While school districts across the nation rely on online course programs to supplement or replace the traditional curriculum, many school districts in Virginia require no specific amount of learning credits online.
How Many Hours Of Learning Online Is Required For A Virginia
A debate has been raging in the Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s office recently as to what hours of classroom instruction are required for every child in the state.
Strictly speaking, it is not required that public schools teach students for 35 hours a week of coursework, the minimum length of the publicly funded public school system in Virginia.
The state law actually spells out that the weekly stipend for each student should be guaranteed by school administrators, not mandated by law.
The controversy stems from Northam’s comparison of the ability to issue a pistol permit to the point at which people have a lifetime license to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia. A note attached to the clip stated the said stipend wasn’t guaranteed.
Citizens were astounded by Northam’s comments, and the governor eventually told the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on the Laws of Virginia that the 40-hour stipend would be revoked for citizens who signed up to take the permit process.
But how many hours of classroom instruction do teachers need to get the job done?
The state doesn’t officially have any rules outlining the minimum amount of coursework a teacher should have, as indicated in the statute on “instruction hours.”
However, other states with similar teacher training programs do have detailed requirements for teachers so that students will be teaching-ready in high school.
“If students can’t draw the short stick … where will they work to get them equipped? It should be no different than simply going to get a job with a farmer, no matter what that farmer supplies,” Steve Cook, a Georgia teacher and president of the Georgia Education Association, told Fox News.
Georgia education professionals must earn a two-year college degree to become a full-time teacher. The degree must have a portion of coursework taken online. In Georgia, that means students must spend anywhere from 25 to 30 hours online before they can even be considered for a full-time position, according to Fox News.
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And speaking of tax credits for teachers, there is a new $50 million initiative to build “more early-learning and K-12 schools that have teachers whose experiences are aligned with the emerging science of learning” in D.C. and Virginia.
“Research shows that students who spend more time learning alongside their teachers are more prepared when they reach high school,” said Mary Anne Hitt, director of National Resources for Opportunity in School and former president of the national Center for Effective Public Education.
For years, America has been dedicated to school choice in an effort to make it easier for teachers to be paid more to support students. The American Federation of Teachers, after all, is the largest teachers union in the country, with more than 1.1 million members, the New York Times reported.
So now we have governments realizing it is more efficient for students to learn in a “shorter, more structured and more supportive setting” at home with their families, Fox News reported.
The goal is to develop a 21st century public education system that ensures students have a wealth of experiences before the transition to high school.
“The very best answer is to encourage children to experience, explore and learn themselves so they can learn better and achieve their goals,” said Gilles Lavigne, a consultant for the State Education Department in New York.
That strategy would support national efforts to change the high school dropout crisis and perhaps reduce America’s Class of 2020 college dropout rate of 1 in 5 students.
Polly Mitchell writes about politics, education and race for POLITICO. Follow her on Twitter: @pollymitch
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