Governor McDonnell Announces Measures to Empower Our Excellent Teachers in Virginia

Calls for 2 Percent Pay Increase for All Teachers – First in 5 Years; Incentives for Teachers in STEM-H Subjects, Strategic Compensation Grants for Teachers, and other Measures to Recruit, Retain and Reward Excellent Teachers

-Part 1 of Governor’s ALL STUDENTS K-12 Legislative Agenda-

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.”

Former Virginia Secretary of Education Jim Dyke said, “Every student deserves an excellent teacher. Excellent teachers result from quality preparation, constructive evaluations and continuing professional development. These proposals move us aggressively toward a pathway to success. Students must have our bipartisan support to make that pathway a reality.”

Virginia Association of School Superintendents incoming president Pat Russo said, “Many Virginia teachers have worked without state-supported salary increases for more than four years, watching their paychecks shrink in the face of increasing health insurance costs and higher retirement premiums. This state-funded initiative begins to remedy that problem and we are pleased to hear the announcement.”

Mrs. Deborah Frazier, principal of Harrison Road Elementary School in Spotsylvania County and president of the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals said, “VAESP is especially delighted to see that mentoring is recognized as a valuable and critical ingredient in the success of principals in their first essential years. We feel that principals typically operate as lone decision makers on many issues in their schools and are often in search of peers who could offer insight and wisdom in solving problems. Mentoring programs are highly effective and cost-effective ways to reinforce and extend the novice principals’ academic preparation, close possible gaps in training, and share best practices between novice and veteran principals.”

Keith Perrigan, principal at Patrick Henry High School in Washington County said, “The Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals stands with the governor in expressing our support for a legislative plan that maintains respect for continuing contract status for instructional personnel, recognizes the need to retain the best teachers for our students and streamlines the procedure for dismissal of ineffective teachers. Our association supports professionas being afforded fair but expedited due process procedures in decisions that affect employment and reputation.”

On behalf of the Virginia Association of School Boards, John Lumpkins said, “The governor's proposal allows time for a teacher to demonstrate appropriate student academic progress.  This extended period is a huge positive for the teaching profession.  It will raise the quality of Virginia’s teachers by ensuring a thorough and rigorous evaluation process based upon a review of a larger and more valid data set before a division makes the decision to grant a teacher a continuing contract or to separate the teacher from employment.”

“To be competitive in a global economy, Virginia’s educational system must prepare students to meet the critical workforce needs of businesses in the future,” said Ned Massee, chairman of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “An essential component to having a well-trained workforce is quality teachers. The governor’s ‘All Students’ agenda is important for developing a workforce that can compete in the 21st Century economy.”

“The VirginiaPTA is encouraged by the governor's newly released K-12 initiatives,” said Anne Carson, president of VirginiaPTA. “We support the empowerment of teachers as they remain committed to the success of students across the Commonwealth.”

ALL STUDENTS: Empowering Excellent Teachers

2% SALARY INCREASE FOR VIRGINIA’S PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS: Governor McDonnell will propose $58.7 million in FY 2014 to support state share of cost equivalent to a 2 percent salary increase for funded SOQ instructional positions, effective July 1, 2013.

  • Includes teachers, guidance counselors, librarians, instructional aides, principals, and assistant principals. Participation is optional but requires a local match in order to receive the state funding.
  • Salary increase is contingent on passage of the Educator Fairness Act.
  • Last state-supported salary increase for public school employees occurred in FY 2008, with a 3 percent increase for all positions, effective on December 1, 2007.

STEM-H INCENTIVES: Governor McDonnell’s proposal includes $808,000 to attract, recruit, and retain high-quality individuals to teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM-H) subjects in Virginia’s middle and high schools.

  • Successful teachers selected to participate in the pilot program will be eligible to receive a $5,000 initial incentive award after the completion of the first year of teaching with a satisfactory performance evaluation and a contract for the following year.
  • An additional $1,000 incentive award may be granted for each year the eligible teacher receives a satisfactory evaluation and teaches middle education 6-8 mathematics, mathematics-algebra I, mathematics, middle education 6-8 science, biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics, and technology education for up to three years in a middle or high school in a Virginia school division.

STRATEGIC COMPENSATION GRANT INITIATIVE: Governor McDonnell will propose $15 million to award competitive grants to school divisions for the design and implementation of compensation systems for teachers that provide incentives that are tailored to each participating school division’s strategic goals and objectives.

  • The grants would allow school divisions to award incentive payments to effective teachers who meet the school division’s strategic compensation criteria, or to reward effective teacher leaders assuming additional responsibilities or priority assignments.  For example, the grants could reward teachers who help students make significant academic progress; reward teacher leaders assuming additional responsibilities, such serving as teacher mentors; pay incentives to effective teachers with needed expertise willing to transfer to hard-to-staff or low-performing schools; or reward effective teachers who are assigned to teach critical shortage areas, such as mathematics and special education.
  • The proposed Strategic Compensation Grants Initiative would provide incentive grants to approximately 3,000 teachers.

EDUCATOR FAIRNESS ACT: Excellent educators in Virginia provide students a world-class education. We must do more to reward and recognize those excellent educators.

  • The Educator Fairness Act will extend the probationary window for teachers from 3 to 5 years to allow for a much more thoughtful examination and development of those teachers being awarded continuing contract status.
  • Further, this legislation will provide for a definition of incompetence to include one or more unsatisfactory performance evaluations and will define the relationship between the evaluation and the contract.
  • Educators overwhelmingly submit the need for grievance reform. This act will streamline the grievance procedure and will allow for an expedited decision to inform the teacher of the final outcome.

TEACHER CABINET: Executive Order to establish the Virginia Teacher Cabinet. This advisory group will directly advise the Governor, Secretary of Education and State Board of Education on all issues related to the teaching profession.

  • The Teacher Cabinet will be comprised of teachers from each superintendent region of the Commonwealth.
  • The Virginia Teacher of the Year will serve in an ex-officio role on the cabinet.
  • The cabinet will provide an annual report to the governor on the “State of Teaching in Virginia.”

GOVERNOR'S CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING: Governor McDonnell will propose to establish the Governor’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and the Governor’s Academies for Excellent Teaching.

  • The Virginia Department of Education will partner with one Institution of Higher Education (IHE) to establish summer Academies for Excellence in Teaching for exemplary teachers in Kindergarten through Grade 12.  The academies will be designed to improve and expand the quality of instruction and enhance enthusiasm for teaching. Successful completion of an academy will include graduate course credit in educational policy and instructional leadership.
  • The Governor’s Academies for Excellent Teaching will provide professional development opportunities for exemplary teachers seeking to improve their instruction, knowledge of educational policy, and capacity to provide instructional leadership.
  • The residential summer program will be offered as a five-day summer residential academy with five follow-up Saturday meetings, for a total of 80 instructional hours, including five credits in educational policy and instructional leadership.


ABOUT ALL STUDENTS: The ALL STUDENTS initiative is about bringing attention to the critical role K-12 education plays in our communities and our economy. We must be willing to consider strategies and structures that have been proven to address the achievement gap that continues to exist in the Commonwealth. We have a responsibility to ensure graduation rates rise and the rigor of our classroom challenges ALL STUDENTS. We have a responsibility to measure results and attainment by embedding innovation in our education system. We have a responsibility to ensure ALL STUDENTS have the opportunity to learn. I encourage you to take a few minutes and visit www.ALLSTUDENTS.Virginia.Gov.