We struggle in West Virginia to fill every school classroom with an educator certified in the discipline they are teaching.  According to the West Virginia Education Association, we currently have 316 teaching positions being filled by long-term substitutes.

A significant increase in starting teacher pay—it’s currently around $34,000—would help, but it’s always going to be hard to attract more qualified educators to some of the rural and poorer parts of the state.  Also, it’s going to be an ongoing challenge to find the money necessary to raise starting salaries to a level that will attract more talented young people into the profession.

That’s why West Virginia should take advantage of the Teach for America (TFA) program.

Teach for America is a nonprofit organization that recruits motivated and talented individuals to work in low-income schools for two years.  Some of the recruits have teaching experience, but most don’t. All are immersed in an intensive five-week training program before entering the classroom.

TFA has plenty of critics, including some alums of the program, who say dropping into a school for just two years can have a destabilizing impact on the community.  Opponents also say the trainees cannot master all the pedagogical skills of a teacher certified through traditional training and it’s insulting to the profession to suggest they can.

However, new research suggests TFA can effectively fill the void in high-poverty schools.

Mathematica Policy Research has just released a study examining the effectiveness of TFA elementary school teachers relative to other teachers in the same school.  The research shows that on average, TFA corp members “were as effective as other teachers in the same high-poverty elementary schools in teaching both reading and math.”

Mathematica reports its findings are consistent with earlier studies on the effectiveness of Teach for America educators.

The West Virginia Legislature is trying again this year to approve TFA here.  It’s included in HB 2005 which deals with methods of alternative certification for teachers.  The bill has passed the House and is on the agenda for the Senate Education Committee this morning.

It’s understandable that some West Virginia teachers take offense to TFA.  Here’s what one former teacher wrote on the Facebook page Don’t Teach For America, that opposes TFA in West Virginia. “This is a slap in the face to teachers who have worked hard for their degrees and certifications.  The main problem with the lack of teachers in WV is money.  The pay is pathetic.”

West Virginia teachers should make more money.  If we expect professionalism from educators, then they should be paid as professionals.  However, let’s keep in mind the goal is to get the most qualified person in the classroom. If Teach for America can help fill the void, even if it’s only for short periods of time, then West Virginia should utilize the program.


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  • R Moffett

    Hoppy, You may not understand that Teach for America staff have only a quick, summer, "boot-camp" training session in methods of teaching whereas education majors holding degrees in teaching are exposed to these techniques for the four year they are in college.

    You say "The research shows that on average, TFA corp members “were as effective as other teachers in the same high-poverty elementary schools in teaching both reading and math.”
    While that is probably true, I'd argue the likelihood that the "other teachers" were ineffective so I don't see the advantage of TFA staff except to give the appearance of politicians who have failed miserably to provide effective schools are doing something constructive.

  • hugh

    "Not offered nothing" qualifies you to become a TFA grammar instructor.

  • hugh?

    Maybe House Education Chairman, Ms. Delegate Amanda Pasdon, will give up her job and salary with the WV Chamber of Commerce to teach whatever it is she could teach in the public schools of West Virginia and live on a teacher's salary. She could scold and shame the children when they ask questions or make suggestions just as she did recently on the House floor to a delegate who dared make an amendment to a bill that passed HER committee. Under HER "laws" she could teach anything she wants at whatever pace she wants and not be held accountable to any standard because she wants to throw out the standards that set forth the basics of what our students should learn.

  • Billyboy

    Multiple studies have shown that TFA members are as effective as "classically" trained teachers. The TFA members are some of the brightest college graduates from many of the best schools in America. Their effectiveness highlights that traditional teacher education programs focus way too much on theory rather than application and gives rise to the thought these programs need to raise the standards for the individual who wants to teach.

  • Jiamond Day

    1). I'm sure you've been teaching all this time, and it's so easy.
    2). At least the chimps would be allowed to fling poo at the kids who cause trouble.
    3). What teacher pissed you off when you were little?

  • Diamond Jay

    You can teach a chimpanzee to teach fifth graders in 5 weeks.
    C'mon man, get a grip. Comparing teachers to doctors, lawyers and physical therapists is the equivalent of comparing cubic zirconia to diamonds.

  • Shadow

    The good teachers that I had wanted me to learn and it was so evident. I still respect them and know they are responsible for what success I have had. Teaching is not a job, it is an vocation.

