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Virginia Journal of Education

Your Association

VEA Members Spell Out
2008 Legislative Priorities

As legislators from around the commonwealth gather for the 2008 session of the General Assembly, here are some of the areas in which VEA members will be looking to make significant progress:

. Teacher salaries. VEA will initiate legislation that will make it state policy to meet or exceed the national average salary for teachers. Virginia's teachers currently trail the national average by more than $5,000, despite Virginia's above-average per-capita personal income. The state share of a 5 percent increase would be a step in the right direction.

. Retiree health care credit. Many education support professionals do not currently qualify for this state employee benefit. VEA members want that to change.

. Virginia Retirement System. VEA will work to increase benefits for current retirees by 5 percent and to increase the multiplier used to determine benefits to 2.0.

. Planning time. VEA members want to see all teachers get planning time, not just secondary school teachers.

. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. VEA will seek budget amendments that will protect bonuses for nationally certified teachers and incentive grants for those seeking certification.

. Teacher shortage study. The teacher shortage in the commonwealth is reaching a crisis point. VEA members think it's time for the General Assembly to undertake a study of this issue and look for ways to address it.

. The Standards of Quality. The SOQs have an impact on the daily lives of students and educators. VEA members want the General Assembly to fully and fairly fund the Standards during the 2008 session, when the SOQs will be re-benchmarked.

. Subcommittee votes. The way things stand now in the General Assembly, legislation can be killed in subcommittee without a recorded vote. VEA members think that the legislative process should be more transparent and that our legislators should be held accountable for all their votes.

. Job discrimination. VEA members support an end to job discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation or status as a disabled veteran.

. Home rule. The interpretation of a legal concept called the Dillon Rule prevents school divisions from doing some things that are not specifically spelled out in Virginia's Constitution, such as collective bargaining with school employees. VEA members support a relaxing of the Dillon Rule and increased home rule rights for local government.

NEA Reaches Out to
Minority Communities

In at attempt to reach out to two communities that are sometimes overlooked in our schools, NEA has launched a campaign designed to increase school involvement for Caribbean-American and African-American families.

The campaign, Let Your Voice Be Heard, offers information and resources to the Jamaican, Haitian, Trinidadian and African communities in the U.S. through targeted websites, and .

NEA is also identifying and recruiting "ambassadors," who are entertainers, entrepreneurs, athletes and others, who will take part in the campaign and help raise public awareness of the needs of minority communities.

For more information, visit NEA's Minority Community Outreach page at .


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