Virginia Educators, Students, and Families Applaud Move to Increase Teacher Pay
In a significant, necessary move to improve education throughout the Commonwealth, members of the Senate Education and Health Public Education Subcommittee voted to move forward SB157, Senator Ghazala Hashmi’s bill requiring teacher salaries to be at or above the national average. In a recent report, Virginia was found to be ranked 50th in the country for teacher pay. Additionally, the Commonwealth has been battling teacher shortage as the number of unfilled education positions has grown by nearly 62 percent over the past three years.
“The past two years have been especially challenging for educators in Virginia,” LaTwyla Mathias, Executive Director of Progress Virginia said. “Teachers have the biggest in-school impact on a student’s success, especially students from families with low incomes and those who are people of color. Increasing teacher pay not only contributes to their livelihood and well-being, but will also help with attracting and retaining highly qualified educators to teach our children. Increasing teacher pay in Virginia ensures our deserving students have highly qualified, competent teachers in their classrooms. We wholeheartedly support Virginia teachers, and we hope the bill will continue to move forward.”
The bill will now move to be voted on by the full Senate Education and Health Committee, and if passed there, will move to the Senate floor.
- A 2021 report on how teacher pay compares to the average of other occupations found Virginia to rank in 50th place.
- Virginia teacher salaries ranked -10.40% points below the average of other occupations.
- Virginia teacher shortages increased during the pandemic.
- The number of unfilled teaching positions across Virginia has increased by nearly 62 percent, rising from 877 in the 2018-19 school year to 1,420 in 2020-21
- In August this year, 76 of the state’s 132 districts reported nearly 5,000 cumulative educator vacancies, according to the state Board of Education.
- On June 10th, 2021, Democrats in the General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam finally got teachers a 5% raise in pay.
- According to a report done by the Center for American Progress, higher-paid teachers lead to better-educated students.