CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is expected to soon introduce a bill that would make it easier for qualified people without a traditional teaching background to be able to fill vacancies in West Virginia classrooms.

West Virginia American Federation of Teachers President Christine Campbell said she supports making some helpful changes to the “Transition to Teach” program that is already in state code.

“How we can make that a little less cumbersome so that people can go through the process and not feel that it takes an entire week of intense observations every single week,” Campbell said.

The governor, lawmakers, teachers unions and others recognize there are shortages of qualified teachers in West Virginia classrooms. Campbell said it’s related to the pay of teachers but she realizes the state budget is tight so making it easier for those with a non-traditional backgrounds could work. But Campbell said she wants state natives to fill the roles.

“I want to ensure that we have a quality educator in every classroom and we actually focus on members of our state,” she said. “Business folks or people who have an English degree or who understand French as a second language. How do we help them get into that?”

Some lawmakers prefer the Teach for America program where teachers will be recruited to come to West Virginia. Critics are concerned it won’t solve the shortage problem long term.

“These people are connected to the community and we want to make sure these people are going to be here and they are going to stay,” Campbell said.

The specifics of Gov. Tomblin’s plan have yet to be released.

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Comments

  • Fred

    The main problems in my county are teacher truancy and a lack of maintenance of the school buildings and grounds.

    • bobo

      the state does a horrendous job of maintaining buildings, period. they dont pay the workers enough to get skilled and educated workers. the building are deplorable and would be cited by health depts in the private sector. and it starts w/ the mentality of the facility buildings administators. they are pathetic and the whole state needs a shake down of their lazy backsides...get them off payroll

  • Big Game

    My county has had three "certified" science teachers who were not teachers. One washed out after a semester, could not handle the kids, the long hours, and would not accept the help that was offered to her. Another one gave kids drugs and was sleeping with them. The last one was great, but left after a year, stating that the pay wasn't worth it.

    Until the students and parents care about education, nothing can be done. Too many of our students and parents are hooked on drugs, live off the government, and do not care about anything except for where their next fix is coming from. Some of these rural counties are dying a slow death due to pills and booze.

  • st. albans

    Judging by some of the comments, it's not the teachers. Your kids are as dumb as you.

    • js

      I agree with you. Its always the teachers never the lazy ass parents

  • Jasper Marcum

    I bet Mingo County hates to hear this news, since it has been a haven for retirees to draw retirement and work. Mingo has failed to recruit or hire certified teachers, opting to let retires work without posting new jobs.
    Go governor!

  • old school

    Concerning my child's education: Give me the person with a Bachelors degree in English any day to teach my child English.

  • GWB

    How about we get rid of the hiring system that lets a 23 year old with only subbing experience and a bachelor's degree in Social Studies be hired over an honorably discharged veteran with a bachelor's degree in Social studies, a Juris Doctorate, and 8 years of experience.

    • bobo

      given the nepitism in state gov't, i'd say the 23yr old new someone.....and its like that ALL over, in every branch of our states govt. Epic fail WV

  • Steve

    What is the Governor waiting on? Get your proposals on the table so the deliberation can happen during the ENTIRE regular session. Why are you waiting so everything is jammed up in the last few weeks. We could get could bills passed without all these technical errors is we didn't try to do it all in 10 days. Gov Tomblin - you need to put your old legislative habits out to pasture. It is a new era.

  • Get real

    When the heck are we gonna fire the teachers that are worthless? Fire them and you will free up some bloated pay for others. Sick and tired of hearing about and watching worthless teachers every day. When are the good teachers going to force their unions to stop protectng these type teachers? Also, provide incentive pay for teachers who clearly show measur d performance success in the classroom. As for using others who possess a bonfire degree to fills gaps, well I have no problem if someone with an BS Business or MBA teaches math, a degree holder birthday logo teaches teaches science or biology, a computer science degree holder teaches like classes, history degree holders teach history, etc. But using local business owners to teach and Rosetta Stone graduates to teach foreign language courses is simply rediculous.

    • wvu999

      So if a teacher is bad they can join a union and no matter how bad their performance is they can't be fired.

      That's funny

      • wirerowe

        2012 report in the Charleston Gazette (not fox news or rush Limbaugh)- West Virginia has one of the worst education systems in the nation when it comes to its public school teachers, according to a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

        The nonpartisan research and education policy group ranked West Virginia 41st worst in the country for its education laws and gave the state a grade of D+.

        The 159-page report published last week, which emphasized a lack of teacher accountability, found that West Virginia's rule-laden system insulated bad teachers, failed to retain good teachers, and had no systemic way to monitor whether educators have actually mastered the subjects they are paid to teach.

