Public Education

Preliminary test scores released by the West Virginia Department of Education show students who have been taught under the state’s Common Core standards since kindergarten are exceeding national estimates when it comes to testing.

West Virginia Legislature

West Virginia’s Senate President Bill Cole and House Speaker Tim Armstead have sent a letter to two national organizations rescinding the state’s 2009 agreement over the Common Core standards.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In early 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, a sweeping education reform bill. The new law required all states to test all children and set federal benchmarks for student achievement in order to receive federal funding. 

West Virginia implemented the reforms and West Virginia Department of Education Chief Accountability Officer Michelle Blatt said the state did see some incremental improvements under the law. Still, she said, one size fits all from Washington did not work in West Virginia. 

“It didn’t matter if you started in one place and really grew a long way," she said, "there were still sanctions if you didn’t meet the bar that they set.”

 

Now, some 13 years later, members of Congress are thinking of turning that legislation on its head by passing a reauthorization that is essentially a rewrite. 

Love Krittaya, Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia’s 55 schools districts can now apply for state funding to help combat excessive absences in public schools.

 

The West Virginia Department of Education is accepting applications from county boards of education for funding to hire a local truancy diversion specialist.

Those county level specialists will work directly with students who have the highest number of absences, providing them individual attention to get them back in the classroom.

Sweetness46 at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ohio County Board of Education has ended the practice of allowing members to call in to meetings, collecting $160 for participating each time they do.

The Intelligencer reports that the board voted 3-2 Monday to abolish the policy.

The school district's attorney and the board consulted the state Ethics Commission ahead of the vote. The panel concluded that government bodies do not have to allow phone participation by members.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education has a new president in retired Morgantown businessman Mike Green, but his nomination and subsequent election Thursday came with a small spark of controversy.

Green, the board’s current Vice President, replaces former First Lady Gayle Manchin as the body’s leader. Manchin completed her second term as board president Thursday, holding the post since July 2013. Her nine year term as a member of the board expires in November.

Green will be joined at the head of the table by former state Sen. Lloyd Jackson who was elected Vice President and Tina Combs who was re-elected to her seat as Secretary.


West Virginia Department of Education

After the announcement of a comprehensive review earlier this year, West Virginia parents, teachers and concerned citizens are now being asked to evaluate the state’s education standards.

The West Virginia Department of Education launched “West Virginia Academic Spotlight” Wednesday, a five month review of the state’s Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives. The first step in that review is an online public comment period.


Raleigh County Schools

A Raleigh County school official says counties need more flexibility to meet the state's instructional time requirement.

Board of Education President Rick Snuffer says the current system isn't equitable.

The state requires counties to provide 180 days of instruction. Snuffer says counties should be allowed to count minutes and hours as instructional time.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of 24 high school girls from across West Virginia are spending the week on the campus of WVU Tech in Montgomery, designing shoes and testing mock samples for the AIDS virus.

The girls are participating in WVU Tech’s first ever all girls STEM camp, short for science, technology, engineering and math.

Cecelia Mason

West Virginia counties that extended their school calendars into June to make up for snow days have experienced significant drops in attendance.  

The Charleston Daily Maily reports that state Sen. Daniel Hall of Wyoming has learned attendance in his district may have dropped below 10 percent this week.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The battle over Common Core continued at the statehouse Sunday during the Legislature’s June interim meetings. The national education standards were once again the topic of discussion for the Joint Education Committee.

It started with presentations by two Common Core opponents, Angie Summers, head of West Virginians Against Common Core, and Bonnie Henthorn, a member of the Tyler County Board of Education who said she was presenting her concerns as a parent.

Both Summers and Henthorn said West Virginia’s version of Common Core, called the Next Generation Content standards, weren’t rigorous enough to prepare students for college or career, but complained parents are not able to help their children with their homework. Both women also expressed concerns over data collection associated with the Smarter Balance Assessment, the standardized test aligned with the standards.

West Virginia Board of Education

On Wednesday, members of the West Virginia Board of Education traveled to Frankfort, Kentucky, to meet with their education counterparts and watch as the Kentucky BOE conducted their monthly meeting. Thursday West Virginia Board President Gayle Manchin said the two states have plenty in common.

It starts with standards. Kentucky and West Virginia are just two of forty four states that have adopted the national Common Core Standards, but in West Virginia, those standards were adapted to fit the state’s needs and titled the Next Generation Standards.

Then there’s economics. In eastern Kentucky especially where coal mining is a major part of the economy, the state is suffering the same economic downturn as West Virginia in the energy sector, but there’s much more according to Manchin.

On May 14, 1982, Judge Arthur Recht handed down a legal ruling that reshaped the course of public education in West Virginia.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Department of Education is partnering with West Virginia University and the National Institute for Early Education Research to conduct a long term study on early childhood education in the state.

The study will follow a group of three and four-year-olds beginning in West Virginia’s pre-K system this fall through the next five years of their education, tracking their achievement along the way.

Shay Maunz / West Virginia Focus

During the 2015 Legislative session lawmakers approved, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed, a bill allowing alternative training methods for teachers who head West Virginia classrooms.

While the bill sets forth specific requirements for those teachers, like having a bachelor's degree and setting up a work agreement with the county school system, what it essentially does is allow the controversial program Teach for America to operate in the state.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Lawmakers from the Eastern Panhandle tried two separate times to aid the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind during the 2015 legislative session. The schools are struggling to maintain their buildings, some of which are more than 100 years, and looked to the Legislature this year to begin to help them meet their facilities goals. 

Those goals, contained in the schools' 10 year Comprehensive Education Facilities Plan, including closing and demolishing some buildings on campus to create a "stronger sense of community," according to Superintendent Dr. Lynn Boyer. 

The plan includes updated housing for residential students, increased building security and the installation of fire and sprinkler systems suitable for deaf and hearing impaired and blind and visually impaired students and teachers. The plan, however, comes with a $42 million price tag.


Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new program through the West Virginia Department of Education is taking state government issued computers and turning them into training tools for students of all ages.

The WVDE introduced the program Friday called Second Launch WV, a partnership with the West Virginia Office of Technology.

Second Launch takes computers that are being cycled out of use at state agencies, like the Department of Corrections or Division of Highways, cleans out their databases and places the refurbished desktops in classrooms across the state.

wikimedia Commons / user: RogDel / Sarah Gerrity / Department of Energy

Students from two Monongalia County schools are representing West Virginia in the National Science Bowl.

The event will be held Friday through next Monday at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

“I have promised my children that I will do everything in my power to fix this and I believe that we finally with this bond have a chance to do that.” -Shauna Starks

Fayette County parents like Shauna Starks spoke during the West Virginia Board of Education's April meeting in favor of the county's upcoming $66.5 million bond vote.

Sweetness46 at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

  Ohio County Board of Education members want to change a policy that would limit the ability of board members to teleconference into meetings. Currently, the policy allows members to call in from wherever they are. The five-member board is set to discuss whether or not meeting participation is overly restricted by distance and technology, at the next board meeting.


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