Public Provides Input at Martinsburg Education Forum

October 17, 2000

Over 110 people participated in an Education Forum held in Martinsburg on Tuesday, October 17. This was the second in a series of eight public forums to be hosted by the State Board of Education during a two-week period in October.  

State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart welcomed participating parents, educators, legislators and community leaders, thanking them for their commitment to public education.  

Following introductory remarks by State Board President J. D. Morris and Vice President Jim McKnight, participants were divided into 17 tables to discuss three questions addressing the future of public education in the Mountain State. The structured Forum gave all participants an opportunity to voice their opinions.  

To register for Forum participation, to learn about participants' responses at each forum, or to participate in an on-line poll, click on the following link:  

Following are the top five responses (as provided by each table) to the three questions:  

Question #1: What should be the purposes of public education?  

Table 1: Be prepared for college, armed forces, employment, teach. Or other post secondary education. Have the proper training, and education for the workplace. Prepare a well balanced standard/graduate both socially and academically. Provide effective extra curriculular activities for a well rounded individual. Have certified teachers for the arts.  

Table 2: Educate all children to their highest potential. Teach students to become divergent thinkers and self-actualized. Teach parents the value of education and parenting skills, involve the community in education. Teach standards for life, give students diverse cultural experiences. Prepare students to be creative individuals capable of contributing to society based on broad-based education to all students in an efficient manner.  

Table 3: Improve society by having a better educated citizen. Educate each child to ensure his/her preparedness for productive life, foster lifelong learning with reading as a foundation. Work collaboratively collectively with parents and caregivers in a risk free environment. Assist each child in developing his her fullest academic potential.  

Table 4: Develop well rounded individuals who are ready to be good citizens knowledgeable in many fields with broad vision. Educate each child to their ability rather than police and parent. Teach basic fundamentals in each subject area with an emphasis on reading and math. Use multiple ways to assess student achievement rather thanb emphasis on standardized test results.  

Table 5: Develop students to become responsible, and productive citizens in a democratic society. Assist students to respect diversity and value each individual as a worthy human being. Instill the desire for lifelong learning. Provide skills for a happy successful life. Develop and energize students minds by developing creative thinkers and problem solvers.  

Table 6: Educate and motivate children to their fullest potential with a strong emphasis on reading to prepare them for socialization, lifelong learning and to be productive citizens. Expose children to a variety of ideas and perspectives. Develop marketable skills. Enforce not teach values.  

Table 7: Prepare students for active and productive lives boths in the work place and at home which includes the basic ideas that they will be successful adults and be able to compete in a global job market economy. Teach basic skills in reading math writing thinking and communication skills. Develop lifelong learners. Assist children in recognizing and appreciating diverse ideas and differences. Prepare students to become contributing members of society encompassing being community minded responsible and good citizens.  

Table 8: Establish fundamental knowledge base to prepare students academically socially, emotionally for the work force thru a quality and well balanced education. Teach students skills to empower themselves to learn thru problem solving and critical skills. All students receive regular diploma should be able to read write at 8th grade level. Serve as a representative for other services.  

Table 9: To provide equal opportunity for each child to realize their potential in reading, writing, math, science, speaking and listening. Provide equal opportunity for each student to have the background they need for some post secondary training or gainful employment. Provide equal opportunity for each student to be educated in the arts, world culture and diversity training. Provide equal opportunity for each student to be educated in health, physical education and drug prevention. Provide equal opportunity for each student to become a contributing member of the community through character building.  

Table 10: Prepare students to succeed academically and to succeed in a job. Focus on problem solving, critical thinking, lifelong learning so that people can continually upgrade skills as economic market changes. Make learning relevant to life - contextual learning. Provide equal educational opportunities that are realistic in a dressing different learning needs and different post-schools experiences. Provide alternative and/or vocational instruction beginning at the middle school level to help provide a realistic direction for students.  

Table 11: Give students skills for life long learning. Prepare students for the workforce. Prepare students for higher education. Produce good citizens and equip for involvement in government. Help students to develop lifelong healthy lifestyles.  

Table 12: Provide a sound basic education with emphasis on reading, writing, math, science, social studies as a springboard for more specialized instruction. Provide children with equal educational opportunities and foster diversity. Promote good citizenship and serve as community centers. Prepare students for post secondary goals. Educate students to reach their full potential, and promote student achievement.  

Table 13: Prepare students for their futures. Teach students fundamentals so they may be productive citizens and participate in a democracy. Work cooperatively with each other and to solve problems. Ensure in our society a minimal level of literacy and job skills. Prepare students to be discriminating in their life's choices.  

