teachers back to 2019-20 levels.

In 2022-23, the median teacher salary nationwide is $67,885 compared to Virginia's $62,963, according to the VEA. The national fee is expected to increase to $69,343 in the 2023-24 school year.

In September, Youngkinordered the Superintendent of Public Instruction"Use all discretion within the law in issuing and renewing teaching licenses, including for teachers licensed in another state and retired teachers whose licenses may have expired."

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The Secretary of Education reacted by launching thebecome a teacheryturning the tidecampaigns, which aim to reduce entry barriers for qualified individuals into the profession, increase the pool of eligible candidates for hard-to-fill positions, and improve recruitment and retention strategies.

JLARC is also reviewing the professor's portfolio, with a report expected in early fall.

Virginia wednesdayis part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by donations and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Please contact editor Sarah Vogelsong with . . . Siga Virginia Mercury emFacebookyGore.


Is Virginia relying more heavily on provisional licenses to fill teacher shortages? ›

The November JLARC report found school divisions statewide have become more reliant on provisionally licensed teachers, with approximately 7.7% of all teachers being provisionally licensed before the pandemic and 9.5% falling in that category in 2021-22.

How bad is the teacher shortage in Virginia? ›

A severe shortage of qualified teachers leaves schools understaffed; consequently, Virginia's students are underserved. Data show that 10,900 teachers left the workforce ahead of the 2022-23 school year, while Virginia schools hired only 7,208 teachers with first-time licenses.

What is contributing to the teacher shortage? ›

This shortage of workers is due to a number of factors. Among them are pay, working conditions, lack of support, lack of autonomy, and the changing curriculum. The shortage of teachers will inevitably cause a decline in educational standards. The shortage is crucially important to educational outcomes.

How can teacher shortages in the United States be addressed? ›

These strategies include, but are not limited to, improving school environments; providing needed academic resources, materials, and equipment; paying stipends; recruiting necessary school and Regional Education Office staff to support teachers; arranging internships, professional development with credit hours, and ...

What does a provisional teaching license mean Virginia? ›

The provisional license is a nonrenewable license valid for a period not to exceed three years. It is issued to an individual who has minimal competency gaps for full licensure as set forth by the VDOE in the Virginia Licensure Regulations for School Personnel.

Can you extend a provisional teaching license in Virginia? ›

The Board shall extend for at least one additional year, but for no more than two additional years, the three-year provisional license of a teacher upon receiving from the division superintendent (i) a recommendation for such extension and (ii) satisfactory performance evaluations for such teacher for each year of the ...

What state has the highest teacher shortage? ›

Georgia had the highest number of vacancies (3,112) for the 2019-2020 school year. More recently, during the 2021-2022 school year, Florida had the most vacancies with 3,911 positions unfulfilled. That same school year, Mississippi and Alabama had over 3,000 vacancies.

What state has the most teacher shortages? ›

For the 2022-2023 school year, Michigan had the most teacher shortages in math, science, world languages, health and physical fitness, art and music, language arts, English as a second language, special education, social studies and career and technical education, according to U.S. Department of Education data.

Is Virginia a good state for teachers? ›


Virginia's public schools are ranked fourth overall in the country. The state spends about $12,216 per student, around the national average. The pupil-to-teacher ratio is below the national average at 14:1. Virginia teachers get paid an average of $59,965.

What are the top 3 reasons for shortages in education? ›

Experts say low pay, increasing cost of living, retirement and the pandemic are all reasons for the shortage of teachers across the country. As a result, some districts have had to hire underprepared or under-qualified teachers to fill the need.

What are the negative impacts of teacher shortage? ›

Teacher shortages lead to missed or insufficient learning opportunities. There may be a discontinuity in the delivery of instruction, and key concepts may be overlooked altogether. These occurrences limit the educational opportunities that students can and should receive.

Why America's teacher shortage is going to get worse? ›

For starters, shortages are occurring because of increased demand on public schools. As of fall 2017, 50.7 million students were attending public elementary and secondary schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2025, that number is expected to expand to 51.4 million.

How can substitute teachers solve shortage? ›

Hire permanent substitutes for each school building. This forward-thinking solution ensures the placement of at least one substitute in each building every day, ready to cover any absences that might occur. Issue personal invitations to retired educators.

When did the teacher shortage begin? ›

Reports of Teacher Shortages: According to recently released federal data, the percentages of schools reporting that they had teaching vacancies and difficult-to-staff positions have declined significantly since 1999-00.

Why do we need more teachers? ›

Teachers also expose children to ideas and topics that they might otherwise not have come into contact with. They can expand on interests and push their students to do better. Teachers don't accept failure, and therefore, students are more likely to succeed.

