CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Education Alliance is teaming up with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for a one-day education summit. It’s called “Excellence in Education Is Everyone’s Business.”

Dr. Amelia Courts heads up the Education Alliance. She said the Tuesday gathering at Charleston Civic Center will focus in on issues that are critical to improving the state’s education system.

“We are in an urgent time that we need to improve our public schools to make sure that we have citizens that are prepared for the jobs of the future in our state,” explained Courts.

The governor will kick off the summit with the keynote address. Then the more than 200 participants will break off into strategy sessions. There are two topics: accountability systems and reading on level by third grade. Two issues addressed in the state’s new education reform law passed by state lawmakers earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Tomblin.

Courts said the latter is pivotal in a state where third graders just aren’t measuring up to the national average. She she said oftentimes not everyone is on the same page.

“You may not have the opportunity to hear what successful strategies are in other states. You may not know what the business community can bring to the table to support reading by third grade. You may not know what community organizations are aiming at to reach that goal,” according to Courts.

She said that’s why the summit is so important. They’ll provide that information. The goal is to partner those people and groups with school systems.

“Bring our business partners to the table, bring our community members along, make sure our parents are represented and students have a voice,” stressed Courts.

During the afternoon session, a town hall summit will be held to allow participants to share their opinions, make suggestions and ask questions. Former Governor Gaston Caperton will be moderating that event.

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Comments

  • Retired Teacher

    I could be wrong (and it certainly won't be the first time) but are we not missing the point?

    As evidenced by many of these posts, we're in real trouble when:
    -education articles draw all manner of criticism
    -we're more concerned with the salary someone is getting rather than how much learning and achievement is occurring in our schools
    -we're more concerned who is getting those salaries rather than asking if my child's teacher is teaching and if my child is learning
    -we can't answer when asked "Read any good books lately?"
    -someone realizes that they've missed their chance for a career and lashes out at those who have an education
    -sports stories draw more attention or posts
    -a school calendar has become sacred
    -some individual or group is always at fault
    -we allow career politicians and businesses to lead the charge to the education Promised Land
    -school open-house nights are largely unattended except by a handful of parents
    -we cling to the notion that college is for everyone
    -acts of violence no longer a surprise and are expected
    -education is seen as unnecessary
    -the unknowing and ill-informed all of a sudden have an education epiphany and become experts
    -"educators" in the Ivory Tower with very limited or no classroom experience make policy
    -"professionals" can't be released and replaced
    -we expect everything for nothing
    -young teachers lose their zeal and no one asks "Why?" or "How?"
    -lives and talents are wasted
    -there is no accountability from the Ivory Tower to the home and all points in between, including staff
    -our "seamless" secondary standards are completely misaligned with the expectations of our universities
    -we continue to believe that all teachers CAN lead parents and students to the Font of Knowledge and CAN make them drink to the full
    -we allow bells-and-whistles and to run our school curriculum
    -we fail to model the change we want to see
    -libraries have to fight for funding
    -we can't say no to educational bandwagons
    -we expect hungry children to learn at the same rate as the nourished
    -our society believes that everyone cares and our schools can solve all of our social problems
    -we expect technology to be the answer
    -students can't see beyond the next video game or tech gizmo
    -as a society we have lost our civility
    -the last people to whom we want to listen are the parents and the teachers
    -parents and teachers begin to see that the direction our education system has lead us over the past decades has been a circle
    -we fail to realize that the rest of the outside world isn't concerned with our excuses
    -parents and teachers view each other as adversaries rather than advocates
    -our yearly empty and grandstanding "summits" go nowhere (unsurprisingly)
    -our resources aren't allocated appropriately...

    and finally
    -we believe that the needed change will happen in our lifetime.

  • Leo

    You are all missing the point. Hopefully accountability for ALL students will be addressed. As of now there is NONE. The only ones held accountable are the teachers. Until that changes, you could pay me $300,000 a year and the scores would still be the same. A tremendous amount of kids just don't care. The education department also needs to make an I.E.P. and 504 harder to qualify for. These parents want us to do everything for their kids, make everything easier. We had a student a parent had a 504 for whthaws 14 years old and she wanted us to make a locker list for him for each class, there was nothing wrong with this kid, he played football and was a year away from driving, which I'm sure they would say he was smart enough for that. Hey, maybe they asked the DMV tester to list where the gas and brake were for him. Let's not make him work too hard.