Table 14: Broaden and expand students experiences for intellectual and emotional growth. Provide skills necessary for effective advancement in the modern world. Develop excitement in life experiences and learning. Develop in students a positive work ethic and discipline. Develop intellectually stimulated citizens.  

Table 15: Prepare students for the future. Provide holistic learning. Transmit culture. Facilitate lifelong learning. Provide a continuum of services staring with the basics and create challenges for individual students.  

Table 16: Assist all students to master the basics of reading and mathematics followed by the other academic subjects. Prepare all students for success in postsecondary education and or the workplace. Ensure that all students have fair and equitable educational opportunities. Prepare students to adapt to change and solve problems. Provide a safe and healthy environment for all students.  

Table 17: Have students master the basics and use that knowledge in the critical thinking and problem solving skills for lifelong learning. Help students become active, productive citizens. Help students understand the complexities of our world. Teach students to be tolerate and encourage flexibility.  


Question #2: How can we know if these purposes are being achieved?  

Table 1: Be prepared for post secondary education armed forces, and employment and technical education, etc. System for monitoring/tracking students on an individual basis to assure proper preparation follow-up students to modify programs and systems to serve students. Follow up with employers to assure graduates have good workplace skills. Measure participation in extra curricular activities.  

Table 2: Employment rate, assessments of students at various stages (K, 3, 6, 9, 12) Graduation rates higher education rate. Assessment of problem solving ability skills portfolio. Parent participation in school activities, PTA, school volunteers and business partners job shadowing, coop participation. Post graduation follow up, selected rubrics of the areas of arts, community service involvement, reduction in incarcerated youth, number of successful arts programs, number of contest winners, number of arts programs, and measurement of the quality of participation.  

Table 3: The availability in the work force to prepare workers that can meet private industry's demands for excellence we don't have to emport technology people. Use a variety of assessment tools, entry, exit tests, benchmarks, criterion reference testing. Decrease in crime rate. Demand for more discerning TV programming.  

Table 4: Graduation rates standardized tests, observations and interviews surveys of post secondary activities, such as college attendance and completion rates, job placements, number of registered voters and community service records. Observations, staff evaluations, test data. Perception surveys of parents, students and teachers test scores.  

Table 5: Increase national indicators of %'s unemployment rates, public assistance, gross national products, voter registration and participation in the reduction in crime rates/incarcerated youth and adults. Hate crimes and gang related activities, volunteerism. Adult ed. programs, college enrollments, library use positive access of electronic info. Increase in lifelong sports, hobbies, and leisure activities. Divorce rates and family violence. Use of arts and cultural opportunities. Number of inventions, patens, business adventures college enrollments and completions, adult ed. classes, increase in re-entry in college or training, and use of publications, novels, art shows.  

Table 6: To measure reading standardize tests and end of term (6 or 9 wks) assessment to determine reteaching needs. Regarding the socialization aspect of our number one purpose we should examine participation in non academic activities. Their level of community service (clubs or sports). Regarding the productive citizens and life long learning aspects of our number one purpose, we should examine survey alumni graduates to determine their level of community service and whether or not they are registered voters and whether or not they have gone on to higher education or the workplace.  

Table 7: Avoid one size fits all measurements but you must learn to read before you can read to learn (translated into all students must be able to read by the time they exit second grade). Number of graduates pursuing postsecondary education increases. Graduates are employable at whatever point they exit formal education, e.g., high school, adult education, college. Need some measures of basic skills building on prior knowledge sequential process. Recognition of students for community involvement and service.  

Table 8: A fundamental knowledge base to prepare students assessment. Portfolio to include basic skill assessment as a component not the sole emphasis. Follow up surveys at 1, 5, 10 year intervals. Career assessments. Comparisons of participation and availability of course offerings, and extra curricular activities, SAT scores. Community service enrollment.  

Table 9: Use local performance testing based on state standards portfolios, criteria ref. Test based on state standards, but developed locally. Follow up studies on all students longitudual studies (5 yrs.) Measure portfolios of all students who have access to certified teachers in fine arts. Measure how many students have a certified teacher in health, pe, etc., School Nurse records, measure how many Guidance Counselors records. Voter registration, % of people voting, poll age groups on attendance and participate in civic ed. groups.  

