Public Comments for: HB979 - Provisional teacher licensure; teachers licensed or certified outside of the United States.
Last Name: Achin Organization: teachers Locality: Woodbridge

Del. Tran's bill is a good start, but what is really needed are monetary incentives to get people to go into the teaching field. We are leaching teachers at an alarming rate; few of the best and brightest are entering the field. We need quality teaching more than ever, but the system is corrupt enough to reward only friends and buddies of the administrators. That complicates matters, too. Gov. Y's attempt to have a snitch line only exacerbates the problems teachers face.

Last Name: Esposito Organization: World Education Services Locality: New York, NY

Comments Document

World Education Services Statement of Support for HB979 HB979 would create a provisional teaching license for internationally licensed educators in Virginia. This legislation would create a more vibrant economy and address workforce shortages by ensuring that immigrants and refugees in the state have access to educational and career pathways—especially in high-demand fields like education. World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. For more than 45 years, WES has set the standard of excellence in the field of international academic credential evaluation. Through WES Global Talent Bridge, the organization joins with institutional partners, community-based organizations, and policymakers to help immigrants and refugees who hold international credentials utilize their talents and education to achieve their academic and professional goals. WES’ philanthropic arm, the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, supports catalytic leaders and organizations working to build inclusive economies and to ensure that immigrants and refugees can achieve their aspirations and thrive. Virginia is home to 321,000 college-educated immigrants and refugees, yet 21.5 percent of these individuals are unemployed or underemployed due to systemic barriers including limited recognition of international credentials (1). At the same time, the number of unfilled teaching positions in the state has grown by 62 percent over the last three years, according to data from the Virginia Department of Education (2). Last August, 76 of Virginia’s 132 districts reported a total of nearly 5,000 educator vacancies (3). The need is clear: Virginia must ensure that immigrants and refugees who hold international teaching credentials have equitable opportunities to join the state’s workforce. In advancing HB979, Virginia has an opportunity to create teaching licensing pathways, promote more inclusive teacher workforces, and improve student attendance and outcomes (4). Thank you for the opportunity to submit this statement of support. Sources: 1. “U.S. Data Tool: Interactive Resource Featuring National and State Level Workforce Data on Immigrant Skill Underutilization,” World Education Services, October 11, 2021, https://www.wes.org/partners/global-talent-bridge/u-s-data-tool-interactive-resource-featuring-national-and-state-level-workforce-data-on-immigrant-skill-underutilization/. 2. Kate Masters, “Virginia Teacher Shortages Spiked during the Pandemic. Experts Are Worried about What's to Come.,” Virginia Mercury, December 6, 2021, https://www.virginiamercury.com/2021/12/06/virginia-teacher-shortages-spiked-during-the-pandemic-experts-are-worried-about-whats-to-come/. 3. Ibid. 4. David Figlio, “The Importance of a Diverse Teaching Force,” The Brookings Institution, August 20, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-importance-of-a-diverse-teaching-force/.

Last Name: Esposito Organization: World Education Services Locality: New York, NY

Comments Document

Please see the attached document for World Education Services' Statement of Support for HB979. Please email Jacqueline Esposito at jesposito@wes.org with any questions.

Last Name: Bates Organization: American Federation of Teachers Virginia Locality: Richmond

Comments Document

Dear Education - Early Childhood/Innovation Subcommittee, my name is Tyvon Bates, and on behalf of American Federation of Teachers Virginia, I am writing to urge you to support HB 979 chief patroned by Delegate Tran. Support staff are essential in meeting the academic, social, and emotional learning needs of students in and out of the classroom, and they maintain school safety, keep school facilities functional, aid teachers, and promote healthy learning environments. Adequately staffing these positions leads to better academic and life outcomes for students and helps build a system of public education that works for all. Yet since the 2008-2009 school year, there has been a profound drop-off in state investment for support staff positions. This is because in 2009, during the Great Recession, lawmakers added language to the budget creating a “cap” on support staff funding, cutting hundreds of millions in state funding for support staff. Between 2009 and 2019, support staff in Virginia schools has declined by 2,800 positions while student enrollment increased by more than 57,000 students. HB 979 will help to provide help to put a band aid on a bigger problem facing our education system. I hope you will join me in supporting HB 979. Thank you,

End of Comments