Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2022

Virginia Capitol Connections, Winter 2022 27 In a recent report by,1 Virginia ranks at the bottom of the 50 states when it comes to average pay for Virginia Teachers, which is around 53,000.00. This is a dramatic drop compared to a report out in early 2021 that showed Virginia ranking 34th in the county2. The average salary is around $53,933 compared to the average salary of $60,160.00 of other comparable occupations. To be licensed to teach a career and technical education class per section 8 VAC20-23-40 of the Code of Virginia you must have earned a baccalaureate degree, except for the Technical Professional License, from a regionally accredited college or university and meet requirements for the license sought. So, if you are seeking licensure to become a Technology Education teacher or Agricultural Education teacher you should have earned a degree in that field. Currently, in addition, in 2015, the general assembly amended Section 22.1-298.1 of the Code of Virginia to read “Every teacher seeking an initial licensure with an endorsement in career and technical education shall have an industry certification credential in the area in which the teacher seeks endorsement. If the teacher has not attained and industry certification credential, the Board may, upon request of the employing school division or educational agency, issue the teacher a provisional license to allow time for the teacher to attain such credential.” Virginia Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers currently rank 4th on Virginia’s top 10 list of critical teacher shortage areas. Each year school divisions have a difficult time finding qualified CTE teachers resulting in potential closing of programs. I recently participated in a meeting with CTE administrators, and several had 2 or more CTE teacher openings still in November. And, even more real is the fact that I recently received a call from a principal wanting to know if I would be interested in long term subbing for a program that I was endorsed to teach. Yes, Virginia, has a critical shortage of CTE teachers where duplicate student enrollment during the 2019-2020 school year was more than 679,000. How do we solve this problem and many others facing education today? The Virginia Association for Career and Technical Education publishes an annual Issues and Solutions document. With the assistance of Virginia educators, business representatives, and organizations representing career and technical education (CTE) professionals developed Virginia ACTE’s positions. Virginia ACTE welcomes comments from citizens, parents, and members of the boards that govern Virginia’s public schools. We seek public policy support with the goal of providing opportunity for all Virginia students. This year’s list, not in any order of priority, highlights the following six issues. Virginia ACTE supports funding that would expand hiring workbased learning (WBL) coordinators to increase WBL opportunities for students and to align these opportunities with the commonwealth’s Profile of a Virginia Graduate. Virginia ACTE supports continued funding for industryrecognized standards, assessments, and credentials to strengthen CTE programs, develop staff, and prepare 21st century students for our future technical workforce. Virginia ACTE supports continued priority funding for CTE classroom lab equipment and program expansion to prepare students for a competitive workforce and postsecondary education. Virginia ACTE supports increased efforts by Virginia’s colleges and universities to develop and, where they already exist, strengthen innovative undergraduate and graduate teacher-preparation programs in CTE. Virginia ACTE supports funding for the integrated CTE curricula and specialized equipment in Governor’s STEM Academies and Governor’s Health Sciences Academies, which prepare students for in-demand, high-wage, and high-skill careers essential to Virginia. Virginia ACTE supports the expansion of elementary school CTE career awareness initiatives that create opportunities for student exposure to career pathways that encourage awareness, interest, and readiness for secondary CTE programs. Virginia ACTE advocates within all our CTE programs for all six of the Issues and Solutions listed as we share a common goal. For this article I will highlight several of the Policy Issues. Beginning with the critical shortage area of CTE teachers and finish with expanding CTE to elementary school aged children. In addition to an increase in student enrollment mentioned earlier. Virginia employers are looking to hire highly qualified employees that have the necessary workplace readiness skills; skills which are imbedded in all CTE course competencies. In addition, four CTE program area teachers Agriculture Education, Business and Information Technology, Family and Consumer Sciences and Marketing, comprise the largest number of instructors to teach Economics and Personal Finance, a Virginia graduation requirement. When a CTE teacher is assigned to teach that class, they may be giving up a course section in their specific area. Virginia ACTE recommends that The Virginia Board of Education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) should prioritize support for teacher-education programs in CTE among Virginia’s colleges and universities to encourage a supply of highly qualified teachers. Programs for career switchers should require rigorous pedagogy instruction, realistic endorsement requirements with relevant certificates and professional experience and becauseVirginia ranks last among average teacher salaries, funding for teacher salaries and scholarship programs need to be increased. Hiring of work-based learning (WBL) coordinators to increase opportunities for students to experience real life work experiences while still in school has made the list for the first time.WBL is defined as a sequence of on-the-job experiences a student can participate in with local companies or organizations. It allows students to enhance knowledge; apply classroom instruction; and develop workplace skills while working in a real-world environment. Students have a choice of 12 different WBL options: job shadowing, mentorship, service learning, externship, school-based enterprise, internship, entrepreneurship, clinical experience, cooperative education, youthregistered apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship, and supervised agriculture experience. It is important that we continue to increase opportunities for student WBL. If state funding were available, each school division would be able to hire a coordinator familiar with the economic development of the school district to support opportunities that would strengthen our future workforce. The goal is to make sure our students are career ready. The next Policy Issue is credentialing. Virginia Employment projections suggest 500,000 new jobs will be created by the year 2026. As a result of the pandemic and an agingworkforce, many of those jobs will go unfilled. Our current high school CTE students spend every day preparing for high skilled, high growth and high-tech jobs. One of the ways employers are made aware of a student’s knowledge, skills, abilities, and workforce readiness is through the passing of industry recognized credentials. TheVirginia Department of Education reports that credentialing exams cost anywhere between $3 and $300 per test The 132 school divisions collectively have spent over $5.4 Million in credentialing assessments. Whereas State funding has only supported $3.9 million in reimbursements, leaving school divisions to pick up the remaining $1.5 million to cover costs. Credentialing assessments Virginia ACTE, Connecting Education and Careers Policy Issues and Solutions 2021-2022 By DARLA MILLER See Virginia ACTE,continued on page 28