SB 863 Teacher Licensure Bill

  • Virginia schools started this school year with over 1,000 teacher vacancies[i] which means that over 20,000 students did not have a certified teacher in their classroom. The Virginia Department of Education lists Special Education and Elementary Education as Critical Shortage areas for teachers.[ii]
  • Shortages will continue because the number of college students selecting education majors has dropped dramatically in Virginia.[iii] In 2011 over 13,500 were enrolled in college of education programs and in 3 years that number dropped to 11,411. Of those enrolled, only 294 were in alternative certification programs.
  • The State Board of Education requires that any potential teacher seeking elementary certification have a very detailed list of courses in their undergraduate work to qualify. The list is so specific that there are very few people ever qualify for the program.
  • The list includes 12 credits of English with English literature, composition, public speaking and an elective; 9-12 credits of mathematics, 9-12 credits of science, 3 credits econ, 3 credits geology, 3 credits art, and 3 credits humanities. Alternative providers cannot provide an initial certification in Special Education.
  • Legislation to address our teacher shortage should (1) encourage expansion of additional alternative certification programs in Virginia; (2) expand elementary education certification enrollment by allowing admission to an alternative certification program by passing the Elementary Education Multiple Subject test using the approved VA SBBOE cut score; and (3) allow teachers to earn their initial certification in special education through alternative licensure programs as approved by the State Board of Education.
  • SB 863 (Sen. Glen Sturtevant) directs the State Board of Education to amend regulations to allow potential teachers to enroll in alternative certification programs in elementary education by passing the elementary content area exam. It also directs the board to create a process for alternative certification in special education.
  • SB 863 would permit any and all educator preparation programs would have the opportunity to apply and take advantage of this legislation to help solve the teaching shortage starting in the 2018-2019 school year. This would help encourage other educator preparation providers to apply for approval to operate in the state of Virginia.
[i] Summit held for Virginia teacher shortage crisis -

[iii] Title II teacher preparation reports -