Require the VA Board of Education to Include Teachers
  • Petitioning Virginia Legislature

This petition will be delivered to:

Virginia Legislature

Require the VA Board of Education to Include Teachers

    1. Concerned Citizen
    2. Petition by

      Concerned Citizen

      Richmond, VA

Currently, there are no requirements that VA's Board of Education include anyone with teaching experience. This needs to change!

-Virginia’s teachers know what they need in order to be effective educators.

-Virginia’s teachers know what their students need in order to learn.

-Teachers have lost control of their classrooms to politicians, lawyers, and other decision makers who have never taught in a Virginia's public schools.

As of October 9, 2011, only 3 of the 9 members of the Board of Education have any teaching experience at all and none in Virginia’s classrooms (according to their public biographies on the Virginia Department of Education’s Website).

**UPDATE: Darlene D. Mack joined the board in April 2012 and is the ONLY board member with a teaching license**

Read former police officer and 59th National Teacher of the Year, Anthony Mullen's article about how not including teachers in policy decisions has hurt education. 

The following duties of the Virginia Department of Education are being decided by people who have never taught a day in a Virginia classroom:
 Setting statewide curriculum standards;
 Establishing high school graduation requirements;
 Determining qualifications for classroom teachers, principals, and other education personnel;
 Establishing state testing and assessment programs;
 Establishing standards for accreditation of local school divisions and preparation programs for teachers and administrators;
 Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act and administering federal assistance programs; and
 Developing rules and regulations for the administration of state programs.

Proposed action:
Require that 75% of the members of the VA State Board of Education hold a valid Virginia teaching license and have a minimum of five years teaching experience in Virginia’s public schools. Many of Virginia’s other Professional Boards have similar requirements regarding the number of seats that must be held by licensed professionals (see a list below that includes the Board of Dentistry, Nursing, Social Work, Pharmacy, Counseling, Accountancy, Medicine, and the State Bar).

Current Law regarding membership of the State Board of Education:
§ 22.1-9. The Board of Education shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor. Every appointment to the Board shall be for a term of four years, except that appointments to fill vacancies other than by expiration of term shall be for the unexpired terms. All appointments, including those to fill vacancies, shall be subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, and any appointment made during the recess of the General Assembly shall expire at the end of thirty days after the commencement of the next session of the General Assembly. No member of the Board shall be appointed to more than two consecutive four-year terms.

A Listing of other Virginia Boards with Professional Membership Requirements (listed from lowest to highest percentages of board seats held by professionals):

Board of Dentistry (70% or 7/10 dentists; 90% or 9/10 Dentists or Dental Hygienists) § 54.1-2702. The Board of Dentistry shall consist of ten members as follows: seven dentists, one citizen member and two dental hygienists. The professional members of the Board shall be licensed practitioners of dentistry or dental hygiene, of acknowledged ability in the profession, and must have practiced dentistry or dental hygiene in this Commonwealth for at least three years. The terms of office of the members shall be four years.

Virginia Board of Nursing: (77% or 10/13 seats held by Nurses)
§ 54.1-3002. The Board of Nursing shall consist of thirteen members as follows: seven registered nurses, at least one of whom is a licensed nurse practitioner; three licensed practical nurses and three citizen members. The terms of office of the Board shall be four years.

Virginia Board of Social Work: (78% or 7/9 seats held by Social Workers)
§ 54.1-3703. The Board of Social Work shall regulate the practice of social work. The Board shall be composed of nine nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, seven of whom shall be licensed social workers who have been in active practice of social work for at least five years prior to appointment and two of whom shall be nonlegislative citizen members at large. The terms of the members of the Board shall be four years.

Virginia Board of Pharmacy (80% or 8/10 seats held by Pharmacists)
§ 54.1-3305. The Board of Pharmacy shall consist of ten members, as follows: eight licensed pharmacists who are graduates of an approved school or college of pharmacy and two citizen members. The terms of office of the members shall be four years.

Virginia Board of Counseling: (86% or 12/14 seats held by VA licensed counselors)
§ 54.1-3503. The Board of Counseling shall regulate the practice of counseling, substance abuse treatment, and marriage and family therapy. The Board shall consist of fourteen members. Twelve shall be professionals licensed in Virginia, who shall represent the various specialties recognized in the profession, and two shall be citizen members.

Virginia Board of Accountancy (86% or 6/7 seats held by Accountants)
Board membership is defined in § 54.1-4402.B., Code of Virginia. In summary, the Board is comprised of four CPA’s who have been actively engaged in providing services to the public using the CPA title for at least three years prior to appointment to the Board, one CPA for at least three years prior to the appointment to the Board shall have been actively engaged in providing services to the public using the CPA title or in providing services to an employer in government or industry using the CPA title, one educator in the field of accountancy who is a CPA, and one citizen member who may be an accountant who is not licensed as a CPA. Each member is appointed by the Governor to serve a four-year term and may not serve for more than two consecutive terms.

Virginia Board of Medicine (92% or 44/48 seats held by Doctors)
§ 54.1-2911.The Board of Medicine shall consist of one medical physician from each congressional district, one osteopathic physician, one podiatrist, one chiropractor, and four citizen members. No two citizen members shall reside in the same congressional district. Citizen members shall have all voting and participation rights of other members.

Virginia State Bar: (100% seats held by Lawyers)
The VSB is governed by its Council and Executive Committee, whose members are elected or appointed from every judicial circuit in the Commonwealth.


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 100 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Jacklyn Nash BEAVERDAM, VA
      • over 1 year ago

      Because it is completely illogical to have the governing body not be representative of those they govern.

    • Sarah Payne STUARTS DRAFT, VA
      • over 1 year ago

      It is important to me because those making educational decisions should be the people they affect!

    • karen kessinger COVINGTON, VA
      • over 1 year ago

      As a retired teacher, I know how frustrating it is to try to teach my subject while state school boards and govt. officials who know NOTHING about classroom teaching call the shots......They should be required to spend several weeks in a classroom in order to be eligible to serve in their capacities at a state level!!!!!!!! Having trained educators who know the dynamics of education at the classroom/school level should be included in all boards that control the education process. CARE ABOUT KIDS, TEACHERS, AND EDUCATION-----NOT POLITICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Joe Colby CHESAPEAKE, VA
      • over 1 year ago

      Wow, finally something that needs to really really happen! the Governor should also be included in this. This should be a requirement for anyone on a School Board or on the BOE.

      Please change this to 100% must hold a valid teaching license.

    • Julia Stancampiano RICHMOND, VA
      • over 1 year ago

      It is shocking to me that this is not already a requirement. Seems like basic common sense that those making major decisions about our education system, should have the background and knowledge to support those decisions.


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