  • WV native but at an Out of State College

    I graduated from a WV high school just last spring and I am now at an out of state school. I'm grateful to be WV born& raised but guess what? My education is lacking. It's not because I didn't have a great education, I did I came from one of the best high schools in the state. It's the fact my high school lacked the teachers to teach the classes I needed to have a grasp of what I'm doing in college. My high school didn't have an economics class, guess who is struggling in economics? Me. Guess who is struggling in others subjects that weren't offered? Me.
    If they are great at what they do, can pass a thorough background check, and complete the requirements then let them teach and stop punishing students like me who want to be successful but due to lack of resources have to work ten times harder than the person next to me from a different state that had the teacher.

  • Ron from Morgantown

    316 May seem like a lot but when compared to the total teacher count in West Va it's quite small .

  • Aaron

    There is no finally because you've ask no question, just like you've not offered nothing to the conversation other than anecdotal comments. At least Sam tried to answer below, even though he was wrong.

  • Aaron

    That's not accurate. In the Transition to Teach program, if accepted, you are immediately placed into a classroom with an alternative teaching certificate and are hired as a WV teacher while also completing online course work. At the end of the year, you take a PRAXIS II test and if you pass it and receive satisfactory evaluations among other steps, you receive your certification. If you do not pass the test or if you wish to be a special education teacher, you must complete another year of coursework. There is not practicum. In reality, a TFA teacher actually has MORE training than a WV approved TtT teacher. It seems to me that the TtT program provides less hands on training despite costing the teaching candidate more money.

    Wonder why that is.


  • Aaron

    Why can WV not amend the bill to include the practicum?

  • kate

    Finally, you've answered my questions about why you aren't hearing anything that opponents to the bill are saying. Thanks for clarifying that for us. There's nothing we can say to deter you, so all I will say at this point is, good luck. You seem to have all the answers, though, so have at it.

  • Sam

    Part of the 100 hours you refer to is in a practicum where the prospective teachers is supervised in front of real students. This is type of hands-on experience that can not be accomplished in a 5 week course. By the way the final practicum is 6 to 8 weeks--5 days a week--8 hours a day.

  • Aaron

    I will take that as no, you d. Not have a clue.

  • Citizen/teacher/parent

    Go spend a year in a classroom and we ll see what you think about teacher unions when your finished! Don't talk about what you don't understand.

  • Aaron

    Posted...dagnabbit auto correct

  • Aaron

    You've podted nothing to support your argument. Wait, you've not even made a legitimate argunent, all you've done is whine.

  • Citizen/teacher/parent

    So, can a teacher take the place of a doctor,lawyer, physical therapist with a 5 week class? This Teach for America is ridiculous! They are set up to make a profit and I believe they are linked to KIPP. I've even read that it is a husband and wife show. Those two groups out spent any single organization in the last New York election. This is not what WV needs- another private out of state group taking our tax dollars. I would love to see some of these talk show people or 4 yr degree people come spend a week in a classroom for 34k! I would definitely like to come and take your 100 k + a year job and enjoy the benefits of getting to eat lunch and actually get to use the bathroom during the work day. I just want you to remember that we teach everyone in our classrooms in WV. The evening news just stated tonight that 1 in 5 babies born in WV are addicted to narcotics. Imagine what that poor child has to deal with everyday. So, I think we need to be addressing real problems and get community schools started with wrap around services to address the needs of the students. Tell the WVGop to stop taking the KIPP, and TFA money,

  • Curmudgeon

    I think you mean "grammar" not "grammer.". That was the word you typed right before spelling.

  • Big Game

    Aaron, evidently they have to have some way of coping with arses like you and your kids.

  • The bookman

    Kudos to your son! However, they are very commonplace throughout higher Ed, and are facilitated in much the same way as TFA. Would we prefer certified teachers? Sure! These are short term fixes to real shortages faced by county systems throughout the state.

    But I think we all know that if we had certified teachers in every classroom aligned to content, paid them a salary that topped the national scale, and incorporated rigorous standards with all the supporting resources money could buy, statewide achievement would barely inch forward.

    Where parents require students to achieve, they achieve. Where parents fail to place priority on education, students fail to reach potential. We have to break the cycle. And although all of the efforts to address structural shortfalls in our public schools like the lack of certified teachers and substandard teacher pay, in the end we are really fixing those problems specifically, not addressing substandard student achievement.