Table 10: Variety of measurement techniques. Criterion referenced tests that are basic for and relevant to location and culture. Standardized tests at lower grade levels for basic skills higher grades need performance based assessments and measured relevant to their classes. Rates of post secondary education, involvement in community education programs. Student surveys, employer surveys, parent surveys. Enrollments in various school programs of study, job placements. Inclusion of programs that emphasize career opportunities in addition to college. Number of students who are in career awareness classes.  

Table 11: Rising number of students who access postsecondary education (4 yr., community colleges, technical schools) Strong economy that attracts outside investment and creates diverse employment opportunities (sample indicators: employment rate4s, increase in percapita income). Employer satisfaction surveys. Decreasing tobacco use, decrease in number of obese persons, low crime rates. Lifestyle choices. % of voter turnout in elections as well as public learnings and other electoral processes.  

Table 12: Standardized tests for content mastery, student/parent satisfaction surveys, student portfolios and GPAs. Higher rate of employment, lower dropout rate, higher school attendance rate, reduction in juvenile crime rate.  

Table 13: Unemployment rates drop, dropout rates decrease, college enrollment increases, crime rate declines, public assistance decrease. Vote, volunteerism increases, reduction in road rage, and litering attendance at local government meetings willing to serve on local government associations, violent crime rate decreases, membership in civic groups and volunteer organizations, job turnover rates declined, work force more competitive internationally and decrease in illiterarcy rate. Teen pregnancy rates reduced, domestic violent reduced, drug and alcoholism decline, divorce rate reduction.  

Table 14:Declines in dropout rate, discipline referrals, and increases in state economic output, voting rate, and volunteerism, community participation. Success after high school, post secondary education rate, and employment rate. Community participation, voting rate, volunteerism, and lower suicide rate. Keep and advance careers. Produce students are intellectually stimulated.  

Table 15: Job placement rates, college graduation rate, evaluation of outcomes, based on objective measures, senior presentations. Healthy practices, discipline referral, conflict resoloution. Participate in democratic process, tolerance, knowledge or history/cultural. Number of people, adult ed., number of volunteers, and parenting skills. School attendance, drop out rate, reading levels, math, and utilize national credentialing.  

Table 16: Use of the right standardized assessment, grades, student initiatives, practical life applications, portfolios of a random sample at students. Postsecondary success, employer satisfaction, employment rates, graduate surveys (age 20-25) reports from higher education, equitable educational opportunities, assessment of all available resources and inputs, performance on the other indicators across student groups. Adapt to charity and solve problems, graduate initiatives and long term follow-up. Safe and healthy environment, attendance, discipline records, decrease violence.  

Table 17: Utilization of multi-measurement of authentic assessments that require students to demonstrate mastery of skills through multiple integrated tasks ie., pen, pencil, problem solving, communication. Recognition of involvement in school and/or community clubs and organizations. Awareness of multi cultures, exchange students pen pals, and computer links.  


Question #3: What changes need to be made to achieve these purposes?  

Table 1: Be prepared for post secondary education, armed forces, employment teacher education, etc. Fund all mandates. More money. Strengthen voc.-tech. Programs more collaboration between K-12 and higher education. Professional development.  

Table 2: Devote more time to arts, strengthen technical education, lower the emphasis and importance on standardized testing raise the emphasis on individualized assessment and portfolios. Identify ways that define student ability, identify ways that define student ability, share teaching styles, use cross curriculum teaching, and change textbooks curriculum and allow more involvement by local community in selection process. Cross curriculum teaching, less multiple choice tests, use real world situations in assessments, allow more time for teachers to plan, develop, grade assessments. Promote school in positive light, make schools parent friendly, have more community appreciation programs, for/by parents teachers held in neutral locations e.g., church, library. Need more relevant textbooks, curriculum, need culturally diverse textbooks, curriculum, provide more opportunities to experience diversity allow more local level control.  

Table 3: Reevaluate all laws regulations that govern education that would allow the focus to be placed on the child. Continue early intervention to meet reading standards, for local state and national levels more intervention programs to earlier grades. Extended school with increased flexibility to meet kids needs.  

Table 4: Greater emphasis on pre-school for all children, change certification standards to facilities hiring of qualified individuals. Change funding formula to allow high growth counties to attract and retain qualified staff. Change personnel laws to facilitate removal of incompetent staff. Reduce paperwork. Eliminate fluff. Skilled staff. Educator input in legislation.  

