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McDonnell proposes 2 percent pay hike for teachers

After SchoolGov. Bob McDonnell joined Del. 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 on Thursday to announce part one of his 2013 K-12 education reform legislative agenda.

“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,” McDonnell said. “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.”

“Gov. 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, Del. 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 professionals 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.”

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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