    Fixing that problem is more of a social and economic issue, not an educational one.

  • Shadow

    Teachers, like Nurses, are born, not made.

  • katididz

    You know it!

  • Kate

    Aaron trolls all day, every single day. Get a job and stop asking the same questions every single day. Here's an answer for you...my nephew is in his third year of med school. Nurses are in school four years. This is my last lucid answer to you.

  • Kate

    Those PA's are usually nurses first, and then they train for two more years! Not five weeks. What a comparison!

  • Kate

    Don't answer the broken record below.

  • Kate

    Oh, so NOW it's ok to compare teachers to doctors!

  • Kate

    My son had one in Morgantown. It was the only class that he made less than an A in all four years! Oh, and he was on a full scholarship.

  • The bookman

    Question: Have you ever taken a college course where your instructor was a TA or GA?

  • Teacher

    I don't see salary as an issue; it is the job. We love to teach but are getting sick of dirty politics, double standards, and true lack of educational intelligence from boards and administrators.

  • Teacher

    Colleges house adults with hopefully literacy skills in place. That is not the case on the elementary level.

  • Bandaid

    Just putting a band-aid on another problem without attempting to fix the problem. So there has been no alternative to the current teacher shortage for years? So we just the mask the problem and move on. Typical. No other choices eh? We are really content as a society to charge it to the next generation.

  • The bookman

    We accept the presence of TA's and GA's in our colleges and universities. I don't see how this is fundamentally different. Certainly the preference would be to have a certified teacher in his or her content area in front of students, but in the absence of that as an available option, why not TFA as an option?

  • Aaron

    It is but one aspect of being a professional. I cannot think of one career that would be considered professional that does not require drug testing, other than education. Can you.

    For the record I think showing up for work and proper dress attire are important as well.

  • Aaron

    I will pose the same question you as our price below. How does the extra 100 hours spread over three years make one more qualified to be a teacher.

    I really wish one of the opponents of TFA Couls answer this because this is something that I am personally looking into for my future.

  • peleliu

    This is a great idea, in 5 weeks of training one can teach, using the same logic one could take a one minute cram course and become a journalist or a reporter.
    I can see myself taking my kid to a Dr. who has had a 20 weeks of intense training to be a Dr....... not going to happen.

  • Aaron

    Can you explain how the extra 100 hours spread out over 3 years qualifies someone more?

  • vashti

    why does drug testing eqqual professionalism pray tell

  • Aaron

    Sorry, my fat fingers fail me. The admitted number is actually 6 to 10% who ADMIT to illegal drug use. Estimates are as much as 25%.

    Recovery first did a study and found that nearly half of all teachers admitted to some form of prescribed, mood altering drug use (xanax seems to be the favorite) or heavy alcohol use.

    So why do you reckon so many teachers use?


  • vashti

    meant 5 week

  • vashti

    Seriously an intensive 5 week program suffices for a 4 year degreed program? why not give a biologist an intensive 35 week program and call him a doctor. he has a sort of medical background. just because you have program knowledge does not mean you can teach. i could refer you to several college courses i took that would prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Teaching is a profession let us treat as such and show the respect necessary.

  • wvu999


  • wvu999


  • The bookman

    Can you explain how you can support both a nationalized standard adopted on behalf of all 55 County School systems by the Department of Education and local control of education as a way forward?

    Given that the Standards were heavily influenced by the Assessment and Curriculum Service Providers, achievement will be measured by testing performance, directly leading to curricular pressure on school districts. Are we not moving in a direction away from local control by accepting a nationalized standard?

  • Diane

    Don't we have "doctors of America" with Physicians Assistants and Nurse Practitioners? I rarely see a real doctor anymore.

  • Jess

    Sadly, the same behaviors are ramping up in the elementary schools.

  • Kate

    Aaron, you spew trash. Provide your proof, or close your trash mouth. People really get tired of your same old rhetoric. I'm sure you're the life of the party at social events! Go wrap another bl**t and get ready for bed.

  • Wowbagger

    Fortunately I have never had to deal with the language issue, but I have known a lot of educated people who teach at various levels including several in high school (not public) who have become pretty good teachers, while not being indoctrinated by those in education programs. I have also known a few with formal education degrees who never learned how to teach.

