Virginia Schools Losing Teachers, But No Panic Yet

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Other States Hire Virginia Schools Teachers
If there was one fact that was glaringly obvious in the recent Educator Expo at Marshall University, it was that teachers in Virginia schools have a great demand for their services.  The demand however is not from Virginia schools.  It’s from schools in other states. 
At the Expo, which sees thousands of interviews conducted and dozens of booths representing school districts from all over the country, representation for Virginia schools was at a bare minimum. There were a grand total of six booths, and three of these were unmanned.  The Virginia Schools booth from Cabell County decided not to send representatives to the Expo. There were a few application forms placed on the desk, and applicants were requested to fill these in and leave them at the booth.  According to Cabell County school representatives, there are in the midst of a retirement phase for teachers and also a transfer period which makes it hard for them to accurately put a figure on the number of teachers they need the coming year.
Potential Applicants Look Outside of Virginia Schools
Not that the applicants were making a bee line for Virginia schools booths.  There is an increasing feeling among students studying to be teachers at some of Virginia’s best universities that Virginia schools just don’t seem to be recruiting as much as other states are. The ones who are recruiting also seem to offer lackluster bonus and incentive packages when compared to other states.
The demand for Virginia school teachers is spearheaded by the fact that the state’s colleges produce an inordinate number of elementary school teachers, a high demand sector in other states. Pay packages can be extravagant by Virginia standards.  One state school board offered a teacher a $7,500 signing fee– that, aspiring teachers say, doesn’t happen that often at Virginia schools.  Virginia schools also seem to do a better job of preparing aspiring teachers for teaching challenges, and this makes them attractive to other states who, as the recent Expo showed, are falling over themselves to recruit Virginia school teachers.
Virginia schools might not seem too worried about the increased demand for its teachers from outside the state, and for the time being there may be no cause for concern, but a situation in which the state’s best and brightest begin streaming across the borders to other states has potentially dark consequences.  Teachers are a major cog in the education wheel and if the movement to other states continues, there could be a shortfall of high quality teachers in Virginia schools. Many teachers seem to be ready to leave Virginia schools for fresher, greener and more welcoming pastures elsewhere in the country, and many of them feel the state doesn’t offer them enough opportunity for growth,. One hopes Virginia schools can open their eyes to an unfolding education disaster before it leads to a full fledged crisis.