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By Mitch carmichael

Words are powerful, and they have a particular power when it comes to public policy. As we talk about problems we face in our communities and propose solutions, we have a responsibility to use words precisely and responsibly to describe our world as it is.

We’ve recently heard about the problem of homelessness among school-aged children in West Virginia. It has been said that over 10,000 of our kids are homeless, more than five times the enrollment of our...


BY Amelia Ferrell Knisely, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Kids show up to West Virginia schools in worn-out shoes with holes, the used soles separating from the shoes. There are kids who show up in a sibling’s hand-me-down footwear, their smaller feet clunking around in the ill-fitting shoes.

It can be uncomfortable, impractical and embarrassing.

Teachers, school counselors and bus drivers are often the first to look down and notice when a child is desperately in need of a new...

  • By Marie Newcomb-Lews
  • and Sam Hickman, Charleston Gazette-Mail

School social workers often work behind the scenes, making it possible for children to overcome life’s obstacles so they get the best possible education.

They are school social workers such as Shanna Smith, in McDowell County, who brought mental health services to the school system for the estimated 61 percent of low-income children and youth with mental and emotional issues...


By Erin Beck, Beckley Register-Herald

Don't expect charter schools in the near future in West Virginia. 

In an interview this past week, an advocate at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said that West Virginia's law is too restrictive to encourage charter school development in the state. 

"I think it's pretty unlikely that y'all will have one anytime soon if you look at other states with this authorizing structure," said Emily Schultz, director of state...


By Amelia Ferrell Knisely, Charleston Gazette-Mail

West Virginia Schools Superintendent Steve Paine told state education leaders he never planned to start sharing the number of homeless students in the state.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported in July that 10,522 public school students — or nearly...