Education forum held at RCB, teachers voice concerns about charter schools

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By Kyleigh Rice WDTV

HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Social emotional supports, school choice and innovation, funding opportunities, and instructional quality were the four main group discussions community members could participate in at the West Virginia's Voice Education Forum held at Robert C. Byrd High School.

The forum allowed the community to voice their opinions about how the education system is performing, which Harrison County Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin says is key in public education.

"That's what gives public education the term public," said Dr. Manchin. "It's allowing the people of West Virginia, and tonight in NCWV, to have a venue where they can speak what's on their mind, what they believe in, and what they want to see change or added into education."

Wendy Funk, a 6th grade teacher at Washington Irving Middle School, says taking part in these forums shows that teachers are serious about their students and their education.

"We've tried to make our voices known and we tried to do that when we had a strike for only two days because we thought we had the issues covered," said Funk. "Obviously not. So if we're not willing to fight for the educational system we believe in, then we can't leave that up to anyone else."

Two of the more popular topics at the meeting were social emotional supports, and school choice and innovation. Under the school choice category falls the topic of charter schools. An idea that scares Funk more than anything.

"Our area can't financially support that. We need to be investing in our public school systems so that every child in Harrison County has the opportunity for an equal education. And that's every child in the state."

Funk says other teachers like her are committed to providing the best for their students and will fight for any chance they can to improve the education system.

"If we're going to make change then we have to see and be part of the change. The reason I became a teacher was because I affect the future. I affect my own future. And not many careers can say that."

The final two forums will be held April 2nd at Wheeling Park, and April 3rd at Berkeley Springs.