West Virginia governor gives in to unions, weakens K-12 reform list

Mar 11, 2013 by

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Like an old, broken down car that’s propped up on cinder blocks in the front yard, West Virginia’s public schools need a lot of work.

Not only do students in The Mountain State rank near the bottom of the nation in math, science and reading ability, but many don’t even get the full 180 days of classroom instruction that are standard throughout the country.car on cinder blocks

The state’s public schools obviously need to be overhauled, but West Virginia lawmakers are settling for a few minor tweaks instead.


Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s original reform bill didn’t rise to the level of an overhaul, but it did de-emphasize teacher seniority protections and allow Teach for America instructors into some of the state’s neediest classrooms, the Charleston Gazette reports.

But the state’s powerful teachers union demanded that those provisions be stripped out of the bill, and Tomblin and lawmakers have dutifully agreed.

According to the terms of a revamped bill (which is still in committee), teacher seniority will be given “equal weight” to seven other factors that school leaders must consider when making personnel decisions.

And Teach for America teachers – who are drawn from the best and brightest college graduates across the nation – will be required “to work toward their West Virginia teaching certification, just as all new teachers in the state must do,” before being allowed in schools, the news site reports.

Some of Tomblin’s original proposals will survive, including the expansion of pre-kindergarten programs which the governor hopes will help every third grader read at grade level, reports the Associated Press.

Since that expansion will obviously require more K-12 spending – and more unionized teachers – it’s no wonder that the West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia are allowing it to proceed.

But that’s not enough to get West Virginia’s public schools off the cinder blocks, much less on the road to success.

That’s too bad because West Virginia families deserve so much more than their weak, union-controlled leaders are giving them.

via West Virginia governor gives in to unions, weakens K-12 reform list – EAGnews.org :: Education Research, Reporting, Analysis and Commentary.

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