  • WTH?

    Aaron, 60% of teachers use illegal drugs at least once a week? You know that is a bold faced lie, unless you have proof? There are probably some teachers getting high, but 60%...come on...get real.

  • Aaron

    Thank you sir for your response. I though you had said that but couldn't remember. I think most on here respect your stance on education thus your imput, at least to these conversations, are very valuable. I wonder, what are your thoughts for filling many of these vacancies?

  • mntnman

    You are absolutely right. My daughter is in her fourth year in the teacher education program at Concord U, a renowned teachers school. Far too little of her education has been on education, far too much on liberal arts. It needs to shift dramatically. It won't. She will tell you they are wasting much of her time this semester -- she had several classes on, ready for this -- bulletin boards -- I couldn't believe it. She intends to give them a rousing exit interview -- once she has her degree in hand that is.

  • Aaron

    You have the ability to expel kids from your classroom. That is your right as a teacher. If a student is disruptive or habitually absent, kick them out and let administrators deal with them.

    I went to school for 12 years without my parents constantly in attendance at the school yet the biggest reason I've heard from teachers for our educational failures is parents.

    Wonder why that is.

  • Aaron

    I think I've read one teacher who stated they were willing to accept their responsibility and subject themselves to drug testing. In an industry in which estimates run as high as 60% of teachers use illegal drugs at least once a week, I say again, if you want to be treated like a professional, act like one.

  • mntnman

    This session has produced a lot of nothing for public education in WV. Charter schools -- tinkering around the edges. Common core -- ideological opposition to something that isn't hurting our children. Alternative certification -- we can do better than this.

    We know what we need to do -- move power to the local level, as everyone has suggested, the research supports and the audit recognized. The legislature pays a lot of lip service to the issue -- but it doesn't do anything about it.

    Free counties up to innovate, improve and change the education model. While we have some methods to do it now, it is so complicated that it is rare to do. (Mercer County is doing it in a limited fashion -- we are in month 8 of the process. We will not know if we can make the changes we seek for another 6 months if we are lucky. They will likely not take place until the 2016-17 school year. That means it took over two years to implement changes we could have done in six months if left to our own devices.)

    If the legislature really wants to see public schools improve, then set all counties free -- to implement new models of education to our children. Free us from the thousands of pages of state board policy, from the hundreds of pages of statutes,) The local level is the place to innovate. We are stifled now form doing so. The State Board and legislature are those who are accountable for this mess.

    This session of the legislature has been pretty much a waste for public education in WV. If you don't think so, check out public schools in two years and see if they are any different.

  • Red Dwarf

    When I was a first-year teacher back in '87, I had 50-55 students per class in 7th through 9th grade English class. These classes were of mixed abilities (read 'mainstreamed'). I would have welcomed ANY help to lighten that load. The following years weren't any easier. My starting pay was around $900 a month, if I recall.

  • Kate

    Drug test me right after the parents of chronically truant and drugged kids that cause the greatest problems in WV schools. I'm willing.

  • Aaron

    that should be dispels. Auto-correct and my accent are not conducive with each other.

  • Aaron

    With some of the worst attendance rates among state workers, refusal to adhere to drug testing or a dress code, do teachers collectively act as professionals? Seems to me that there is a segment of teachers who want to be treated like professionals without actually being professional.

  • Aaron

    How many of the 4 years a student spends as an education major are actually spent on education? Seems I recall that in discussing student loans, one poster mentioned that 45 hours, or about 1/3 of the hours needed for a bachelors degree were required in education?

    Or one with bachelors degree, one can participate in the transitioning to teaching program. That requires 22 hours of college credit in educational training within 3 years, or at least that is what has been explained to me.

    If you break down 22 college credit hours, that equates to 330 hours of class room training. People are jumping all over the 5 week course but that includes 40 hours per week, which is 200 hours.

    The reality in comparing the WV Legislature approved course to TFA is 130 hours in actually classroom training time. And while that is significant amount of time, an argument can be made that one can learn more over a short period of time than they can by stretching 7-8 college classes over 3 years.

    Instead of automatically rejecting TFA as inefficient or claiming it does not work, why aren't teachers working with organizations like TFA to ensure they do work?

  • Ole Sasquatch

    YES, you sir have hit the nail on the head.
    You have described the problem simply and honestly - anything else could only add up to 1% of the problem. Imagine throwing more money out without identifying the whole problem which you just told all. THANKS.

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Until there is a thorough audit as to having control in the classroom - I'm talking about Middle & High Schools nothing will improve.
    Local politics do not allow the teacher to gain control of the classroom.
    Therefore it's all a waste. If you have a sub. that finds a way to gain more control in the classroom - that person will be worth more pay than a so called professional who just stands up there teaching to a room full of kids sleeping or casually talking to their neighbor and I don't mean whispering - they would not understand why they would whisper when they freely can talk out loud. That is the classroom of today.
    No CONTROL IN THE CLASSROOM It's all that simple folks no need to try to complicate it or throw more money away.

  • Aaron

    27.8% can be partially explained by the fact that TFA contracts are for 2 years. The fact that 3 in 4 leaves AFTER that term as been fulfilled twice can be interpreted many ways. Are they completely out of teaching? Have the moved to another school? Did they retire? Did they return to school? Have they returned to another career? Did they honor their initial 2 year commitment and leave? Did they do two terms before leaving? What we can summarize is that at least they did not run up 4 or 5 years of school to become a teacher, work for less than 5 years and then decide that career is not for them.

  • CC

    And this is exactly why I left a West Virginia classroom. We are not treated as professionals in so many areas. Salaries need to increase. . . by driving 30 minutes, I increased my salary by more than $10K. And a five week course on how to teach. . . why don't you minimize our educations? I spent many summers and evenings in the college classroom to obtain my Master's Degree. And this is for two years? Talk about instability! Ridiculous!

    Sorry Hoppy, you are in left field on this issue! Spend some time in a public school classroom and let me know how you fair!

    West Virginia school teachers deserve more respect than what you have given them in this editorial!

  • Sam

    I don't disagree with TFA as a program to help fill teaching positions with quasi qualified classroom teachers. It is a lot better than some of the alternatives. However, it is only a band aid fix to the problem. There is a reason and rationale teachers get paid increments for years service. With more time in the classroom comes more experience and in most cases better implementation of programs. With TFA you are only looking a 2 year program. This doesn't allow enough time to become experienced in the classroom.
    Secondly one of the biggest obstacles to enticing and keeping classroom teachers is classroom management. Education majors spend much time in course work in this area. Even with the training they still sometimes fail and leave the profession. TFA teachers would lack any of this training and could become discouraged very quickly. There is an old saying in education that states that you have to have the student's attention if you are going to teach them. Finally as a classroom teacher matures as a teacher they gain valuable methods and materials for the art of teaching.

    If we want to improve education we need to attract new trained teachers, fairly evaluate and do whatever is needed to improve the teachers we already have, and keep good teachers in the system. TFA will not do any of these things.

  • katididz

    I bet your SIL would love to hear you begrudging her salary. Heads up to all sisters!

  • katididz


  • Progressive

    Still carrying that Not-Being-Hired baggage? Let it go.

  • peleliuh

    How many of us actually use Algebra after we had the class?

  • katididz

    How about addressing the reasons for 50% teacher turnover rate? No one wants to do that because it takes some parental responsibility, and not just the teaching professionals.

  • Bill Hill

    The pay isn't the only thing that is pathetic. Many local administrations are so busy building their little empires they fail as educators. They make teaching miserable for those in the classroom. In fact many in the local board offices are incompetent. It seems that many administrations are made up of people who have been a failure in the classroom.

    That being said, there are far to many people in the education department pushing their idea of what education should be. There is to much of trying something new instead of sticking to what works. It burns me up some many want more technology in the classroom. A computer and all the software on earth isn't going to help the student that can't read or has not idea about the principles of math. All the word processing software ever created with all the bells and whistles isn't going to help the child that has no understanding of grammer, spelling, syntax, and how to form and present and idea.

    Instead of having kids run around with intellababy learning about having a child, they need to run around with books learning about the love of reading.

    It is time to clean house in my opinion. The department needs to be cleaned out as does local board of education. It is time to go back to the basics of education. Students need to be taught the basics of math, reading, grammer, spelling, and writing. They need to be taught basics history and science.

    One final point, it needs to be made very clear to students and parents alike, that a standard of behavior exists for a reason. If your kid can't behave, they will face consequences for their actions. If parents don't like that, then they can take their kid out of school and educate them themselves.

