January 2015

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January 22, 2015

Legislation would raise dropout age to 18
By Ben Fields, Huntington Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON — West Virginia high school dropout rates are getting lower, but the state still exceeds the national average, prompting legislation to raise the compulsory attendance age for the second time in the past four years.

In 2011, the age before a student could drop out was raised from 16 to 17.

House Bill 2123 would raise the compulsory attendance age to 18....

January 23, 2015

Is Coal Money Challenging Climate Science In Secondary Schools?
Ken Silverstein,

Not to be deterred, President Obama came out swinging during his State of the Union address, saying that “no challenge” is more daunting than that of climate change. Opponents, though, are bucking that view at all political levels — including the school curriculums that could eventually be offered to students.

West Virginia, for example, is now debating just how it...

January 23, 2015

New state school board members undecided on science standards, Common Core
By Ryan Quinn, Staff writer Charleston Gazette

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s new appointments to the West Virginia Board of Education say they haven’t made up their minds about new learning standards that have recently seen local and national controversy.

Tomblin appointed James S. Wilson, 72, and Beverly E. Kingery, 61, to the board Wednesday, filling all 12 seats for the first time...

January 23, 2015

State schools chief reorganizes administration
By Samuel Speciale, Education reporter Charleston Daily Mail

State Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano has changed the organizational structure of his cabinet by reclassifying the titles of his senior administrators and hiring a new liaison to the Legislature. He also plans to hire a chief of staff.

The changes were outlined Thursday for Senate Education Committee members, who asked Martirano and...

January 26, 2015

Fayette school board wants all buildings inspected
By Ryan Quinn, The Charleston Gazette

The Fayette County Board of Education has requested inspections of all school buildings in the district, following the sudden Jan. 12 closure of a Collins Middle School building that forced roughly 400 students to miss almost a week of school.

Board member Leon Ivey said all five members presented a letter at a meeting Friday requesting that the state Department of...

January 27, 2015

Amanda Pasdon: Give our children the best in the classroom

West Virginia has long had the reputation as one of the most difficult states in the nation in which to become an educator.

While we want the best qualified educators for the children of our state, we have a certification process so narrow that, especially when coupled with low teacher pay, means that many promising teaching prospects pass us by.

The sad truth is that we have more than 700...

January 28, 2015

Charter schools bill sees scrutiny
By Joel Ebert, Charleston Daily Mail

The current draft of a bill that would allow for charter schools in West Virginia received some scrutiny during two Senate Education Committee meetings on Tuesday after it was discovered the proposed legislation could permit discrimination against special needs students and allow schools to set their own academic calendar.

The committee listened to testimony from five different...

January 28, 2015

Lawmakers draft plan to lift starting teacher salaries to $43K
By Shauna Johnson, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Bills that would raise the starting salaries of West Virginia teachers to $43,000 within the next five years were scheduled to be introduced in the state Senate and House of Delegates, possibly this week.

“We made a promise to our educators last year that we would get them to a competitive level of pay by 2019, so that’s part of our goal,”...

January 29, 2015

WV Center on Budget and Policy releases prevailing wage report
By Mandy Cardosi, The State Journal

State Republican leaders are considering a repeal of West Virginia's long-standing prevailing wage law.

Senate President Bill Cole, R-Mercer, introduced a similar bill last year, and Cole said he still believes repealing the legislation is the right thing to do. Cole said he doesn't believe having a prevailing wage bill is "being a proper steward of taxpayer...

January 29, 2015

Charter school hearing splits interest groups
The Associated Press

CHARLESTON - Business interests and union groups fell on opposite sides of a debate Wednesday over whether to allow public charter schools in West Virginia.

The hour-long House of Delegates public hearing came on the heels of the new Republican majority's push to make West Virginia the 43rd state that allows charter schools.

The GOP has taken control of both chambers for the first...

January 29, 2015

House Education chair makes case for public charter schools
By Shauna Johnson, MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of the biggest advocates for the addition of public charter schools in West Virginia is House Education Committee Chair Amanda Pasdon (R-Monongalia, 51).

She said, right now, there’s not a lot of choice in the public education system.

“You’re kind of forced into a one-size-fits-all approach. Our counties are forced to be regulated from...

January 30, 2015

Bill introduced to end Common Core in schools
By Joel Ebert, Capitol Bureau

In a week that featured significant discussion on the introduction of charter schools in West Virginia, a bill aimed at eliminating the state’s Common Core standards was introduced in the Senate on Thursday. Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, put forth Senate Bill 362, which explicitly prohibits the use of Common Core in West Virginia schools.

The bill would withdraw the state from...