Act Now to Preserve Continuing Contract Rights
Gov. Bob McDonnell and allies in the General Assembly tried to gut Virginia’s Continuing Contract laws this past year. You and your colleagues in the Virginia Education Association fought back, contacting legislators with thousands of emails and phone calls. We convinced a majority to oppose this draconian legislation, which would have put every teacher at risk of losing his or her job at the end of each 3-year “term” contract, with no reason or cause given.
Each one of us needs to take a stand against this assault on the teaching profession and the students we serve. Here are the facts about Continuing Contract and the efforts to undermine it:
- Continuing Contract helps assure quality teaching; it doesn’t prevent it. It makes sure a great teacher is not dismissed for refusing to change a student’s grade or because she can be let go in favor of an inexpensive, younger teacher.
- Administrators are not currently prevented from dismissing teachers who fail to perform. They can, and do, exercise that responsibility. Continuing Contract and the grievance process ensure that good teachers get a hearing and are not fired for bad reasons.
- Neighboring states all have some form of Continuing Contract. Doing away with it will cause quality teacher candidates to look elsewhere.
- Continuing Contract laws in Virginia and other states were passed decades ago because arbitrary dismissals, nepotism, and political favoritism undermined the goal of providing the best possible teacher for each classroom. We must not return to the bad old days!
More school boards are signing VEA's Resolution on the importance of Continuing Contract or indicating similar support. Among them:
- Alexandria. The school board in Alexandria on February 21 passed the VEA’s Resolution supporting Continuing Contract, reports Gina Miller, president of the Education Association of Alexandria.
- Prince William County. The school board of Prince William County voted Feb. 6 to adopt VEA's Resolution supporting Continuing Contract, reports Jim Livingston, PWEA president.
- Augusta County. Congratulations to the Augusta County Education Association and President Jeff Weaver for the school board's approval of VEA's Resolution on Continuing Contract.
- Wise County. The Wise County School Board passed VEA's Resolution on Continuing Contract at their December meeting. Congratulations to WCEA and its president, Matthew McCarty.
- Carroll County. The Carroll County School Board passed the resolution in support of Continuing Contracts at their January meeting. Congratulations to CCEA and its president, Keith Hommema.
- Sussex. The Sussex County School Board adopted VEA's Resolution on January 10. Congratulations to the Sussex County Education Association and its president, Ora Briggs.
- Portsmouth. The Portsmouth School Board approved the VEA Resolution on December 13. Congratulations to PEA and its president, William McCallum.
- Buchanan. The Buchanan County school board and Superintendent approved VEA's Resolution on Continuing Contracts on December 13. Anthony Church, president elect of the Buchanan County Education Association, had presented the Resolution to the Board in November. Congratulations, BEA!
- Pulaski County. Congratulations to the Pulaski County Education Association and President Steven Lavery for the school board's approval of VEA's Resolution on Continuing Contract.
- Isle of Wight. Congratulations to the Isle of Wight Education Association and President Stephanie Bailey for the school board's approval of VEA's Resolution on Continuing Contract.
- Galax. The Galax school board approved the VEA Resolution on Continuing Contract at the urging of the Galax Education Association, reports Eric Tatum, GEA president.
- Gloucester County. The school board of Gloucester County voted Dec. 11 to adopt the Resolution in support of Continuing Contract, says Brian McGovern, president of the Gloucester Education Association.
- Arlington County. The Arlington County school board Dec. 6 voted unanimously in favor of its legislative package, which includes support for Continuing Contract, reports Jaim Foster, president of the Arlington Education Association. Text of the legislative package notes that Continuing Contract laws “help school divisions attract and retain high quality teachers, who are the foundation of excellent public schools.”
- Russell County. The Russell County school board Dec. 6 voted unanimously to adopt VEA’s Resolution supporting Continuing Contract. Congratulations to Russell County Education Association members and to RCEA President Glenda Johnson.
- Washington County. The Washington County school board passed VEA’s Resolution on Continuing Contract on Dec. 3, reports Jill Jessee, president of the Washington County Education Association. Jessee had presented the Resolution to the Board in November.
- Bristol, Virginia. On Dec. 3, Bristol Virginia school board members passed the VEA Continuing Contract Resolution. In November, Tracey Mercier, Bristol Virginia Education Association co-President, addressed the board about the vital role continuing contract plays in attracting and retaining the best and brightest teachers. She also pointed out that Virginia’s public schools are ranked fourth in the nation. With its unanimous vote, Bristol’s school board verified its belief in continuing contract.
- Lee County. The school board passed the Continuing Contract Resolution after a presentation by Sandra Johnson, president of the Lee County Education Association. Support shown by Debbie Jessee, chair of the school board and a member of the VEA-Retired, was instrumental. Kudos!
- Dickenson County. The Dickenson School Board approved VEA’s Resolution at its meeting Nov. 19, reports Dickenson Education Association (DEA) President Jesse Neece. DEA members showed up in force, and the Resolution passed unanimously. Congratulations!
- Rockingham County. Carole Barber, president of the Rockingham County Education Association, reports that all five Board members and the superintendent have signed VEA's Resolution supporting Continuing Contract. In addition, she and her team have collected about 175 other signatures on the Resolution, which is being sent to VEA President Meg Gruber. Great work!
- Scott County. School board members in Scott County also voted Nov. 8 in favor of a resolution to preserve continuing contract, according to Justin Forrester, president of the Scott County Education Association. In unanimously passing the resolution, board members indicated they thought eliminating continuing contract would hurt the school division's ability to recruit and retain the best teachers, he said.
- Fairfax County. On Nov. 8, the Fairfax County School Board unanimously approved a motion opposing the elimination of Continuing Contracts. "When the largest school system in the state unanimously supports the system currently in place, it should send a clear message to the members of the General Assembly that their time would be better spent addressing real issues facing the Commonwealth," said Michael Hairston, president of the Fairfax Education Association.
We'd like to list your school board action, so be sure to notify VEA President Meg Gruber (mail to: email@example.com) about your board activity on the Resolution, and we'll post results above. Download the VEA Resolution here.
Use VEA’s Resources
- Download VEA's Resolution here.
- Check out a model letter that you can ask an individual school board member or other person to send to Gov. Bob McDonnell.
- VEA has developed this flyer to inform educators about the damage that would be caused by eliminating Continuing Contract. Please download it and circulate widely.
- Check out this example of remarks a local Association president delivered in support of the resolution to his school board.
- Download our Power Point presentation you can use to inform local educators.