Monday, February 9, 2015

Flying Blind

It appears that both the House and the Senate will pass resolutions regarding a topic of great significance for our schools and for the teaching profession. 

Senator Janet Howell's SJR218 "Requesting the Department of Education to study the feasibility of implementing a program in the Commonwealth to track teacher turnover by developing exit questionnaires and other means" passed in the Senate and heads for the House.

Delegate Bobby Orrock's HJR558 "Requiring the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to analyze the teacher shortage and critical teaching endorsement areas in the Commonwealth" passed to third reading in the House today and appears to be headed for passage tomorrow.

As usual, the two chambers have taken very different approaches to the same topic.  One can only hope that the two chambers can come to an agreement as to how to do this important analysis of teacher supply and turnover.  Some years back the Department of Education stopped keeping track of teacher demographics when budget cuts eliminated positions.

Virginia is flying blind in this regard when a huge cohort of baby-boom teachers are readying for retirement.  Finding the answers regarding teacher demographics, turnover, and supply will enable the Commonwealth to make appropriate decisions regarding attracting and retaining a high quality teacher workforce.  Best case scenario is that both pass.