Perry named state board member; Campbell willing to be president

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Perry named state board member; Campbell willing to be president
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

UPDATE 9:00 p.m Wednesday — Gov. Justice has named longtime Fayette County educator Dave Perry to one of the two open spots on the board. Perry was a 16-year member of the House of Delegates. He’ll be sworn-in with three other new board members at an emergency board meeting scheduled for Thursday morning.

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — State Board of Education member Tom Campbell says he would accept a nomination to be the next board president if it’s made at a special board meeting Thursday in Charleston.

The board was left with just four members following the abrupt resignations Tuesday night of board president Mike Green and board vice president Lloyd Jackson.

Thursday’s special meeting will include swearing-in three new board members, Miller Hall, Barbara Whitecotton, and Chuck Hatfield, named recently by Gov. Jim Justice and choosing a new board president, Campbell said during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline” Wednesday.

“The reason I’d be willing to do it is to provide some stability, consistency, a decent relationship with a lot of legislators,” Campbell said. “The kids are my focus. It’s not something I’d be willing to do for a long time. It’s not something I asked for or searched for.”

Campbell said he hadn’t spoken with either Green or Jackson since they resigned but he read their statements and acknowledgement that Gov. Justice was heading in a different direction. There has been a lot of frustration in the classroom in recent months, Campbell said.

“Instead of support there seemed to be more punitive measures,” he said. “What I’m hearing from people in the field is, “Give us some support. Give us a chance. We love our kids. Give us a chance and we’ll help these kids,'”

The fairly new A-F school grading system is one of those areas of frustration. Campbell who originally voted for the individual school assessment said Wednesday that it isn’t working.

“Sometimes you start something that  you think is going to be good and you implement it and it’s not working,” Campbell said.

Gov. Justice has strongly criticized the A-F assessment saying parents care more about how their kids are doing that about the grade for a school. Campbell stopped short Wednesday of saying the policy would be eliminated.

“Dead might be a strong term but I’d be shocked if it’s not modified radically,” he said.

Campbell said schools should be held to “reasonable accountability” and students to “reasonable assessment” with teachers given freedom to teach without fear of test results, which he said causes them to teach to the test.

Campbell, from Greenbrier County, was appointed to the board by former Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin late 2012. He served 16 years in the legislature including time as House Education Committee chair.