© 2019 Thad Williamson. Authorized and Paid For By Thad Williamson For Richmond City Council.

  • Thad Williamson

Fifty Fixes for the Fifth #8: Support Our Teachers and Strengthen Classroom-Based Learning

Fix #8. Support Our Teachers and Strengthen Classroom-Based Learning (Dreams4RPS 2/3). (Part Three of Back to School Week!)

A strength of the Dreams4RPS plan is that it drills down to the crux of the issue facing Richmond Public Schools: how to improve classroom learning, to make sure that every day, every hour, students are learning and developing their capacities.

There are many dimensions to this work: curricula, materials, resources, professional development.

The most fundamental factor, however, is having a caring and skilled teacher in every classroom. During my daughter’s years at John B. Cary Elementary School, I personally witnessed how strong teachers can help offset various challenges and help students achieve academic success.

Priority 2 of Dreams4RPS focuses on recruiting and retaining excellent teachers and staff, and identifies action items from overhauling the RPS Human Resources division to providing financial incentives (such as housing support) to help retain teachers.

Let’s get right to the point, however: RPS teachers need to get better compensated. Those enhancements aim to “ensure that: 1) RPS teachers are paid at, or above, the Virginia average; 2) RPS teachers serving in our highest-priority schools are the highest paid in the Commonwealth; and 3) all roles have a clear and consistent salary progression, year over year.”

I strongly support each of those goals and will prioritize their full funding. That means an additional investment of $2.2 million in the FY 2020-21 budget compared to the current baseline, rising to $7.2 million in new investment by FY 2022-23.

This is no small investment and commitment. But we have to do it, and should do it enthusiastically and proudly.

Coming Tomorrow: Fix #9. Dramatically Strengthen Pathways to College and Career (Dreams4RPS 3/3)