W.Va. superintendent defends Common Core to Legislature
By Phil Kabler, Staff writer
State Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano defended West Virginia’s Common Core-based educational standards, telling legislators Sunday that the standards are critical to assure all students in the state are prepared for college or the workforce when they graduate.
“The goal of the new West Virginia educational standards is college and workforce readiness for all students,” he told the interim Joint Committee on Education
“At the end of the day, our goal is to have the very best standards that are West Virginia standards that assure our students are college and workforce ready,” he added.
Martirano said that while there has been much talk about repealing Common Core standards, he has talked to “hundreds and hundreds” of students, parents, and teachers across the state, and has yet to hear a specific objection.
“Not one person across the state has given me a particular concern with a particular standard,” he said, saying there’s a lot of confusion in the public disclosure between curriculum and standards.
During the regular session, legislation to repeal Common Core standards passed the House of Delegates but died at the end of the session after the Senate amended it to instead require a comprehensive review of state standards.
Although the bill failed, Martirano said the state Board of Education is conducting a comprehensive review, in conjunction with West Virginia University, and is inviting the public to read, review and comment on those standards.
Martirano said previous state standards were “a mile wide and an inch deep,” leaving students unprepared for the workforce, or requiring remedial courses in college.
“It’s unconscionable we are graduating young people across the country, not just in West Virginia, who are not prepared for college courses,” he said.
With rising costs of college, he said it is an additional burden for students who have to take non-credit remedial courses for curriculum they should have mastered in high school.
Martirano also dismissed claims by Common Core opponents about leaks of student data, assuring legislators that no individual student data is ever sent by the department to the U.S. Department of Education or to testing vendors.
“Student privacy will not be compromised,” he said.
“There’s no question the common denominator for all of us is that we want the best educational system for all of our students,” Martirano said. “We can agree we want all our students prepared for college or careers”