Group Gives W.Va. D+ For Teacher Quality Laws

By Amy Julia Harris

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - West Virginia has one of the worst education systems in the nation when it comes to its public school teachers, according to a new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The nonpartisan research and education policy group ranked West Virginia 41st worst in the country for its education laws and gave the state a grade of D+.

The 159-page report published last week, which emphasized a lack of teacher accountability, found that West Virginia's rule-laden system insulated bad teachers, failed to retain good teachers, and had no systemic way to monitor whether educators have actually mastered the subjects they are paid to teach.

"Disregard for performance in education has bred massive dysfunction with disastrous consequences for the health of the teaching profession and for student achievement, especially for students most in need of effective teachers," researchers said in the report.

The report said the big problems with West Virginia's system are:

Tenure is awarded virtually automatically.

Student learning is not the main factor in a teacher's evaluation.

It is inefficient and almost impossible to fire bad teachers.

There is no system to determine whether a teacher has mastered the subject he or she teaches.

Researchers said in the report that West Virginia's structural education woes begin before a teacher enters the classroom and extends throughout his or her time at a school...

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