Hampton Roads educators voice concerns to Gov. McAuliffe

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Most people would agree that educators have one of the most valuable jobs, but their worth isn’t always recognized, as they told Governor Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Education Anne Holton.

Photos: Governor’s education roundtable

That’s especially true when it comes to a dollar amount. Governor McAuliffe was in Virginia Beach Monday for a meeting with educators from throughout the Tidewater region. It was his sixth stop on his statewide tour, and Hampton Roads teachers had plenty to discuss.

“I have already said on the new budget I’m going to roll out in December, K-12 is my top priority,” said McAuliffe. “If we invest early in our students what a great return on investment.”

Five thousand positions have been cut to education since 2008 throughout the Commonwealth. And teachers say they’re facing a trifecta of challenges that goes beyond that. They have more students in schools facing more challenges before they ever leave home for the day and having them taking increasingly harder tests may not achieve that goal of seeing them shine.

“Realize that every child is an investment,” said one teacher from Landstown High School. “Every kid deserves to have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”

“Looking at these SOL tests,” said Virginia Beach Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence. “We have to look at the accountability model and find a model that makes sense both for our kids and for our teachers who don’t want to just teach the test.”

“These teachers are such heroes doing such heavy lifts,” said Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton. “I think you will see some shorter tests in this upcoming school year. It may take longer before we have shorter tests all across the board.”

It’s one solution to the many problems that they face. The governor says a report will be put together with the ideas and concerns shared on Monday, and he intends to act on it soon. McAuliffe says he came in as governor to a deficit and now there’s a surplus, unemployment is getting better and now is the time to reinvest in education as he said he would.

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