CHARLESTON, W.Va. − WVEA President Dale Lee spoke today at the state Board of Education meeting to address West Virginia’s teacher shortage. He began by applauding State Superintendent Burch and the West Virginia Department of Education for attacking the shortage and looking at ways to recruit our own into this profession and offering the opportunity for students to earn thirty hours of college credit while still in high school. President Lee then asked the State Board to think outside the box for an opportunity to join with the WVDE and Higher Ed to change the way we think and prepare students to become educators.
President Lee described a program where students still go the four years of college, but comes out with a master’s degree like the Benedum Foundation program offered at WVU a few years ago. He goes on to explain how this gives the chance to revamp how the state approaches student teaching. The program would allow for mentorship under West Virginia teachers, an opportunity to substitute when needed, and the chance to get classroom experience. With the teacher in resident program already in use, these teachers in training would have the ability to get paid while earning their degree.
Further, President Lee describes what he feels is the best part of this program. Students would come out of college making forty-three thousand dollars teaching with their master’s degree instead of thirty-eight thousand offered with a bachelor’s degree. He then suggested adding a caveat requiring students who participate in this program to teach in West Virginia a minimum of five years. President Lee described this as a win-win for everyone involved. He asked the Board to sit down at the table and figure this out. “It’s going to take all of education working together to pull this off, but I believe it can be done and the winners are the students of West Virginia,” President Lee said.