The new vice-chairman of the House of Delegates Education Committee believes “there’s a mood for reform” in education in West Virginia.
Del. Josh Stowers, D-Lincoln, was named to the new position Monday by House of Delegates Speaker Rick Thompson. Stowers, a Kanawha County school administrator, left the powerful House Finance Committee to take the job.
“I’m very encouraged that the governor is going to propose some positive reforms and I hope we can enact them,” Del. Stowers said.
It’s anticipated Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will make a number of proposed education reforms suggested by the education efficiency audit that came out of his office.
“I want to give the governor the opportunity, since it was his efficiency audit, a chance to put his proposals out there,” Stowers said. “At that point I think we can really start to get down to work.”
Stowers says the state does a great job when it comes to investing tax dollars in education but that investment isn’t producing what it needs to produce.
“Our results, with regard to student achievement, aren’t paying the dividends that our investments should be,” Stowers said. “We have fantastic standards. We are well above average in standards and accountability. We’re just not reaching the mark in student achievement and at the end of the day that’s just what we have to see.”
Stowers believes the public trust needs to be restored in the legislative process. He says passing real education reform can boost that confidence.
“Hopefully it’s a watershed moment for education reform in the state of West Virginia,” he said.
The 60-day regular session is set to start Feb. 13.