March 15, 2013 - Volume 33 Issue 11

Just 28 percent of Kentucky’s incoming kindergartners are prepared with skills such as knowing shapes, letters, numbers, and telling right from left, according to new pilot data released by the education department. Next year, all districts will have to take part, for the first time giving officials comparable data showing how ready the state’s 50,000 children are when they start kindergarten. (Louisville Courier-Journal, 03/12/13


“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish poet, novelist, dramatis and critic.



“Teachers are paid for 200 days, 180 instructional days. There’s not a person in this committee room who would be willing to pay somebody a full amount for not getting a full value.” – Sen. Erik Wells, speaking against reducing flexibility for school boards in developing school calendars

“I’m really pleased with all the work that went into the initial bill. I know they’ve worked very hard here in the Senate to clean it up and make it a little more clear about the intent. I look forward to the remainder of the process.” – Wade Linger, state school board president, on the revised education reform bill after the Senate Education Committee approved it

“This is not an education reform bill. This is a teacher-bashing bill.” – Judy Hale of AFT-WV

“My concern on this bill is that we’re going to be cutting the West Virginia Department of Education by 5 percent for the next two years. That’s to tell the people that we’re actually doing something about the education audit, but it appears – at least in my mind, and I want you to correct me – that it’s a shell game. We’ll take away from here and just put it over here.” – Sen. John Unger, complaining about the state school board’s decision to hire a director of operations

“It’s a new time when the board, the Legislature and the governor’s office are talking very much so, and I appreciate that.” – Senate Education Chairman Bob Plymale

“Education in West Virginia must change, and it must change now.” – Supt. Jim Phares

“We’ve been gaming this system for 15 years at least. Ever since I’ve been a superintendent, we’ve been gaming the system. I think local boards ought to have flexibility in developing a calendar.” – Supt. Jim Phares on ensuring students get enough instructional time

“This calendar discussion that we’re having – it ought to be focused on kids, not what’s good for employees.” – Supt. Jim Phares

“We’re trying to put the best teacher in the classes for our students, and we want our boards to be actively engaged in that. Is that so wrong? Seniority should not be the trump card in hiring.” – Supt. Jim Phares

“The governor has a belief, and the West Virginia state board of education believes that local school boards are the key to improving our current condition of student performance. Think about it. That’s a bold step. We’re not blaming you for the condition; we’re asking you to become part of the solution, and I think that you can.” – Supt. Jim Phares

“Local control sounds wonderful. We all talk about it, and everyone says they want it. But I would challenge you that a lot of you don’t. I would challenge you that some of the teachers don’t and some of the principals don’t. And I’ll tell you why. Because when you’re given a menu and you’re told this is how you do it, you forget how to make the decisions differently. You forget how to be creative.” – Barbara Parsons, membership liaison to the WVSBA Executive Board

“Our hands are tied behind our backs by statutes and policies that are weighing on us and not letting use make decisions. The optimist in me is going to say I have noticed that Charleston is listening. The frustrated person in me is going to say they’re not listening enough.” – Greg Prudich of the WVSBA’s Audit Response Team

“Here we are on the cusp of having some absolutely phenomenal change. I think where we are right now is probably the most exciting time in the 33 years that I’ve been involved in education. The reason is because the decision-making on what’s going on is going to be where it belongs – locally.” – Rick Hicks of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators

“One of the downsides of a top-down system is people on the local level tend to lose the initiative and creativity to try new things.”  -- Dave Mohr, senior policy analyst for the House Education Committee

“Gone will be the days when you can say, I really don’t like this but they told me upstairs I had to do this.” – Rick Hicks

“I think there’s a great place for RESAs in West Virginia, but we need to redefine their purpose and be very specific about what it is. We need to strengthen RESAs and make them partners with the counties so we can provide more services in a cost-efficient manner.” – Greg Prudich

“Accreditation is going to change, and your local folks will be able to easily identify if their schools are improving or not, and they’ll be ringing your phones even more.” – Hallie Mason, policy director for the governor

“We see this as a bill that can empower teachers, and I’m upset that that has been lost with all of the noise about holidays and the misinformation. Take that message back to your teachers.” – Hallie Mason

“It’s flawed in many ways. There is not an assessor in the state that wants to see a school board punished for an action of theirs.” – Patti Hamilton of the West Virginia Association of Counties on problems with a 2007 law that would punish school districts when assessors in their counties do not assessor property values at the right levels





The Legislature is published by the West Virginia School Board Association. It provides county board of education members, state policymakers, school administrators and the education community information and opinions regarding West Virginia legislative issues. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect official opinion or policies of the WVSBA, unless specifically stated.

West Virginia School Board Association PO Box 1008 Charleston, WV 25324 Phone (304) 346-0571 • Fax (304) 346-0572 WVSBA.ORG

Jim J. Crawford Sr. (Kanawha).

Howard M. O’Cull, Ed. D., Executive Director, Editor Shirley M. Davidson, Administrative Assistant, Production and Circulation

Vincit omnia veritas “Truth conquers all”