  • katididz

    Most substitutes only want to work in the buildings that are well managed and controlled. Who wants to listen to disrespectful students interrupting their instruction for $100 a day? Who wants to break up fights in the halls, or risk being punched for $100 a day? Not me.

  • katididz

    Cheese and whine....so overused. Try something a bit more creative!

  • Karie

    Hoppy, if the goal is to really "get the most qualified person in the classroom", how is TFA's five-week immersion program supposed to nail it?

    What kind of a smokescreen are you trying to send up for this legislature that is trying to avoid addressing the real problem....salaries? Highly qualified young West Virginia teachers are graduating and goose stepping into other states for higher pay. And, we are hiring teachers who have immersed for five weeks. Where is the logic here?

    Students in teaching programs are being forced to pass a growing list of expensive tests before graduation and Teach For America teachers immerse in "training" for five weeks! Legislators, and you, Hoppy, should be ashamed for advocating the use of TFA instead of addressing the real problem in schools in West Virginia....truancy, student apathy, drugs, discipline issues, worthless initiatives, and competitive salaries.

  • Big Bob-E

    And yet...I bet you dismiss climate change as a liberal conspiracy!!

  • a concerned educator


    I did not say that 50% is not disturbing, but it is better than 27.8%. In addition, I would like to know "why" the teachers are leaving education. In any field with that high of a rate of "vacating" the position, there must be something wrong.

  • The bookman

    If my children were scheduled to start their Chemistry coursework in High School, and the school system did not successfully recruit a teacher certified in that content area, that would be a problem in need of a solution.

    Teach for America would only be one way to address the problem, but in the absence of any other available solution, a chemist with some C&I training would be preferable to an English Teacher with some Chemistry training. That is my opinion, of course, and not meant to be a knock on English Teachers.

  • Jesse's girl

    One wonders just how this country was educated before the current time? The notion that only those who have run an education department gauntlet at some institution of higher learning are qualified to teach is preposterous. Until fairly recent times, facts, history, math, reading and writing were taught and taught well. Now we have incessant whining from the teachers’ unions, students who cannot read, have no real or accurate knowledge of the history and the founding of this country, think capitalism is bad and Marxism is good, do not know multiplication tables, cannot write a cogent thought, think they can save the world by recycling a soda can, think polar bears are drowning and other assorted rubbish. Rather than education, public schools have become government centers for political indoctrination.

    Recently a friend, retired from the Maryland public school system, who earned her masters degree opined that an EdD was “a bad degree.” Requirements are less than stiff. When I was returning to school for my PhD, a WVU faculty member said, “Why don’t you get an EdD–all you need is the title.” At UNC, Chapel Hill, I took additional rigorous coursework, did my own field work, ran my own analyses of data, did much of my own soils work, all of my library work and wrote a 300 page dissertation. During that time, a friend was on the committee of an EdD student who lacked the prerequisite coursework, had no clear picture of their “research” and hired everything out for others to do. His excuse? “Well, my degree is in administration and I am administering my work.” In spite of that, he got the degree–or is that “title?”

    I firmly support the “Teach for America.” The proposed “Science” Standards, which set junk science and consensus as the “standards” should be rejected. “Consensus” has no place in science. For thousands of years it has been known how to educated students. Only since the left got in charge of the education system via teachers’ unions and watered down “degrees” has it become a dismal failure. These folks who think themselves “certified,” are more accurately “certifiable.”

  • Shadow

    One of the problems with Colleges and Universities is that the Professors have no requirement to know the rudiments of educational methods other than what they picked up along the way. When I was paying the tuition for my children and they reported they couldn't understand the teacher's English as it was his second language, it was infuriating. A five-week course on educational methods may be too short, but if well documented, will provide continuing guidance. It certainly is an approach to solving the problem. Evidence from all over the country shows that more money doesn't solve the problem, witness the DC schools.

  • Shadow

    One of the problems with Colleges and Universities is that the Professors have no requirement to know the rudiments of educational methods other than what they picked up along the way. When I was paying the tuition for my children and they reported they couldn't understand the teacher's English as it was his second language, it was infuriating. A five-week course on educational methods may be too short, but if well documented, will provide continuing guidance. It certainly is an approach to solving the problem. Evidence from all over the country shows that more money doesn't solve the problem, witness the DC schools.

