May 13, 2014 - Volume 34 Issue 19

The Vermont House gave preliminary approval to a bill to reduce the number of local school districts in the state from more than 270 to around 50. (Burlington Free Press, April 30)


“Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit.’” -  Ansel Adams (1902-1984), U.S. photographer and environmentalist. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, and in books.


“This is really, really important work. If we don’t paint a picture of what could be, we’ll never get to it.” – Tom Campbell, state school board member and chairman of the Commission on School District Governance and Administration, on the education reforms the commission is considering.

“Many individuals have little knowledge of what it takes to manage a school system. Teachers must be certified and highly qualified for their positions. Maybe the state should look at boards of education.” – Greenbrier County teacher on whether school districts should have more leeway

“It’s very clear that they’re not testing in order to compare teacher to teacher or classroom to classroom or even school to school. They believe that’s also counterproductive. They’re really trying to get at whether the students are learning or not.” – Thomas Alsbury, professor of educational administration and supervision at Seattle Pacific University, on how other countries with successful education models limit testing.

“I think the process is working.” – Pendleton County Supt. Doug Lambert on how allowing teachers to participate in the hiring process is helping them feel better about how they fit into the system

“It’s not sufficient to house expertise at the RESA or district level. It’s important to bring the expertise to the classroom level, such as coaching and up-to-date technology services, The secondary idea is that districts and schools should strive for continuity in implementing curricular and instructional programs and provide support for student learning.” – Sharon Harsh, director of the Appalachian Regional Comprehensive Center

“In my opinion, that’s the number one theme. Class size is too large, particularly in the lower elementary grades. In a lot of cases, I would say, they end up being double of what the teachers say they should be. I think that’s critical…. We might be better to have larger classes in high school and smaller in K-2.” – Tom Campbell

“We need a technology support person at the school, so they can provide just-in-time assistance in this area.” – Thomas Alsbury

“You need to instruct in an individual way rather than a group way to really reap the benefits of lowering class size. so state solutions don’t always work,” – Thomas Alsbury

“Reforms, for the most part, need to be driven by local needs.” – Thomas Alsbury

“If you mandate the methods, which is basically what we do now, then you see lower results, because mandating methods is one size fits all.” – Tom Campbell
“Boards that had more educators on them and boards that had more business folks on them actually had lower achievement results than boards that had more blue-collar workers on them.” – Thomas Alsbury

“If West Virginia were actually able to pilot something like this, it would truly be the first time that anything like it has been attempted in the United States. And if there’s some success to it, I predict that it’s going to have a big splash.” – Thomas Alsbury on a proposed hybrid model for public education





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”