NATION'S EDUCATION REPORT CARD SAID WV AT ROCK BOTTOM

(09/03/2011)

West Virginia ranks at the bottom in educational performance in 2010, according to the Nation's Report Card, the respected annual measurement of performance and outcomes.

West Virginia came in 50th in the USA.

A new report card will be issued soon.

United States students are continuing to trail behind their peers in a pack of higher performing nations.

Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math, with some improvements since 2003.

"This is an absolute wake-up call for America," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

State education leaders and the WV legislature failed during special sessions to commence making radical changes that could improve the educational opportunities of children in the Mountain State.

West Virginians for Education Reform (WVER) released a statement from its co-founder, Ben Adams, on the Report Card.

"We are deeply disappointed to see West Virginia ranked at the bottom of yet another list within the public education sector. To be ranked 50 out of the 51 states, including the District of Columbia, for education performance should not be ignored or taken lightly," Adams said.

Adams says the report clearly shows that 72% of West Virginia students are "Not Proficient" in 4th and 8th grade reading and math.

In addition, the report shows that West Virginia received a "C" grade for education reform measures - including state academic standards (D-), identifying high-quality teachers (D), retaining high-quality teachers (D) removing ineffective teachers (B), and having no public charter school law.

West Virginia spends more than $10,000 per student annually, among the highest capitated amount in the USA.

Adams said, "We should not be failing our public schools children in such a dismal way. As parents, as taxpayers, and as responsible citizens, we should be asking questions as to why we continue to rank at the bottom of the nation for education."

WVER says it believes that it is the responsibility of the governor, the legislature and the State Board of Education to give schools and teachers the permission and autonomy to be dramatically innovative.

"West Virginia deserves to give its future generations the benefits of what a good education system can provide, which can only be done by taking a hard and fair look at reforms that are working across the country."

We can no longer throw more money at our state's failing system of public education and expect positive results to just suddenly appear," the WVER press release says.

WVER says WV is one of 11 states that does not allow for public charter schools, calling for their introduction to the state.

Public charter schools are public schools that have the freedom to innovate with their educational programs, curriculum, budgeting, staffing, and scheduling, although they have had some shortcomings in some states.

"The words "public education" should no longer be thrown around during the legislative session as a way for policymakers to make the residents of this state think that something is being done," Adams said.

Report after report and a high school dropout rate of 71 percent shows that it clearly isn't.

WVER is calling on parents, lawmakers, taxpayers, teachers and students to work together to look at education reforms that work.


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