Wise Announces WV Tops in Education Reform Survey

January 07, 2004

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Bob Wise today announced that West Virginia is the valedictorian of school reform. According to Quality Counts 2004, a report compiled by Education Week, West Virginia’s cumulative grade in areas such as accountability and standards, teacher quality and school climate leads the nation. Quality Counts 2004 examines the complexities of bringing all children, including those with disabilities, to high performance levels of state testing. “Education is at the top of my priority list,” said Wise. “We’ve worked diligently to ensure a quality education for all West Virginia students. The Quality Counts report confirms that West Virginia is headed in the right direction.”  

West Virginia received an “A” under the Standards and Accountability section of the report. The high mark is because of West Virginia’s addition of standards-based exams, called the WESTEST, at all grade levels in math, science and social studies. West Virginia is one of 14 states to have such exams in every core subject and grade span.  

West Virginia also received an “A” under the Resources section. Nearly 75 percent of students in the state are in districts that spend at least the national average per pupil. West Virginia spent $8,400 per student in the 2000 – 01 school year.  

West Virginia received a “B-” under both Improving Teacher Quality and School Climate. Quality Counts reports that the state requires its teachers to pass a full battery of tests to earn their initial licenses and West Virginia also outperforms other states in the level of positive parent involvement.  

“The Governor’s Office, the Legislature and the Board of Education have been working together to improve the quality of education for all the students in West Virginia,” said State Superintendent of Schools David Stewart. “Obviously, this collaborative effort is paying off.”  

In addition, Quality Counts reports that a higher percentage of students in West Virginia attend small schools at the elementary, middle and high schools levels. For example, the average elementary class size in the state is smaller than most nationwide classrooms, at 19.4 pupils. Education Week is a weekly education publication distributed nationwide. The eighth annual Quality Counts report was compiled with support from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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