The presidents of the two teacher organizations in West Virginia call the decision by the state Board of Education to fire state School Superintendent Dr. Jorea Marple “shocking.”
The board made the move Thursday.
West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee says it was a politically motivated decision by the board members who were appointed by former Gov. Joe Manchin, including his wife, Gayle Manchin.
“We are appalled by the actions,” Lee said. “Dr. Marple is well-respected by her peers, professionals, teachers and service personnel around the state.”
The union president called the move “terrible timing” as the state board gets set to respond to the public education audit. Board President Wade Linger says that’s why a change in leadership is needed. Lee disagrees.
“It appears to me that people want total control and that’s wrong,” Lee said. “Education will move forward when everybody’s together and everybody is working together to move education forward and you listen to the experts, who are the classroom teachers. For personal agendas to come into play is just appalling.”
West Virginia American Federation of Teachers President Judy Hale says the way Marple was fired is more surprising than the fact she was let go.
“There have been some talk, some rumblings, there always are,” Hale said. “But to have this happen is a total surprise and quite frankly, the manner in which it happened is very disturbing to me.”
Hale says she has a few questions for the state board.
“Are we in a state of chaos now? A state of flux? What I would like to know from the board members remaining is how to do we go forward from here?”
Both Hale and Lee expressed disappointment that board members Jenny Phillips and Prescilla Haden announced their resignations after Marple was fired.