Last Words



The Thrasher Group

October 24, 2017 - Volume 37 Issue 11

Eighth graders in Biloxi, Miss., will no longer be required to read “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper’s Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about racial inequality and the civil rights movement that has been taught in countless classrooms and influenced generations of readers.

The vice president of the Biloxi School Board told The Sun Herald there had been complaints about some language in the book making “…people uncomfortable, and we can teach the same lesson with other books,” he said. “It’s still in our library. But they’re going to use another book in the eighth-grade course.” The school district superintendent was quoted as saying, ““We always strive to do what is best for our students and staff to continue to perform at the highest level.” 

“No man can taste the fruits of autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of spring.” – Samuel Johnson (1709 -1784), often referred to as Dr. Johnson, was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. 

“I believe that education should be the centerpiece to driving our entire economy.” – Gov. Jim Justice

“There is not an ideal education structure nationwide, and states must have their own decisions based on political feasibility and educational goals. Individual states must find a balance for their state agencies’ roles in education.” – Kelly Latterman of the National Conference of State Legislatures

“We have to move forward boldly, not just standing back and letting things happen.” – Tammy Samples, president of the Upshur County school board, on working with House Bill 2711

“Don’t let this chance go by. You may decide you don’t want to do it, but make that decision after you’ve considered it and arrived at a logical decision.” – Howard Seufer, counsel for the WVSBA, encouraging county school board members to seize the opportunity for more local control provided by passage of House Bill 2711.

“I think the sky is the limit as long as we’re talking about county-level functions and cooperating in a way that helps reduce costs. And to top it all off, the state board of education has no role in this anymore. They took that out of the law.” – Howard Seufer

“We have tried to be very, very transparent in laying out what has been developed as the state’s accountability system that will be submitted to the federal government by law, by request, on September 18.” – Supt. Steve Paine

“We’re really taking advantage of the flexibility that ESSA gives states to decide what works best for their individual districts as they’re moving their system forward.” – Michelle Blatt,

“This system (The federal Every Student Succeeds Act) does not have a summative rating like we saw in the A-to-F [system]. So the school, as a whole, will not receive a single rating of a color, a letter, a number, but they will receive information on each of the indicators we just discussed.” – Michelle Blatt, assistant superintendent in the Division of Support and Accountability, on how the state is using provisions of the ESSA, which was approved in December 2015, to shape West Virginia’s new accountability system.

“I’m impressed with what the quadrants have done to this point because they’re either meeting or exceeding the deadlines set forth in [House Bill] 2711.” – Jason Butcher, coordinator for the state school board, on how county superintendents have organized to work on replacing Regional Education Service Agencies, which are being phased out. Part of the change was to divide the state into quadrants for districts to work with each other.