Wednesday night over 200 people packed Capital High School in Charleston. Those attending met in small groups during part of the meeting, to share theie input on how to make West Virginia schools better. Similar events were already held in Cabell and McDowell counties. For now the forums are getting high marks.
“My impressions are that they have gone very, very well. And that is based on the remarks of those that are attending the forums and the fact that they feel like they’ve had the chance to express themselves fully, accurately,” said Dr. Steve Paine, WV Superintendent of Schools.
At least three-dozen West Virginia lawmakers have attended one-or-more of the forums so far.
“You know it is really good to see the variety of the public that is there. So that they get a good cross-section of parents, teachers, school administrators, service personnel, and even students that are coming in that are giving their input on different things that could reform education,” said State Sen. Eric Tarr, (R) Putnam.
The state is not releasing any data, until all the forums are completed. It’s widely anticipated that a Special Legislative Session will revisit some popular items, as well as controversial items such as Charter Schools and Education Savings Accounts known as ESAs.
“I believe we will be revisiting those things. I think that school choice is a big part of education reform and that competition in the system is a good thing. And that competition will be introduced in some form or another in this bill I’m sure,” said State Sen. Eric Tarr, (R) Putnam
Teacher’s unions told us last week, that’s a non-starter.
“Educators across the state and the people across the state have made it clear. We’re not interested in Charter Schools or ESAs,” said Dale Lee, President, West Virginia Educaion Association.
After Thursday night’s forum in Beckley, there will be four more education forums across the state, over the course of the next two weeks.
“If you can’t attend one of these education forums in person your can always give your input online. You can fill out a survey at WVDE.US.,” said 13 News Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis.