P. O. BOX 2120
April 2, 1999


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Governor's Amendments 1999 General Assembly Education Bills
The Governor has sent down a number of amendments that 
will serve to strengthen the many education bills that 
were passed by the General Assembly this year.  I would 
encourage you to show your support for these amendments 
by contacting the senator and delegates that serve your 
division.  The veto session is this Wednesday - April 7 - 
so if these issues are important to you, please make your 
feelings known.

Alternative Licensure (HB 2710 and SB 1145):  As you 
know, it is getting more and more difficult to find 
qualified teachers in some areas, while at the same 
time we have people with college degrees, such as 
retirees, former military personnel, and mid-life 
career changers who want to teach in our public 
schools.  Amendments to HB 2710 and SB 1145 address 
these issues by directing the State Board of 
Education to implement a streamlined alternative 
licensure program for qualified persons.  

Demonstration of Mastery (HB 2263 and SB 1145):  To 
assure the continuance of high quality teachers in 
our classrooms, it is proposed that, beginning in 
2003, individuals seeking to renew their teaching 
licenses will have to demonstrate mastery in their 
SOL teaching area, in instructional methodology, and 
in remediation techniques.  This will serve a dual 
purpose of assuring high classroom standards and 
reassuring the public about the quality of our
teachers.  This concept is an amendment to HB 2263 
and SB 1145.

Teacher Bonuses (SB 1145 and HB 2087):  I know you 
will agree with me that we have many good teachers in 
Virginia - teachers who should be rewarded for their  fine
efforts. Amendments to SB 1145 establish the  Virginia
Excellence in Teaching program that will  provide financial
awards to teachers who produce  improvement in academic
achievement as measured by the SOL tests.  The State Board
will have to establish criteria for the awards and the first
year it could be funded is next year.  State-funded
bonuses for those teachers who produce significant 
gains in student academic achievement will prove to 
be a strong incentive in raising SOL test scores.  
Also, amendments to HB 2087 add student achievement 
as a criterion to any financial award given to 
teachers who hold National Board Certification.

I am confident that these amendments will bolster our 
efforts as we move forward together towards the goal of 
full accreditation by the year 2004.