MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education continued its listening tour on Wednesday with a public forum in Morgantown.

The event, held at the Monongalia Technical Education, focused on such topics as curriculum, college and career readiness, and educator recruitment.

Attendees were divided into breakout sessions on the subject matters.

West Virginia Board of Education President David Perry said he is also open to suggestions on reducing absences.

“We’ve tried too long to punish our way out of the problem,” he said. “We need to look at ways to incentivize and make things more interesting for the students.”

Teachers and administrators stressed family engagement, saying parents must be involved in making sure their children are active in class and prepared for school.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said the state must address the “revolving door” of teachers leaving for other professions and states.

“It’s a statewide problem we have to figure that out. Not only competitive wages but the respect that needs to be given to the profession,” he said.

Kimberly Bonnet, state director for the National Education Association, said college students are not interested in entering teaching, making recruitment a challenge.

“There’s not the support,” she said. “There never has been great pay, but we used to have good benefits, all of those things are going down. With the drug epidemic, we have a lot of burden on teachers to deal with those students.”

The board discouraged discussions on charter schools and teacher salaries.

The next listening tour event will be held Oct. 23 at Greenbrier West High School in Charmco.

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