CHARLESTON, W.Va. — To help facilitate a deeper understanding into the outcomes of West Virginia’s public education system, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce has compiled a detailed report.
The chamber has recently released the results of “The State of Public Education in West Virginia” report that is based on factual information from reputable sources such as the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP), U.S. News & World Report, and ACT and SAT results.
Brian Dayton of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce appeared recently on MetroNews “Talkline” to discuss the results and ultimately said the consensus of the report is that the state has to find a way to improve education outcome.
“Our children deserve no less in this state,” he said. “To be frank, if we want to improve economic development, if we want to attract jobs and make it so our children can find a job and stay here in the state we love, this is the recipe.
“We have to improve education outcomes in the state of West Virginia.”
Abstract results of the findings include West Virginia ranks 49th in the country in SAT scores and NAEP scores such as 46th in 8th-grade math, 45th in 8th-grade reading, 39th in 4th-grade math, and 36th in 4th-grade reading.
Dayton said on “Talkline” that he took some good and bad from the report, with the good being West Virginia’s best high school jumped up nearly 1,000 spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s national rankings.
In 2018, Morgantown High School ranked 1,517th in the country while this year George Washington High School is ranked 585th.
Dayton said the bad included 88-percent of high schools in the state do not meet the state’s standard for math. Similar numbers in the report show that 90-percent of state high schools do not meet or only partially meet the state’s standards for reading.
Another notable figure is the National Education Association said that the 55 counties in the state spent roughly $3.1 billion on education in 2018 which is equal to over $12,600 per student in one year.
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Dayton added that the analysis of spending and results at both a state and county level show just how regulated public education is, which he said needs to go more into the teacher’s hands.
“They know their students better anyone at the district or state level,” he said. “We tie their hands with so many regulations. I am hopeful that something that we can look at, at the state level, is how get rid of a lot of those regulations that are unnecessary and push control down to the local level.
“Let the people closest to the students, who understand them and know their needs the best, make the decisions.”
Also included in the report is a separate survey conducted by members in the Chamber of Commerce.
Dayton noted that members employ over half of West Virginia’s workforce and those results ahead of the special session on education stand firm to what they have always backed.
60-percent of respondents said yes to charter schools while over half said yes to educational savings accounts, which were a couple of the most talked about provisions in Senate Bill 451 during the regular session.
“We supported Senate Bill 451 which contained both of those provisions,” Dayton said. “When it comes to charter schools we have long been proponents. There was an effort in 2015 and I would like to point out there were efforts before control of the legislature flipped.”