Opinion

February 5, 2016 - Volume 36 Issue 4

Commentary

“Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty.” - Anne Louise Germaine de Stael (1766-1817), a French-speaking Swiss author living in Paris and abroad who influenced literary tastes in Europe at the turn of the 19th century.

 


 

 

“It is my belief that it is impossible for the state board to be effective in carrying out its mission, under current conditions, particularly in the Legislature.”

Those are words from Wade Linger, who resigned from his position on the state school board Wednesday.

Linger has strongly defended the state’s use of Common Core standards, which the Legislature attempted to repeal last year, the Gazette-Mail’s Ryan Quinn reported. Even though the state Department of Education has retooled the standards, they too closely resemble Common Core for some lawmakers’ liking. A push by some to repeal the standards continues.

That is too much for Linger. He told MetroNews Talkline host Hoppy Kercheval that Common Core was the “tipping point” of the Legislature’s decades of “encroachment” into the board of education’s territory.

The West Virginia Legislature and the state Department of Education play a large part in the education of West Virginia’s children. But as the 2012 education efficiency audit noted, perhaps they are too involved.

The audit found that West Virginia’s education system is saddled with restrictive laws, regulations and bureaucracy.

“We have encountered no other state that insulates its education system so much from gubernatorial — or voter — control; restricts local initiative so much on the part of districts, building principals, and teachers; and vests so much authority for education at the state level,” the report stated.

The Legislature initially took steps to free educators from some burdens, but it seems the audit’s recommendations have been all but forgotten. That’s evident as lawmakers repeatedly attempt to control content standards.

Lawmakers should continue to work to reduce the size of the education bureaucracy, rid the state code of laws that micromanage classrooms and bury teachers with paperwork and make it hard to attract qualified teachers.

Teachers need laws that allow them to produce an orderly environment for students to learn. Educational leaders need freedom to try new approaches, greater ability to root out poor teachers and more.

Lawmakers would be wise to reread the education efficiency audit. And just like the Republican majority is rightly doing to improve the state’s business climate, lawmakers need to reduce legislative and administrative burdens on our state’s schools and teachers and create an educational climate where good teachers teach and students flourish.

- See more at: http://www.wvgazettemail.com/daily-mail-opinion/20160205/daily-mail-editorial-legislature-too-involved-in-public-education

Editor’s Note: This Editorial  appeared in the  Daily Mail Opinion Page of the Charleston Gazette-Mail Friday, February 5, 2016. Used by permission of the Charleston-Gazette Mail.