    • The bookman

      "teachers alone cannot solve our problems", was the quote from my previous post... Total agreement that it is not a teacher only issue...but I would submit that students are held accountable by teachers for attendance and proficiency on the work they complete...if they fail on the delivery of quality or quantity..they fail the class..the problems with achievement are cultural and social and therefore are not easily solved...so many variables that are not controlled easily...no easy answers here... No teacher bashing from me...I do know from personal experience that good teachers make a difference for many students and deserve just compensation for that...all teachers should not benefit from their effort though...the base can't be raised across the board and years of service increments only keep the complacent satisfied...

      • Leo

        Perhaps in other states they are held accountable, but where I work, they are passed on. If you fail one core class you should NOT be allowed to pass unless you go to summer school and pass that class. Ours are allowed to fail one core class and still pass. If they thought that they would have to miss their summer to go to classes to pass perhaps they would give their best the first time around. Again, until their advancement is tied to their scores and grades, they don't have to care, nor will they.

        • The bookman

          Man they are kids...of course they don't care...but they are accountable...to the standards you as educators set...if the system you use is too loose, then tighten it up... But I do want to make sure you know that I don't feel teachers as a unit are THE problem...people do not place value in raising children as they should...there are bad teachers that are overpaid!! But there are great teachers that are underpaid...teacher pay doesn't solve it...parenting solves it...now what do we do?

          • Leo

            I do not feel that you are implying we are the whole problem, yes there are bad teachers as well as good and great ones. But....I am sorry, you are wrong. There is no accountability to the students. You find me a school in WV where advancement is tied to test scores and grades and I will call their BOE and find out the wording of their rules. Ours does not. I think it is a state ruling. I know Maryland tests kids before they go into 9th grade. If they don't pass they do not move on. Sadly I only know this because of the fuss in the papers about that football player. Our state stupidly holds sports in such high regard when little to none is given to education. There can't be more than 1% of West Virginians who will make it to professional sport status, but 100% who will need to work for a living.

  • wvu999

    Here is a sample of another county for non teachers (board of education employees) who NEVER work directly with students.

    This is why teachers are so upset. Look at what these people make in comparison of teachers who actually work with students. I couldnt get the years of service to copy and paste.

    MA45 $ 169,939.00
    MA45 $ 122,731.33
    MA30 $ 113,192.44
    MA45 $ 91,499.75
    MA30 $ 104,845.66
    MA45 $ 87,540.87
    MA15 $ 52,704.73
    MA45 $ 78,458.40
    MA45 $ 84,373.73
    MA15 $ 78,482.27
    MA30 $ 86,669.42
    MA45 $ 101,280.14
    MA45 $ 96,294.12
    MA45 $ 94,823.00
    MA45 $ 94,046.27
    MA45 $ 83,734.55
    MA30 $ 90,597.99
    MA15 $ 61,433.00
    MA30 $ 64,768.00
    MA $ 44,175.00
    MA15 $ 62,921.74
    BA $ 71,707.66
    MA $ 66,168.00
    BA $ 44,755.20
    MA30 $ 78,278.79
    MA30 $ 105,935.01
    BA $ 36,989.11
    MA30 $ 66,768.43
    MA45 $ 64,519.13
    BA $ 49,254.67
    MA $ 63,376.28
    BA $ 59,075.89
    BA $ 57,572.60
    MA $ 77,207.12
    MA45 $ 73,210.43
    BA $ 71,707.66
    MA $ 65,508.00
    MA15 $ 74,169.20
    BA $ 97,358.81
    MA45 $ 96,294.12
    BA $ 58,791.00
    BA $ 79,276.79
    MA45 $ 67,230.35
    MA15 $ 53,222.02
    MA45 $ 80,428.52
    DR $ 105,447.97
    BA $ 67,836.00
    BA $ 116,080.32

    • The bookman

      How many posts on this article, wvu999? The conference was not about lack of a pay raise for teachers... Money will not solve our educational problems here in this state or elsewhere... If it would, our students would be high achievers...the subject here was reading on grade level and accountability throughout the system and was sponsored by a non-governmental, non union association...all should be commended for their efforts...teachers alone cannot solve our problems, increased salaries are not the answer, and given our current structure, unaffordable anyway...if you want teachers to ever be conpensated at the highest levels, merit pay based on performance is the only way to get there...be a proponent for that change and it will be supported

      • Joe

        Absolutely agree!

      • wvu999

        Look at the first comment. I was explaining why teachers are upset. Keep up

        • The bookman

          Then reply to that comment ..I do keep up. I don't like the teacher bashing anymore than the knee jerk response that paying teachers more is the answer....your comment seemed to come from left field in that the article was not a referendum on teachers, as much as a brain storming session on two specific issues...awfully testy this morning!

          • wvu999

            I agree that paying teachers more isn't the cure all but since when is paying board office employees that never see a single student over 100,000 dollars the answer?

          • The bookman

            I would suggest to you that many of those folks have seen students during their career and may or may not be justified...and when they underperform are subject to dismissal by their immediate supervisor or the BOE itself...the pay scale in West Virginia hinders advancement in compensation because it rewards time served and leaves no available funds for merit...30 years of doing a poor job is not equivalent to 30 years of a high level of performance...and it shouldn't be equally compensated...I think we all need to look at our family first if you have children of school age ...are we doing all we can to ensure their success? If you don't have children of school age but have family or friends that do, are you supporting them in their necessary focus of raising successful children? Too easy to blame teachers, tv, other kids, school systems...parents need to own the success of their kids by holding all players accountable, starting with themselves! Systems and policies do not raise successful children, parents do... The intrusion of government into every aspect of our life has led too many parents to think otherwise...

  • wvu999

    Here is a sample list of one county's teachers in WV. This is their degree level, years of service and salary.

    BA 0 $ 31,675.00
    MA30 19 $ 53,059.00
    BA 1 $ 32,262.00
    BA15 14 $ 45,498.00
    BA 4 $ 34,269.00
    BA 1 $ 33,462.00
    MA 28 $ 51,784.00
    MA45 36 $ 58,371.00
    BA 3 $ 34,438.00
    MA 5 $ 44,369.00
    MA30 17 $ 46,434.00
    MA30 31 $ 55,260.00
    BA 10 $ 10,960.84
    BA 10 $ 26,835.16
    MA 13 $ 42,371.00
    BA15 11 $ 39,236.00
    BA 2 $ 32,850.00
    BA 4 $ 34,269.00
    BA 9 $ 37,207.00
    BA15 8 $ 37,472.00
    MA30 22 $ 49,972.00
    MA45 27 $ 53,670.00
    BA 1 $ 33,462.00
    BA 0 $ 31,675.00
    DR 24 $ 53,534.00

  • NBCT

    I increased my pay by $7000/year when I became a National Certified teacher which any teacher can do who is willing to put in the work.

    • wvu999

      not all counties match the 3500 stipend paid by the state. fyi

  • Real Work

    LOL! Most years I make more than $77.000 and I only have a high school degree with some technical school training.

  • wvu999

    FYI with a Doctorate degree and 35 years experience (where the pay scale ends) you cannot make more than $60,000. 8 years of education and 35 years if service.

    Just think about that

    • mntnman

      Untrue -- we have a teacher in our county who makes $77,000 yearly.

      • wvu999

        Name and county and I will prove you wrong. I will give you their exact salary. Given they are not a board of education employee.

        • wvu999

          If they work in the Boe office they could make more bc 99% of those people are on more than a 200 day contract.

    • Joe

      How much should they make?

      This is a job that is virtually impossible to be fired from regardless of performance, and which the pay scale is known from the first day of employment.

      If individual performance accountability were incorporated, you would have teachers in that category making 150k plus a year. As it stands, because of the lack of individual performance accountability, the only way to receive any kind of raise is when the entire employee base receives one to. This is the Union's desire. All for one, one for all. I suggest you direct your comment to Dale Lee at the WVEA.

      • wvu999

        The question you should ask yourself is this:
        How much would you want the person standing in front of you, your child or grandchild paid?

        WVEA is not the only organization that represents educators in the state. In fact, they arent even the largest anymore and not the true voice of WV educators.

  • Henry

    Translation: Learn how to whine and cry about needing more breaks and, of course. . . MORE MONEY.