Repost from The Virginia Star.

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed his third executive directive as part of an announcement of his administration’s efforts to address teacher shortages; at the same event in Stafford County, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera announced the Bridging the Gap Initiative, aimed at addressing learning losses.

“So when we have a shortage of teachers and we’re trying to bridge the gap, we’ve got to work extra hard in order to close the gap of teachers as well,” Youngkin said, emphasizing the importance of in-person learning within the context of learning losses.

Youngkin highlighted raises and bonuses for teachers in Virginia’s recently-passed budget, but said there’s more to do. He said his executive directive will facilitate allowing former teachers to return to the field, directs Superintendent of Public Education Jillian Balow to make it easier for people with qualifications to enter the field. He said the directive also aims at a partnership between the Department of Education and the Department of Labor so that education students can apprentice in classrooms, helping new teachers enter the workforce, but also helping address current personnel shortages by putting apprentices in the classroom.

Youngkin said the directive includes recruitment and retention programs targeted at communities with the most need, and will start a data analysis program to determine why teachers are leaving the field.

“Finally, one of the areas that we already know that teachers find most difficult is balance, the balance across the huge demands that are placed upon them, and the fact that they have lives too,” Youngkin said. “And so at the top of the list is childcare and early education.”