        "Disregard for performance in education has bred massive dysfunction with disastrous consequences for the health of the teaching profession and for student achievement, especially for students most in need of effective teachers," researchers said in the report.

        The report said the big problems with West Virginia's system are:

        Tenure is awarded virtually automatically.

        Student learning is not the main factor in a teacher's evaluation.

        It is inefficient and almost impossible to fire bad teachers.

      • BubbaGolf

        That is true. I had one principal tell me that he had a sub in his building and they weren't getting the job done. He wanted to tell them not to come back. He was told by asst supt he had to do an evaluation first. What a joke !!!

        • Mac

          OK! You've all had your chance. If you REALLY want OUTSTANDING TEACHERS in WV., you're going to have to pay. To get "highly qualified" educators to even think about coming HERE to teach, the state's STARTING SALARY for a candidate with a Masters degree should begin at $50K! That's right, $50K!! You will need to have extra State Police on I-77, I-79, I-68 and the WV turnpike as hundreds of out of state applicants will be heading here to apply for jobs as educators! The influx of these "outstanding" educators will be phenomenal, to the point that many of our own sons & daughters who have education degrees from our state institutions may not have qualifications as outstanding as those who are crossing the boarder to educate our youth. Especially if these out-of-state educators have five, ten or more years of experience. You know, it's amazing that no one objects to multi-million dollar contracts for athletic coaches, yet, the single most import entity in our state (our children) have teachers starting at $30,000.00 to educate and train them for their futures. We've tried everything else in this state, so why not try REAL SALARIES! Can't wait to hear the BS on this comment! Oh, and that doesn't stand for Bachelor of Science!

        • ViennaGuy

          Talking about an inability to get rid of bad teachers ...

          When I was in grade school in the late 1970s, we had one teacher who habitually came to school drunk. Yes, drunk. Drunk and mean. She reeked of alcohol and verbally abused the kids (me included), yelling and screaming at them. The slightest little thing set her off. The other teachers tried to keep her at a distance, which was not easy given how they had to work together on things ...

          The parents went to the principal and asked him to take disciplinary action against her. What did he do? He REFUSED. He knew that she was a drunk and he knew that she verbally abused the kids, but he would NOT take action against her. Why not? Because she had 30+ years with the school system; he didn't want to stir the pot with the school board ("everything is A-OK at my school") and get her fired. Repeated requests from parents to address the situation were met with additional refusals. Please note that in those days, parents didn't complain at school board meetings like they do now.

          In that case, the principal was protecting the bad teacher - not a union - and he was protecting the bad teacher to make himself look good to the school board, all to the detriment of the kids.

          Having had a few other really terrible teachers while I was in the public school system, I have to wonder how many bad teachers are protected by principals who just want to keep things on an even keel for their next promotion.

        • wvu999

          So one person's opinion should be enough to ruin someone's livelihood without any documentation?
          You don't believe in the human element at all??

  • Michele

    So let me attempt to understand this; I work my butt off for over four years to get a teaching degree and in my heart of heart wish to perpetuate the youngsters of our society and get rooked over by some liberal with a degree in basket weaving or something less? I don't think so. Is that what our state has come to? I've seem substitute teachers looking for a permanent position that have zero business working with kids. Plain and simple, they are beyond repair. Yet, we want to bring in those that have zero background in teaching and give them the same opportunity to mess up our schools that are doing well?

    • wvu999

      Michele
      Your conservatives are the ones pushing this nonsense.
      They took over the Senate and house this year so they are the ones driving the agenda.
      Did Fox News report differently?

  • Wirerowe

    Ms. Campbell is a true believer like the rest. but she is more tuned to the political reality when they no longer own the house and the education committee. The question that needs to be asked does it matter whether or not they pay dues. She also should be asked if she wants a quality teacher in every classroom would she support getting rid of the ones that are not quality.

  • a concerned educator

    The State of Virginia used this system. What they found out was that the students of teachers who went through the alternative certification system did worse on standardized tests than those students who had certified teachers who went through typical teacher certification programs.

    I agree with Mason Country Contrarian....other professions do not allow untrained individuals to work in their fields. Why is teaching different, especially when so many people criticize teachers?

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Education and educators make for soft targets. Politicians love myopic solutions to deeper problems. That is why the specifics "have yet to be released".

      And everyone has a solution.

      I think we each have to ask ourselves, "Did I do my best for my child?" and "Have I done my best for my students today?" or "Am I doing all I can to help my teachers do the job for which they were hired?".

      Until we are willing do that, nothing will change. Guaranteed.

