Warner pledges resources, money
by Stephanie Gross
education in Virginia can and must remain the envy of other
states, but it will not without renewed commitment.
Mark R. Warner
By Lee Graves
Mark R. Warner might have been preaching to the choir last week
in outlining his Education for a Lifetime proposal
to educators, students and elected officials in Newcomb Hall,
but his message was far from complacent.
a national study done two decades ago titled A Nation at
Risk, Warner said, Twenty years later, while progress
has been made, we are still at risk. And the urgency of eliminating
that risk is greater than it has ever been before.
visit to U.Va. Sept. 5 was the final stop in a three-day effort
to launch a plan designed to revise, reform and re-invigorate
education in Virginia. Much of the six-point proposal deals with
K-12 education, and he acknowledged that many
of the specifics are yet to come.
he did pledge to target $525 million in new funds toward education,
specifically to pay for projected revisions to the states
Standards of Quality.
higher education, Warner laid out some of the challenges well
known to many in the standing-room-only crowd in Newcomb Halls
Art Gallery. State budget cuts have forced tuition hikes. Talented
faculty leave for jobs with higher pay and better resources. Students
have trouble getting classes they need for graduation.
despite passage of a $900 million bond referendum last year for
buildings and other capital projects on campuses around the state,
the system is still not equipped to handle the influx of
new students we expect over the next decade a number we
thought to be 38,000 and only in the last few months re-estimated
at 61,000 new students, Warner said.
those students are unable to get college degrees, their earning
power will suffer. Warner said young people who receive an associate
degree earn an average of $8,000 a year more than those with only
a high school diploma. That figure goes up to $13,000 for
a bachelors degree and $28,000 for a masters degree.
A major element of Warners proposal is retaining good teachers,
and a facet of that plan providing mentors for new teachers
earned the praise of a U.Va. student.
Herndon, who introduced Warner, is in the final year of the Curry
School of Educations five-year program, where students
receive both bachelors and masters degrees to prepare
them for the teaching profession. Herndon said her decision to
become a teacher began with her upbringing in Nashville. Both
of her parents taught, she said, and they instilled in me
that teaching was a higher calling.
T. Casteen III noted in his opening remarks that the Curry School
has been innovative in developing programs for educators at all
levels. In addition, cooperative programs and partnerships have
been developed with the College
of Arts & Sciences and with the Darden Graduate School
of Business Administration.
College and Curry are partners in the Teachers for a New
Era initiative launched last year, and Curry collaborated
with Darden over the summer in a pilot program in which Florida
educators came to Charlottesville to study business and leadership
aspects of school administration.
addition to teacher recruitment and retention, the major points
of Warners plan include:
Senior year reform, which will offer rising high school seniors
a chance to get a semesters worth of college credit by the
end of their senior year;
Greater financial accountability, through efficiency reviews in
individual school divisions;
Improved workforce development, including streamlining existing
programs and eliminating overlapping training programs;
Higher quality child care, which will focus on raising standards
for child-care providers; and
Increasing economic development through higher education, including
increasing research and development spending to $1 billion by
education in Virginia can and must remain the envy of other states,
but it will not without renewed commitment. At the same time,
well be asking more of our institutions, Warner said.
Well ask them to teach even more of our people in
order to fuel economic growth and a better quality of life in