Excerpted from the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessment Performance
Student achievement on SOL tests during 2016-2017 was relatively unchanged compared with performance during the previous school year.
Overall, 80 percent of students achieved proficient or advanced scores in reading, and 79 percent passed tests in mathematics, compared with 80 percent in both subjects in 2015-2016. Eighty- two percent passed grade-level or end-of-course SOL tests in science, compared with 83 percent previously.
Student achievement in English writing improved by two points, with 79 percent passing compared with 77 percent during 2015-2016…. English, mathematics, science and history/social science were on the end-of-course tests high school students must pass to earn credit toward graduation, with results as follows:
- 87 percent passed the end-of-course reading test, and 84 percent passed the high school writing assessment;
Fourth graders, sixth graders and eighth graders all improved in reading, as follows:
- 79 percent of fourth graders achieved proficient or advanced scores in reading, a two- point improvement compared with 2015-2016;
- 78 percent of sixth graders earned proficient or advanced scores in reading, a one-point gain compared with 2015-2016; and
- 76 percent of eighth-graders achieved proficient or advanced scores in reading, a one- point gain compared with 2015-16.
Of the 1,805 public schools with reportable test results, 680 improved in mathematics, 800 in reading and 411 improved in both subjects.
Excerpted from Education Funding as Compared to Other States
According to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s report Virginia Compared to the Other States: 2017 Edition, Virginia ranks 26th of 50 for state and local per pupil funding for Pre K-12 education, and 38th of 50 for state per pupil funding. These figures demonstrate the gap between state and local funding of public education. The majority of public school funding in Virginia, 54 percent, is from localities. The state contributes 40 percent of public school funding, with six percent from federal sources, and Virginia ranked 29 out of 50 for average salary of K-12 teachers…. the average teacher salary in Virginia is $50,834, while the national average is $58,353.
Excerpted from Teacher Shortages
The number of unfilled teacher positions across the Commonwealth has increased by 42 percent over the past 10 years, from 760 to 1,080, and has become an emergency in many high poverty school divisions. For example, two months before the beginning of the 2017 school year, Petersburg City Public Schools had 142 unfilled teaching positions out of a total of 400 positions, over one-third of their teaching positions. Another example is in Middlesex County Public Schools, where one month into the 2016 school year, over 20 percent of their teaching positions were unfilled. Although shortages occur in every region of the Commonwealth, divisions with the highest concentrations of poverty – both urban and rural – tend to have the hardest time attracting and retaining high-quality teachers.