West Virginia’s education system is broken, in need of significant changes if not a complete overhaul. On this, the vast majority of us can agree.
As is so often the case, the devil will be in the details as our state’s leaders take on the mammoth task of forever altering the way our students learn. The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce stands ready and able to assist with these vitally important changes that will benefit our students, our teachers, our families, our businesses, and indeed our entire state.
The facts that make the case for massive changes are indisputable.
The statistics paint a grim picture in many ways, but we are not without hope.
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses firmly believe that teachers want to teach and students want to learn. What we require is the leadership to let that happen now.
There are positive signs. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin spent fully half of his State of the State address promoting improvements to education, and the West Virginia Board of Education appears ready to support change.
We applaud those positive thoughts, but the Chamber’s quest to improve student achievement will not end until action is taken. Last year’s comprehensive audit of our bureaucratic system must serve as a blueprint for action, not as a dust collector on a shelf in the back room.
We call on elected officials, school board members and West Virginia Department of Education staff to create higher expectations and demand better performance not only from our students, but from our teachers, our administrators, and our entire communities.
Specifically, we need:
The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce has a history of bringing people together to solve complex problems, and we stand ready to work collaboratively again in this case. Regardless, however, we will push for the significant changes necessary to immediately allow both teachers and students to do what they yearn to do: teach and learn.
— Roberts is the president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.