Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants you to think he’s addressing teacher shortages, but the executive order he signed Thursday doesn’t really seem to do all that much, other than provide fodder for headlines.
The executive order spells out an effort to expedite the issuance of teacher licenses and renewals, which sounds fine, but in practice, if there’s a shortage of people applying for jobs, how much of the problem is too much red tape?
Other planks from the order detail plans to recruit retired teachers to return to the classroom, and to provide grants to school systems struggling the most with teacher openings.
The one item in the order that should give you pause is the one involving a plan to recruit “career switchers, military veterans and other professionals with much to offer students,” with a promise to reduce the dreaded “red tape associated with teacher licensure.”
That can come across as, we just need warm adult bodies to hand out worksheets to the kids to keep them busy, and really, anybody will do.
You’ve got to love the Orwellian quote from Youngkin trying to sell this idea.
“Parents and teachers matter,” he said. “This directive is a comprehensive approach with multiple solutions to ensuring every student has a great teacher in the classroom.”
Another idea would be maybe cutting back on the rhetoric about how teachers are trying to indoctrinate kids into critical race theory, and getting rid of the tip line encouraging parents to email reports on the teaching of supposedly inherently divisive practices in Virginia public schools.
We already don’t pay teachers nearly enough to do a thankless, but yet essential, job, without them having to wonder if they’re going to get snitched on by a Newsmax-obsessed parent.
That’s probably the reason behind recruiting from outside the teaching profession. Well-meaning people who, god love ‘em, don’t know what they’re doing, are going to be more compliant, because, again, they don’t know what they’re doing.
One more Orwellian quote, this one from State Del. Phillip Scott, a Republican from Fredericksburg.
“Licenses and apprenticeships have been persistent issues for the next generation of educators,” Scott said. “In the wake of the pandemic, our Commonwealth faces a number of education-related issues. I want to thank the governor for his commitment to ensuring every child has access to highly qualified educators.”