West Virginia taxpayers have given their public school system the financial resources to deliver outstanding educational results. It is not doing that.It's time to fix that.Overall, West Virginia ranked ninth in the nation with a B-minus in the Quality Counts report by Education Week, which rates the states and Washington, D.C., each January.But West Virginia schools are among the nation's worst performers for student achievement, scoring an F in that category.
Money is not the problem. The The Mountain State was second only to Wyoming in school finance - but is 49th in K-12 achievement, ahead of only Washington, D.C., and Mississippi.The state scored an A in standards, A in school accountability and A-minus in assessments.It scored an A-minus in early childhood education, a B-minus in college readiness and an A in economy and workforce.It should be noted that the academic achievement portion in the report card is from the 2012 report card. Education Week does not change every ranking for the states and D.C. every year.
But it is highly unlikely that achievement suddenly went from F to A overnight.An independent audit by Public Works, released a year ago, called for myriad changes in state law.Jim Phares, the new state superintendent of schools, has promised changes in the West Virginia Department of Education."The latest Quality Counts report reinforces the need to focus our efforts on helping county school systems increase student achievement levels byproviding resources and reallocating some WVDE staff to local and regional levels," Phares said.Public schools do not need a money implant. Taxpayers pay plenty.Schools do need to be managed in such a way that their results matched the Herculean effort taxpayers make to fund the effort.