Table 5: Remove some state restraints and allow local control to respond to local needs. Provide adequate broad-based resources. Less emphasis on standardized testing, more emphasis on criterion-referenced testing. Strengthen role modeling in schools. Strengthen student government. Increase peer mediation programs. Increase multi-cultural development to assure arts education is provided to all elementary students. More representative role models from minority groups in the community. Zero tolerance for harassment, anti-slurs, etc. Increase of cultural arts opportunities. Heterogeneous learning opportunities. Increase scholarship opportunities. Make adult ed programs more accessible. Increase Internet access for student and home. Increase peer mediation to assist with problem-solving. Provide additional opportunities for cultural arts. Provide additional training in parenting and relationship skills development. Increase individual recreational activities. Increase opportunities for students to become problem solvers. Increase opportunities for programs like Odyssey of the Mind or similar enrichment programs.  

Table 6: Provide opportunities for parents and teachers to interact and learn from each other to improve education for all students. Require all educators to attend staff development on effectively working with special needs students and then implement what they have learned. Require educators to have a work-based learning experience outside the education field. Provide more opportunities for communities to be involved in the student learning process.  

Table 7: Get back to teaching and away from parenting and trying to be all things to all people. Education needs to be relevant; it must concentrate on the mastery of basic skills and quit adding on programs. Focusing on the mastery of basic skills in grades K-2. Provide extensive teacher training in teaching reading skills; we must provide time for this and not make it be a "one shot" opportunity. Lowering the student-teacher ratio. Providing paraprofessional aides for grades K-2; eliminating unfunded mandates.  

Table 8: More funding to growing counties to recruit and retain quality teachers and to reduce class size of both regular and special teachers. Consistent standards for mastery at each grade level and/or provide research-based programs. Higher parent/community involvement. Limit of special education students in regular education classrooms. Establish financial incentives for grades.  

Table 9: Integrate special programs with basic instructional skills (reading and life skills, social studies and career, etc) so that special programs do not detract for time needed for teaching the basics. Add more staff development and training to meet West Virginia's high standards for teachers and SB 300. Extend the teacher contract rate and raise pay to provide time for extended contracts but keep 200 instructional days. Strengthen principal skills for teacher evaluations. Eliminate unfunded mandates. Limit standardized testing. Provide incentives for teacher retirement in border counties. More funding for school facilities. Increase use of alternate scheduling in high school. Increase guidance counselors and time they have to counsel children NOT administrate. Smaller classes.  

Table 10: Change funding formula: consider location of county. Consider cost of living. Provide % increase prioritize then fund no unfunded mandates and finding ways on which to base other funding than property values. Teacher recruitment certification revamp. Look at personnel laws. Change special education structure-there is too much nonconstructive overhead-have more remedial classes. Provide a more diversified curriculum including internships career exploration opportunities, and maintain a structure for discipline in schools.  

Table 11: Create a better learning environment through building more classrooms. To provide money for building, increase funding for growth counties, make growth rate a heavily weighted factor in SBA funding, and give locals a share of video lottery monies. Provide adequate staffing through a change in the state aid formula make salary/benefit package more lucrative (rather than lowering standards), allow for salary differentials, eliminate non-academic interruptions, increase time on task especially in elementary education, and reduce class size. Less dependency on SAT 9 or any norm-referenced test.  

Table 12: Redesign curriculum to provide time and structure for remediation. Decrease student-teacher ratio at the elementary level, individualize curriculum at the senior level to address the unmet needs before exiting. Expand beginning educators internship program to two years. Increase special education staffing.  

Table 13: To change comparative measures, to reflect the reality of the school system, i.e., GED, VA, WV. Review and revise graduation requirements, place more emphasis on citizenship courses, K-2 stress basics, more alternative education, balanced curriculum, develop funding formula that are market driven, ie., pay teachers more, where there are greater needs.  

Table 14: Create a stronger relationship between school/home/community, raise teacher pay, related to a longer school year, and advanced certification. Hold teachers to higher standards, through better evaluations, continue the effort to improve facilities. Continue efforts to continue to reduce class size.  

Table 15: Prepare for the future. Holistic. Social Skills. Lifelong curriculum.  

Table 16: Focus , more accountability measures of both students and staff, relative to higher expectations to all. Promote smaller high schools, and support other forms of education (ie home schooling, private, virtual schools) funding formula changes that result in equal educational opportunities, greater emphasis on happy lifestyles with the focus on high school students. Move towards smaller community schools.  

Table 17: More site based management (schools) options measurement i.e., performance based assessment to ensure multiple measures are utilized, hire support personnel to lessen the burden on teachers, i.e., non teaching duties more direct outreach to parents, provide more time to teach the expanding curriculum, recognition by State Board/Legislature that West Virginia is a rural state, and no unfunded mandates.  


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