In the States: Provisionally Licensed Teachers in Virginia Increase by 24% to Meet Shortage
The “In the States” feature by Kaitlyn Brennan is a weekly update to keep members informed on state-level activities impacting the education and educator preparation community.
Recently published data shows that the Commonwealth of Virginia is relying more heavily on provisionally licensed teachers than ever before. As reported, Virginia issued a total of 8,434 provisional licenses in 2021–22 compared to an average of 6,787 in the years prior to the pandemic.
The Virginia Education Association, the state’s teachers union, has said the exodus of teachers — including highly qualified educators — is connected to low wages, increased workloads, and politicized work environments.
In a statement, Policy Analyst for the Virginia Education Chad Stewart said:
“For a long time in Virginia, teachers with short-term provisional licenses have played an important role, and this is a totally viable pathway, eventually becoming a fully licensed teacher…But the way this licensure is working now — given the magnitude of provisionally licensed teachers that we have — doesn’t necessarily match how it was envisioned.”
Provisionally licensed teachers generally have little to no teacher training — and in some states may only have a high school diploma. Additionally, those prepared through alternate pathways that require less coursework and student teaching experiences are 25% more likely to leave their teaching positions and the profession than those who are well prepared. We also know that the impacts of having an unqualified or inexperienced teacher disproportionally impacts students living in areas of high concentration of poverty compared to students attending well-resourced schools.