RICHMOND – Today, Governor Bob McDonnell joined Delegate Kirk Cox and former Secretary of Education Jim Dyke, leaders from the Virginia School Boards Association, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals and key business leaders to announce part one of his 2013 K-12 education reform legislative agenda.
Speaking about the legislative and budget proposals announced today, Governor McDonnell said, “A good teacher makes the single largest difference in instilling a thirst for education in our young people. We must do everything we can to recruit, retain and reward excellent teachers in Virginia. Teachers are the most valuable resources we have to ensure a prosperous future in the Commonwealth. Today, I put forward several important proposals to promote the teaching profession in Virginia. In putting together this proposal, we sought input from teachers, parents, the Virginia School Boards Association, Virginia Education Association, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Professional Educators, the Virginia PTA and many others.
“Virginia’s teachers are underpaid. Everyone knows a teacher who has stayed after school, worked with students during their lunch break and on weekends, and devoted all of their energy to making sure their students have every possible chance to learn. My sister is one of them. They have not had a pay increase since 2007. I will propose in my budget amendments a 2 percent pay increase for all of Virginia’s teachers. In addition, I will be asking the General Assembly to approve a total of $808,000 in incentive money to recruit and retain teachers in STEM-H subjects in middle and high school. Coupled with proposals to advance professional development and continue our focus on excellent teaching, these measures will further elevate the teaching profession in Virginia and help ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn from the best possible teachers.”
“Governor McDonnell has a great understanding of the importance of providing every child in our Commonwealth with a world-class education,” said Amanda Gibson, teacher at Salem City Schools in Salem, Virginia. “As a teacher that works with children on a daily basis, I see firsthand how children are the greatest resources we have for the future of our great Commonwealth and personally applaud Governor McDonnell’s work to ensure that all children have access to a world-class education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
“Today's announcement demonstrates the governor's unwavering passion for rewarding our best teachers,” said Secretary of Education Laura Fornash. “The Educator Fairness Act provides much-needed clarity around the role that the performance evaluation plays when it comes to a teacher’s ability to impact our students. Our most effective teachers should be rewarded, and those teachers experiencing challenges will be provided the necessary feedback with the goal of improving outcomes for all students. These efforts will only enhance our students’ ability to be prepared for the top jobs of the 21st Century.”
“Education is the single most important factor in determining a child’s success. All students deserve access to a quality education and an excellent teacher,” said House Majority Leader and former teacher, Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonia Heights). “Today’s agenda advances the professionalism of Virginia’s teachers and recognizes the critical role of educators throughout the Commonwealth.”