  • Aaron

    Sort of do spells the notion that teachers are in school at 7 o'clock in the morning doesn't it.

  • Aaron

    The reason Putnam County skills test so well is because Putnam County schools teach to the test. My oldest left Kanawha County after his third grade year and began his 4th grade school year in Putnam County.

    It took all of one semester to figure out that he was doing the same work in Putnam County at the beginning of his fourth grade year that he had already completed in Kanawha County during his third-grade year.

    Putnam County spends more time preparing and teaching to the test than on other aspects of the curriculum which is why they do so well when test time comes.

  • Sick of it all

    Amen Davewv.

    I have teachers in my family - all they do is complain. Complain about the workload, the money, etc., etc. One of my sister in laws started teaching about 5 years ago, is single, and makes like 37k a year, waits tables for extra cash in the summer, and still complains she has no money.

    Another family member spends her summers sweating it out at the pool all summer with her kids. How tough! Boo Hoo!! Of and the workload - what do they do in the "planning periods?" I had some great teachers growing up, but honestly most of the people I knew in college that became teachers did so because they couldn't do anything else and wanted their summers off!! I graduated from WVU in 1999 - my starting salary was 21K!! In a science field!!! At that time I would have loved to start at 34K a year....with summers off...and what out of work at 3pm?? Sick of hearing it! Do your job!

  • Overpaid Teachers

    Here are some cheese and crackers to go with all your whine.
    Teachers unions are the disgrace of our nation.

  • Aaron

    I could be wrong but I believe the guidelines to become a substitute teacher and that is to teach full-time in a specific subject are different.

  • Aaron

    How is a nearly 50% turnover rate of teachers who have went through a traditional education system not disturbing to you?

  • Shadow

    Texting while driving is not LOL! It is deadly.

  • Shadow

    Your number 3 is the correct answer to the problem.

  • Shadow

    Is someone making a problem out of a non-problem? Sounds like it.

  • TLC

    wvu999 needs to stop texting and driving. It's against the law and it's making her say really stupid things.

  • Notorious Troll

    ITT: We ignore that nobody WANTS to live or work in the poorest, most rural counties of WV as we continue to parrot the things our AFT reps tell us to.

  • Wirerowe

    i would also think that the income levles and education levles and therefore test scores would all be higher for Putnam county schools on the south of the Kanawha River than those on the north of the river.

  • mentor

    tom this state is a wash in sub teachers mon conty makes me want to puke its a paper trail if followed people would go to jail

  • wvu999

    I just reread my post and wow lol I need to go back to school
    I might get an award for the most grammatical errors in a few sentences... Texting and driving is very dangerous lol

  • Wowbagger


    If education degrees and certifications are so special why do we subject college students to teachers who do not hold these degrees the year after they graduate from high school?

    When I went to college and graduate school many in science ed couldn't handle the hard science and math courses, didn't need them to teach high school, and settled for degrees in education, although in all fairness some genuinely wanted to teach at the high school level.

    Years ago I taught science at the college level and could still have the job if I had chosen to continue with no education degree. This class was attended by freshmen seeking degrees in education and others. The department chairman really wanted me to continue, but at that time it didn't pay enough to justify additional income taxes, travel expense, and eating out on the way to class. Teaching one class cost me money and I couldn't schedule a second to make the effort worthwhile.

  • Wirerowe

    There is generally a high correlation between test scores and the economic levsels and education attainment of the parents. Putnam County ranks high for both of those categories. I have never seen any studies that show any correlation between test scores and the fun facts that you provide other than most likely levle of parent involvement which would likely be highly coo related with parent income levles and education attainment levels.

  • GregG

    So the answer to our educational issues is to place someone who has taken a "five-week training program" in the classroom? I'm speechless.

  • wvu999

    You tell me Dave
    Can I just pay my bills, raise my kids and live for just 10 of the 12 months?
    Is milk, eggs, gas and other items cheaper in WV?

    Can I tell the WVDE I'm not using those other two month to renew my certificate by taking college courses and make up snow days so I can get a second job?

  • Davewv

    Is teacher pay that bad given?
    1. Salary is for 10 months work not 12.
    2. Cost of living much lower in WV than surrounding states.

