The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

April 11, 2013

Tomblin OKs education reform bill

CHARLESTON — Flanked by key lawmakers, business and education leaders, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed legislation Wednesday bringing reforms to West Virginia’s troubled school system, emphasizing this is merely a start.

“This is a huge step in the right direction,” Tomblin said at the bill-signing ceremony.

“But I want to emphasize it’s just the beginning. We have major changes to make and I’ve already started on some.”

Tomblin said SB359 met five specific goals he had in mind when he proposed the bill two months ago.

All children must read at grade level by the 3rd grade, high school graduates must be prepared to land a job or enter college or vocational school, students need to learn in a variety of ways, public education has to be run at the local level and not by the Charleston bureaucracy, and “all students must be taught by great teachers,” the governor said.

“This makes changes to ensure we’re preparing kids for the future,” Tomblin said.

“Everyone involved shared in one goal — we want to do what is best for the kids and I’m proud to say we did it.”

The bill traveled no smooth route to his desk, however.

Teacher organizations initially were angered by the first version, but signed on once compromises were built in. A key one allows seniority equal footing with other hiring criteria.

Even with the changes, Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, left no doubt that lawmakers need to take a look at teacher salaries.

“We want to ensure we have the top quality teachers in every classroom and we have to address salaries to be able to ensure that our great teachers stay in the state of West Virginia,” he said at the ceremony.

Christine Campbell, incoming president of the American Federation of Teachers, made no mention of the pay issue but said “everyone got something” in the compromise version of SB359.

“The provisions of the bill are things that are going to help student achievement,” she predicted.

House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, said the legislation proves what can be accomplished when all stakeholders meet at the table and work toward a common goal — “what’s best for our kids.”

The bill originated in his chamber, and Senate President Jeffrey Kessler, D-Marshall, said that’s why he made it a priority early on.

“They all deserve a chance,” he said of West Virginia’s school children.

“They’re all going to get one. We want to keep them here.”

Tomblin said the next effort in education will be to improve education at the middle school level and to bring more technological advances into the classrooms.

“We have more changes to make and I’ve already started on some,” he said.

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • Judge in W.Va. asked to delay gay marriage ruling

    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has asked a judge to postpone ruling on a federal lawsuit challenging West Virginia's same-sex marriage ban until the U.S. Supreme Court reviews a ruling in a similar case in Virginia.

    July 30, 2014

  • Tri-state coal interests rally before EPA hearings

    More than 2,000 union workers and others organized by the coal industry in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia joined top state elected officials Wednesday to rally against proposed stricter federal pollution regulations for coal-burning power plants.

    July 30, 2014

  • Work continues on stand-alone Warrior Trail

    The executive director of the Hatfield and McCoy Trail Authority said Tuesday that officials are still working toward the creation of the stand-alone Warrior Trail in McDowell County.

    July 30, 2014

  • East River Mountain Tunnel repairs will continue for several weeks

    Motorists traveling Interstate 77 could see slight delays again tonight as repair work continues inside of the fire-damaged East River Mountain Tunnel.

    July 30, 2014

  • State leaders to attend coal rally in Pittsburgh

    West Virginia officials are set to join hundreds of coal miners and coal supporters at an electricity and energy jobs rally.

    July 30, 2014

  • Americans continue to be plagued by debt

    Credit card debt may have reached its lowest level in a decade, but according to a recent study on personal debt vs. income, just as more people are paying off their credit card debt monthly, nearly the same number of people are being reported for unpaid bills. 

    July 30, 2014

  • twvcheck Theatre West Virginia gives back to hospice

    Theatre West Virginia, even with its shortened season this year, has found a way to give back to the community. Mike Cavendish, a past board president at TWV, presented Hospice of Southern West Virginia with a check Thursday for over $1,000. 

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Former Summers County commissioner indicted

    The Summers County grand jury handed up indictments against 17 individuals this month, including one against a former county commissioner. 

    July 30, 2014

  • Weaker prices widen second quarter losses for Arch Coal

     Arch Coal Inc. said Tuesday that its second-quarter loss widened partly because of nagging rail disruptions and weaker prices for coal used in making steel, though cost controls helped the coal producer’s latest earnings surpass analysts’ expectations.

    July 30, 2014

  • pasiley Watery delight

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo