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State’s Education Leaders Meet With Lawmakers To Discuss Reform

November 27, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va- The West Virginia Board of Education will present on Tuesday “From Audit to Action: Students First” to the West Virginia Legislature. Board President Wade Linger is expected to share the significant education reforms highlighted in the document. The document is in response to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s “Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia’s Primary and Secondary Education System.”

“I am excited to share ‘Audit to Action’ with our state’s lawmakers,” said Linger. “This document sets the stage for meaningful change in our education culture and environment, and defines a clear path for student success.”

Highlights featured in the audit response include re-examining educator seniority in an effort to place the most qualified teachers in classrooms, raising the enrollment of secondary students in career and technical programs through support for a middle school pipeline, supporting whole-school incentives for student achievement, and conducting meaningful conversations about the sustainability of small county school systems.

“The board is dedicated to serious education reform which is needed if we expect to provide our schools and teachers with the tools, training and flexibility necessary for students to succeed in life and work,” Linger added. “We know that change is never easy but the board is committed to charting the path forward.”

Another significant recommendation in “From Audit to Action” is the belief that more authority and responsibility should be transferred to the local level. This is dependent on the ability of the board and the Legislature to work collaboratively to remove code regarding supervision, according to the report.

While there are cost savings in the audit response, board members believe the monies should be reallocated to offset the cost of implementing other audit recommendations. Examples of cost savings include examining the school transportation system, the transfer of Cedar Lakes Conference Center to another agency, and creating a new classification for skilled energy specialists to save significantly on energy costs.

The public can review and offer comment on the response at http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/audit-response.html.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at (304) 558-2699.

 

Audit to Action Highlights:

  • The board will begin to release the policy bonds that perpetuate building-delivered, teacher-focused, time-bound learning.
  • Seniority should be a factor when filling vacancies but should not be the only factor. When objective criteria clearly establish that one professional is more qualified than another, our students are best served if the best person gets the job.
  • Another significant recommendation in From Audit to Action is the belief that more authority and responsibility should be transferred to the local level.  This is dependent on the ability of the board and the Legislature to work collaboratively to remove code regarding “supervision.”
  • Raising the enrollment of secondary students in career and technical programs is vital; therefore, support for a middle school pipeline should be established. Starting in middle school or even earlier, students must be able to explore Career and Technical Education options and requirements.
  • Whole-school incentives that reward the contributions of all those within the school who contribute to high student achievement and well-being should be researched and implemented.
  • Principals should have flexibility regarding the use of education funds and hiring and firing.
  • The board supports a county’s decision to adopt a balanced calendar concept in order to allow sufficient time for quality instruction leading to mastery for every student.
  • A meaningful conversation must begin regarding the struggles facing small county school systems and the future of the 55-county board system.
  • The West Virginia Teacher Effectiveness Measure, WVTEM, should be established to identify West Virginia’s own set of teacher effectiveness measures.
  • The board supports the concept of examining the school transportation system. For example, standardizing compensation for mid-day runs, banking unused hours to be utilized for mid-day and special runs, and using drivers to assist schools as an additional aide during the 8-hour school day.

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