How do I become a teacher in Virginia without a teaching degree? ›

People who wish to teach in Virginia, and who have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university other than an education degree and who have not earned a teaching certificate, can earn an alternative teaching certificate as long as they satisfy the state's requirements.

Do you need a teaching license to teach at a private school in VA? ›

You do not need a license to teach at a private school in Virginia, unless you will be working with students with disabilities, in which case licensing is mandatory.

Do I need a license to teach in Virginia? ›

Teacher licensure is required to teach in Virginia public schools as well as in most private schools in the state. The Virginia Department of Education oversees the teacher certification process, which is outlined in detail below for those who want to learn how to become a teacher in Virginia.

What happens if my VA teaching license expires? ›

A person whose license has expired may renew it within one year after its expiration date by paying the late fee prescribed in 18VAC125-20-30 and the license renewal fee for the year the license was not renewed and by completing the continuing education requirements specified in 18VAC125-20-121 for that year.

How many points do I need to renew my Virginia teaching license? ›

Individuals renewing a five-year renewable license must complete 180 professional development points as prescribed by the Virginia Board of Education.

How long does Virginia teaching license last? ›

After five years, an initial teacher license expires, and a teacher must renew to continue teaching. The main requirement to renew a license is for teachers to show they've earned 180 professional development credits.

What state pays teachers the least? ›

The average salary for teachers was $49,583 in Florida—the second lowest in the country after Mississippi. All other occupations averaged $51,950, a 4.6 percent difference.

Where are teachers quitting the most? ›

In Washington state, more teachers left the classroom after last school year than at any point in the last three decades. Maryland and Louisiana saw more teachers depart than any time in the last decade. And North Carolina saw a particularly alarming trend of more teachers leaving mid-school year.

What state has the lowest average teacher salary? ›

Mississippi has the lowest average teacher salary of $47,162, followed by South Dakota with $49,761. These are the only states with average teacher salaries under $50,000 a year. Other states with lower average teacher salaries are West Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Arkansas.

In which country teachers are most respected? ›

In countries like China and Ghana, society sees teachers as highly competent and, at the same time, they are viewed with great respect. The opposite is true in countries like Peru, Greece, and Israel.

Which state has the most teachers? ›

Number of Public School Instructional Staff by State
  • The state with the most public school instructional staff in the 2019-2020 school year was Texas, with 416,892 instructional staff.
  • After Texas, California was the state with the second most public school instructional staff, having 374,003 instructional staff.

Does Florida have a teacher shortage? ›

The Florida Education Association tracks advertised teacher vacancies statewide and counted nearly 5,294 vacancies for January 2023. In August 2022, the union counted 6,006 teacher vacancies.

What rank is Virginia in education? ›

Read our methodology to see how the scores and rankings were calculated.
Virginia Rankings.
Higher Education#14

What county in Virginia pays teachers the most? ›

472 Northern Virginia schools ranked by teacher salary
RankSchool SystemAverage Salary
1Fairfax County Public Schools84,842.70
2Arlington County Public Schools83,843.00
3Fairfax County Public Schools82,767.55
4Arlington County Public Schools81,873.00
6 more rows
Mar 10, 2017

What rank is Virginia in teacher pay? ›

Virginia ranks in the middle of the country in terms of absolute average pay, but it ranked 48th in index-adjusted pay in the country. On the other hand, West Virginia had one of the lowest average teacher salaries in the country in absolute numbers, but when index-adjusted, it ranks 26th among states.

Why is teaching so hard right now? ›

Teaching is a valuable and rewarding profession, but it can also be tiring and exhausting. Teaching is arguably more difficult now than it has ever been for a variety of reasons, including learner behavior, fast-changing technology, and poor compensation.

Why teachers are leaving the profession? ›

Beyond compensation, these educators also feel overworked and undervalued. Nearly 75 percent of respondents who cite expectations as a top reason they plan to leave say they have too much work to do each day and that there aren't enough teachers to carry the workload.

What is the biggest problem in education today? ›

Deficits in government funding for schools.

Funding is always an issue for schools and is, in fact, one of the biggest issues facing the American public education system today. For more than 90% of K-12 schools, funding comes from state and local governments, largely generated by sales and income taxes.

What will happen if there are no teachers? ›

When left without the guidance of a teacher, they would become reluctant to do anything related to actual learning or education, they just want to chat, play video games and they end up becoming prey to ignorance and when this happens, a shot at acquiring knowledge has been lost already.

