Some Education Proposals Don't Make the Grade with VA's Teachers

Jan 12, 2016

Credit Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Virginia’s Governor has proposed a series of changes to public education aimed at preparing students to join the workforce, but the state’s teachers may not like some of his ideas.  

Terry McAuliffe wants to set new requirements for high school grads, emphasize hands-on instruction, and offer industry credentials.  He thinks schools should be allowed to hire industry experts to teach on a temporary or part-time basis, but at the Virginia Education Association, which represents teachers, President Meg Gruber has doubts when it comes to science and math.

“Sure we have a shortage there.  Why aren’t we working people into the field of education?  Oh that’s right.  Because we don’t want to pay them enough and give them better benefits and working conditions.  We’ll just hire someone on the side to pick-up a couple of classes here.” 

She says people who know their subject matter may not be good at teaching, and she recalls one new teacher at the school where she taught who was not able to deal with today’s high school kids.  

“A career switcher lasted three days and said, ‘I’m not putting up with this,’ and walked right out.  There went your physics teacher.”

The governor also proposed students get academic credit for industry certification when they go to community college, and he wants to make sure certificates awarded by the state align with the needs of prospective employers