The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

November 7, 2012

Editorial: Educating our children

When will state institute real calendar reforms?

— So much for last year’s mild winter.

With recovery from last week’s superstorm still continuing in various parts of the state, the issue of 180 mandated instructional days in our public school classrooms takes front and center once again in West Virginia.

Despite starting earlier and other academic calendar adjustments, some schools have been out for up to six days and are still counting ... and it’s only November.

The clamor to try to resolve this problem toned down during the 2011-12 school year, thanks in large part to a relatively sedate winter across the Mountain State.

Now, with the official start of winter still six weeks away, we’ve got school systems that have burned up most of the snow days they built into the calendar for 2012-13.

Does anyone think for a minute we’ve seen the last of the snow and the last of school closings for the current school year?

You can safely surmise that many counties will not meet the 180-day mandate, as has quickly become the norm in West Virginia during the last five years.

So when are our lawmakers and education leaders going to come up with a plan that truly addresses this crisis, and it is a crisis?

We can rehash for you, once again, how education in America continues to slip further and further behind the rest of the world. We can also bemoan the lack of educational advancements in our own state, once again as well.

Our arms are getting plenty tired as we beat this drum over and over.

That leads us to the bigger problem here.

Are we really interested in education reform in West Virginia, or are we just willing to accept the reality that the system is broke in so many places but is still running — so why do anything to truly fix it?

Who is getting shortchanged here? It’s the next generation.

Our leaders owe it to our children to step up and make changes that will really matter.

An expansive performance audit of our state’s K-12 educational system was released earlier this year, and it detailed a multitude of areas where something needs to be done. There has been much discussion and talk about it since then, but there has been no real action taken.

Will it be a centerpiece of the work that needs to be done in the next session of the Legislature? That apparently isn’t a certainty.

What are we waiting for here? Another snow day?

It’s time that the ball is picked up on education in West Virginia and is moved ahead.

No more delays.