Is teacher burnout leading to teacher shortage? ›

The combination of extra work and fewer resources has caused unprecedented teacher stress in the profession, which has increased teacher burnout. As a result of stress in the workplace, the education sector has lost educators to teacher burnout turnaround and caused the teacher shortage.

Why is teacher burnout so high? ›

Teaching is a rewarding yet demanding career. With long hours and a heavy workload, it's easy to fall prey to teacher burnout. Without proper support, teachers are in danger of being overworked and not taking care of their own mental and physical health needs.

What is the most important thing a substitute teacher does? ›

As a substitute teacher, your job is to take the place of the classroom teacher, and you need to be a professional and follow the lesson plans that were left for you. Oftentimes, substitute teachers think the key to gaining control of the classroom and earning students' respect is to be a friend.

What is the biggest challenge in substitute teaching? ›

One of the biggest challenges for substitute teachers is keeping students engaged and focused. It's important to show the hiring manager that you want to keep students active to help them learn the course material.

Can substitute teachers turn down a job? ›

Substitute teachers only accept the assignments that they want. If there is a schedule conflict on a given day, a substitute needs only to decline any requests that come in that day. Of course, the converse is true; there may not be assignments available on days that a substitute teacher is wishing to work.

What are the root causes of the teacher shortage? ›

10 Reasons Why There's a Teacher Shortage
  • Parents bubble wrap their children. ...
  • Lack of respect for the teaching career is at an all-time high. ...
  • Solutions are aimed at attracting new teachers and not keeping the old ones. ...
  • We do not wish to be mentally and physically drained each and every day.
Sep 2, 2022

What is causing the national teacher shortage? ›

During and after the recession, school districts across the country, faced with declining tax revenues, were forced to reduce their teacher workforces in a number of ways. Some educators lost their jobs, while salary cuts and changing working conditions caused others to leave the profession.

Did the pandemic cause a teacher shortage? ›

The pandemic has exacerbated a long-standing national shortage of teachers. What this report finds: The pandemic exacerbated a preexisting and long-standing shortage of teachers. The shortage is particularly acute for certain subject areas and in some geographic locations.

How bad is the teacher shortage in the United States? ›

It's a "crisis" in many districts. Others have more success filling positions. More than three-quarters of U.S. states are experiencing a teacher shortage, highlighting a growing concern among public education and government officials about issues that were exacerbated during three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which teaching subject is most in demand? ›

Which teaching subject is most in demand? While specific needs vary by institution, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are subjects that are always in high demand.

How does teacher shortage affect education? ›

Teacher shortages can significantly depress student achievement, as schools often cancel courses due to vacancies or staff classes with substitutes and underprepared teachers who are not certified to teach their subject matter.

What states have the biggest teacher shortage? ›

According to U.S. Department of Education data from the 2022-2023 school year, Maine is experiencing the most teacher vacancies in special education, math, science, language arts, early childhood, elementary core subjects, art and music, and career and technical education.

What states does a Virginia teaching license have reciprocity with? ›

Virginia Teacher Reciprocity Agreements
CaliforniaLouisianaNew Mexico
ColoradoMaineNew York
ConnecticutMarylandNorth Carolina
DelawareMassachusettsNorth Dakota
7 more rows

Is the demand for teachers increasing or decreasing? ›

Job Outlook

Employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations. About 77,900 openings for high school teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Which state in the US pays teachers the least? ›

The average salary for teachers was $49,583 in Florida—the second lowest in the country after Mississippi. All other occupations averaged $51,950, a 4.6 percent difference. In Colorado, teachers earn on average $60,611, about 3 percent less than the $62,900 of other occupations.

What rank is Virginia State in education? ›

In a recent study from WalletHub, Virginia ranks at the seventh spot nationwide when it comes to education. Massachusetts tops all states in regard to educational attainment and quality of education, with Maryland coming in second. West Virginia was ranked last among the states.

Do you need a master's degree to teach in VA? ›

Virginia requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited program to become a licensed teacher in the state. As a part of this degree, you will need field experience, along with time as a supervised student teacher.

How long does a Virginia teaching license last? ›

After five years, an initial teacher license expires, and a teacher must renew to continue teaching. The main requirement to renew a license is for teachers to show they've earned 180 professional development credits.

Why are so many teachers quitting? ›

Our broader research on the Great Attrition shows that workload-related stress and toxic managers caused many people to leave their jobs during and after the pandemic. Across industries, 70 percent of people noted that they define their purpose through their work, which is also true for educators.

What type of teacher is in highest demand? ›

Which teaching subject is most in demand? While specific needs vary by institution, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are subjects that are always in high demand.


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