      We too often hear, rather, "What can I say or support that will help my reelection bid?".

      Just an opinion.

  • Tyrone

    Why would we want to bring in uncertified teachers when you can't get rid of those suck because of the unions who support their sorry butts? That's just more dead wood that will never be gotten rid of. I say screw these old time "tenured" teachers that suck. Fire the old timers that can't teach and replace them them with younger ones that actually want to make a difference. There are a lot of fresh college grads with a legitimate diploma that would be better than joe schmoe with zero credentials. Who do you want educating your son or daughter? Enough said.

    • js

      Its a damn shame we can't get rid of the vast number of unqualified parents that suck

    • wvu999

      Tyrone
      Please explain to me tenure for WV teachers as you perceive it.
      Also, how you cannot get rid of a "bad" teacher.
      Thanks

      • Tyrone

        Easy. Administrators know they can't get rid of the teachers who suck at what they do that have been in their positions for many years. They wish not to deal with the long, drawn out process by the WVEA or AFT so they just deal with it and let the kids and parents deal with it. Students suffer as a result. What don't you get?

        • Huggsisback

          We do have problems in Education and there are many reasons for our problems. First, and foremost, we have to many rules in place that protect bad teachers. As far as salaries are concerned, why would any professional person want to teach; please don't tell me how rewarding it is! Also , parents today, for the most part , don't care about education. Many parents have no control over what their children do and they are afraid of their children. They want to be their FRIEND! Many teachers do work extremely hard and are great teachers but their is not a lot of support! Our legislators talk a good game but they are afraid of the WVEA and the AFT. They are only concerned about being elected, not any different than Congress. Why not drug test teachers too? I think we all know why that won't be done; many more classrooms would be without certified teachers!

        • wvu999

          So, do I understand you correctly that administrators that can make over $100k a year won't do their job properly so it's the union's fault that they make sure the process is done correctly.

          There is no such thing as "tenure" in WV. Teachers can be fired for performance at any point in their career.

          Carry on

          • Huggsisback

            Why do so many of you think a Principal is not worth a 100,000! A Principal is in charge of not only 60 or 70 people but hundreds of students! High School Principals work 10 to 12 hrs. a day if they do their job . Teachers starting salaries should be 50,000 if you want good teachers in the classroom. Hell we have glorified secretaries in hospitals making more than that! Check out salaries in other professions and look at what they make without an education or a Masters Degree! This is very sad but true!! Being a teacher is not an honorable profession today like it was many years ago; and yes, I am aware that it is partially their fault too!

          • wvu999

            Principals at AAA high schools
            Check out Putnam and Berkeley Counties
            Trust me

          • wirerowe

            Tyrone you are right about tenure 2012 report in the Charleston Gazette (not fox news or rush Limbaugh)- West Virginia has one of the worst education systems in the nation when it comes to its public school teachers, according to a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

            The nonpartisan research and education policy group ranked West Virginia 41st worst in the country for its education laws and gave the state a grade of D+.

            The 159-page report published last week, which emphasized a lack of teacher accountability, found that West Virginia's rule-laden system insulated bad teachers, failed to retain good teachers, and had no systemic way to monitor whether educators have actually mastered the subjects they are paid to teach.

            "Disregard for performance in education has bred massive dysfunction with disastrous consequences for the health of the teaching profession and for student achievement, especially for students most in need of effective teachers," researchers said in the report.

            The report said the big problems with West Virginia's system are:

            Tenure is awarded virtually automatically.

            Student learning is not the main factor in a teacher's evaluation.

            It is inefficient and almost impossible to fire bad teachers.

          • Tyrone

            Dont know one administrator in this state making 100k. Please list names, counties, and names. They may be out there,but I've never heard of any. Sups, maybe, but I don't think the principal at the biggest school in the state cracks $100 k. Give us names.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Sure sounds like a good idea to those looking toward the next election cycle.

    But would you go to a doctor with no medical training or a lawyer with no law school degree? Small wonder physicians and lawyers police themselves.

    Just another way to staff schools with RESA-trained, Kardashian-BA degreed, 90-minute wonders and call it "education".

    Congratulations, Politicians! You continue to do a great job in undermining public confidence in our schools.

    Go to the head of the class.

    Just an opinion.

