Bold Initiative Would Create Tuition-Free Pathway at VA Public University or HBCU for Students Who Commit to 5 Years of Teaching in VA Public Schools
HARRISONBURG, VA – Terry McAuliffe today announced he is naming an initiative in his big and bold education plan after influential Harrisonburg educator Lucy Simms. The Lucy Simms Educator Program would cover tuition at a Virginia public university or Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for qualifying students who commit to five years of teaching in a high-demand field in Virginia public schools. As governor, Terry will help cultivate the next generation of highly qualified, diverse educators and address the current teacher shortage in the Commonwealth.
Lucy Simms was born into slavery in the Shenandoah Valley in the late 1850s. After the Emancipation Proclamation, she attended the Hampton Institute – an HBCU that became Hampton University – to become a teacher. Simms then returned to the valley and dedicated the rest of her life to educating and empowering Black students in her community.
“Last week I launched my campaign by releasing my plan on the most important issue facing our next governor: education. We’ve got to retain the amazing educators we have and attract the next generation of highly qualified teachers who reflect the diversity of classrooms across the Commonwealth. By boldly raising teacher pay above the national average and creating a tuition-free pathway to become an educator, we can achieve both,” said Terry McAuliffe. “I am proud to honor the legacy of Lucy Simms by naming this program after her. Lucy’s story is one of determination, empowerment, and service to Virginia, and one that will inspire future educators to follow in her footsteps.”
Virginia, like many other states, is currently facing a critical shortage of educators, with an estimated 1,000 unfilled teaching positions across the Commonwealth. Additionally, each year, the Virginia Department of Education reports the top ten critical teacher shortage areas in the Commonwealth. For the 2020-2021 school year, the top five shortage areas were: special education, elementary education, middle school education, mathematics (grades 6-12), and career and technical education. Terry’s Lucy Simms Educator Program would seek to address both of these challenges, with a goal of enrolling 1,000 new future educators in degree programs in Virginia within four years.
Terry launched his campaign for governor last week by announcing his plan to give all Virginia students a shot at 21st century jobs and finally tackle inequities in education. Through a $2 billion annual investment in education, Terry will raise teacher pay above the national average for the first time in Virginia’s history, expand preschool to every 3- and 4-year old child in need, and get every Virginia student online. Terry’s full education plan is available at www.TerryMcAuliffe.com/education.