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Sean Gorman
By Sean Gorman August 18, 2015

Same old same old

Terry McAuliffe said during his gubernatorial campaign that the state needs to ease the amount of time teachers spend on bureaucratic busywork so they could focus on educating their students.

In his 2013 campaign platform, McAuliffe called for establishing a "taskforce to reduce administrative and non-instructional workload for teachers."

"By reducing the time teachers spend doing something other than teaching or preparing to teach, we increase the time they spend focused on education," McAuliffe said.

We asked the governor's office whether that panel has been created. A spokeswoman directed us to Charles Pyle, the spokesman for the state Department of Education.

Pyle told us about the Teachers Advisory Committee, a group of 21 educators.

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell created the panel through an executive order, dubbing it a "teacher's cabinet." McDonnell announced in a May 1, 2013 news release that the panel would focus on a host of issues, including strategies for boosting teacher quality and recommending ways to improve parental engagement in their children's education.

Pyle said that McAuliffe plans to have the group meet twice a year with Stephen Staples, Virginia's superintendent of public instruction. The group will continue to serve as a sounding board for teachers to discuss a range of educational issues, he said.

"Certainly the issue of responsibilities that would keep teachers from focusing on their primary role in instruction would be a matter that would be discussed," Pyle said.

The panel held its first meeting under McAuliffe in April. One of the issues that came up during the two-hour meeting, Pyle said, was teachers' responsibilities in proctoring the state's Standards of Learning tests.

So McAuliffe has continued an initiative begun under his predecessor where teachers can discuss any issues concerning them, including administrative chores that distract from their teaching duties.

This hardly translates into the concentrated effort McAuliffe pledged to cut red tape for teachers. We rate his action as "Compromise."

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