  • Davewv

    Is teacher pay re

  • wvu999

    Forgot to mention
    The highest test scores in the state year in and year out is Putnam County.
    Fun facts about Putnam County
    1. Teachers in Putnam County make the most in the state.
    2. Putnam County refuses to even let substitutes not be fully certified teachers. They are the only County in the state that does this.
    3. Putnam County probably has the most involved parents in the state with lower poverty.
    4. Putnam County is in the top 3 in the state in Union membership


  • wvu999

    Teach for America is NOT what West Virginia needs. We have two programs now that need to be utilized. First, is the teacher in residence program passed by the WV legislature a couple years ago. Teachers who are in the student teaching part of their degree can be the teacher of record and earn a salary in fields that we cannot find certified teachers. They do not receive 100% of the salary. The part they don't earn is used for mentorship in the school. Not every WV college is using the program, but should.
    Second is fully funding transition to teaching. This is a three year program that is intensive enough to ensure teacher and student success. One good part of transition to teaching is after your first year you're considered qualified and therefore cannot be bumped easily out of your position.
    Why would you want a fly by night warm body from out of state that is never going to stay here teaching our most valuable resource Hoppy? Look at the salaries for every executive in TFA and tell me they are in it to help places like WV.
    Speaking of salaries, if WV teachers weren't paid 49th in the country then you might find some people who want to be teachers here. It took me 4 years for my salary to finally equal my student loan, and I didn't go to an expensive school. I went to WVU.
    Steve Roberts was on Decesion Makers a couple weeks ago and proves exactly why he and the chamber need to stay out of education. He said his lawyer friend wants to teach social studies but it's too time consuming, expensive and too much work to get a social studies degree to go back. Well Steve, if you knew ANYTHING about education then you would know that there isn't a shortage of social studies teachers anywhere in this state. Your example is a way to keep good certified real teachers out of the profession while the chamber takes care of their friends.
    Let's let people who know a thing or two about education fix education while those who don't eat $100,000 breakfast buffets.
    Let's start a Doctors for America and see how many of you attend those hospitals.

  • medmanw

    Don't you think this sounds a lot like something done for third world countries? And, maybe that is were we are in trying to find answers to the problems in some areas of WV. Anyone who thinks we can solve the education problem by focusing on the teachers simply does not understand the underlying problems that begin in the family environment of these children.

  • Rick

    Insanity is defined as doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results. This apples quite nicely to both sides of this debate.

  • The bookman

    Substitutes are in short supply, and are not generally in search of a full time position. Many are retired teachers who help bridge the gaps, and some simply prefer the substitute arrangement to the paperwork and bureaucracy of a full time position.

  • Tom wv

    Is there really a teacher shortage? If you have 316 teachers out and 316 sub teachers.....Then hire the subs to full time. A question to ask is how many substitute teachers are available in the state?

  • a concerned educator


    I recently read in the Education Week journal that only 27.8% of teachers from TFA are still on the job in five years, compared to over 50% of teachers who went through traditional teacher education programs. Do we really want that much turn over in our schools?

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, this legislative session has NOT been a good one for the two teacher's unions. First, our lawmakers tackled the subject of Charter Schools and then, the possible elimination of one of the most 'sacred cows' of the WVEA and WVFT, Common Core.

    And NOW, Teachers For America. Three things the teacher's unions do NOT like and a fourth they're not seeing, a pay raise. If all this isn't enough to reenergize WV teachers back to 100% blind loyalty for the Democratic Party, nothing will.

    The big question that remains unanswered for now is this: will all of these drastic changes actually improve education for our young people in this state? Will Charter Schools help students learn better? Will the elimination or reconfiguration of Common Core produce smarter, better prepared school children? Will Teachers for America actually be a good way to attempt to fill the many teachers positions in this state now being filled by long term substitutes? And how much longer with the WVEA and WVFT tolerate not receiving a substantial pay raise for their members before taking more, drastic action?

    I don't know, I think the GOP could be playing with fire trying to make these many changes so swiftly. I wouldn't be surprised if Governor Tomblin goes 'wild' with his veto stamp on these in the near future.

  • AnxiousEER97

    Here's an idea:

    Increase teacher pay - substantially.
    Abolish the seniority systems.
    Removal teachers from the grievance system.
    The money saved from having to defend meritless grievances might actually offset the increase in pay.