    • Bagdad Bob

      Faulty assumption Mason Co. Teachers provide knowledge to their students, they don't do much 'practicing' like lawyers & doctors do. Lawyers & doctors do the details every day!
      Who would be better to teach than someone who has 'practiced' the profession for years? Who's better in accounting than a CPA? Or business law than a lawyer? Or a Chemist to teach chemistry?
      Granted not all professionals can teach, but let's be honest, not all teachers can teach either.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        I "practiced" everyday, sir. Most of those days I imparted knowledge, sometimes my children (and I still consider them "my children") taught me--but, like them, I was also willing to learn,

        For thirty-four years, I gave 100% of what I had to give. It was a practice each day, some days being more successful than others. We do have lousy teachers in our classrooms, but there are mechanisms in place to deal with such situations. And they need to be addressed.

        It's simply a matter of doing our jobs--from the child through the State Department of Education. If someone drops a link somewhere along the chain, then quality suffers.

        We need to stop using education quality as a political weapon. It's far too important with which to play.

        As a teacher, I am sure you understand my perspective on this annual education spasm we seem to be forced to endure with The Legi$lature.

        Just an opinion.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          You are/were an educator, weren't you?

    • The bookman

      Not sure what the issue is, MCC. My brother in law, many years ago, after exiting the military, took a job in education teaching computer science and technology application. He did not have a teaching degree. He eventually took some C&E courses, and complied with the basic requirements to stay certified, and was a remarkable addition to the faculty at his school. He has recently moved on to the BOE as a technology specialist that integrates the tech curriculum throughout the county system.

      He got his start in Maryland. He works for Allegany County Schools, recognized as one of the best public school systems in the country.

      We can do better than we are doing currently. We also need to be open to the fact that C&E proficiency may not hold everything that we may be missing, and that although technique and strategy is necessary, nothing replaces mastery of core knowledge.

      • Big Bob-E

        I'm calling bullsheet!! Once upon a time I had a brother in law that walked on the moon...my story is as true as yours Bookie!!! Try again!!!

        • The bookman

          Bob,

          You usually bring a little more to the conversation, and debate, than "liar, liar, pants on fire!" So, if my personal report is true, then I am to assume you have no other rebuttal?

          I have four immediate family members in the education profession. My mother, who was a non traditional student, received her degree after we left home. My younger sister received her degree from Shepherd the old fashioned way after high school. My older sister just finished and is teaching in Missouri, and took a non traditional route, teaching on permit until completing her degree. And my brother in law, who I explained previously took a non traditional path.

          No one claims this is the one and true answer to our struggles of filling out classrooms with the most qualified instructors. But it should not be overlooked as a tool in the arsenal.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            I became an educator because I believe it to be a calling. Some did it for there was nothing else for them to do.

            We need to do what we can to support the former, and continue to do what we can to filter out the latter.

            Just a harmless, but honest, opinion.

          • The bookman

            Apology accepted, and I agree, there is not a magic wand to be waved that solves our dilemma. Just noticed a bill to increase teacher pay will be introduced this session. Truth is money is a motivating factor. I don't believe all engineers would make better teachers than current teachers. But until we achieve that perfect mix of highly qualified teachers in every classroom, maybe we should keep all options on the table.

          • Big Bob-E

            You know Bookie...you're right...let me start off by apologizing for my sophomoric post. With that said I find this time of year particularly disturbing. Every year the new legislation session comes with the annual bashing of the teaching profession. Now I personally am not in the educational field but I do have several close friends who are and they are very intelligent human beings who care deeply about their profession and their students...I would say that about most teachers I have meet in West Virginia. Are there bad ones? YES...However there are bad people in all professions...the lady who cut my hair last month did a particularly bad job. I hired a lawyer once who could not find the court house door and an eye doctor I visited for the first time after moving to a new town told me I had glaucoma...I returned to see my old eye doctor who confirmed that in fact I did not. So what's the point...I don't see an effort to make alternative paths to obtain a law license or becoming an eye doctor simply because there are a few bad people in those professions. So why to become a teacher? If I want to become a cosmologist I need to take the proper educational route in order to earn a license..i.e...beauty school. If a person wants to become a teacher...go to school and become one. Just because a person has an engineering degree does not necessarily make them qualified to be a teacher. From my personal educational experiences there was more to being a good teacher than knowing content knowledge...I think we should be thanking the good ones that are in our schools and quit focusing on the bad ones. My kids got good grades in school because I demanded that they did...I cared...maybe more parents should should care more and complain less. Rant over!!!

  • wvu999

    The TFA ceo makes almost a million a year and WV tax payers would pay close to 10k to TFA per teacher they allow WV to use.
    Someone is getting a kick back for trying to get this program going here.
    Doesn't make sense to use TFA.

  • the truth

    My issue with all of this is that the state will not pay enough to recruit quality. Pay them and have performance standards. They want to lower the standards to draw more people in. Race to the bottom and a political attempt to suppress wages even more.