Graduation rate up, student enrollment down in West Virginia public schools

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia continues to lose students from its public schools.

On Thursday, Dr. Steve Paine, the state superintendent, told members of the state Board of Education student enrollment was down for the year by 4,122 students statewide adding to a total decline in the past three years of 8,980 students.

Dr. Steve Paine

Since 2014, Paine noted, thousands of students have entered homeschooling.

“I have respect for people who want to homeschool their kids and do it the right way, but most of our attendance officers and superintendents are telling us that a lot of these folks are bailing out because we’re putting a lot of pressure on them to go to school and behave.”

Paine said more accountability was needed for those opting for the homeschool route.

“I would really like to see us address that through state Board policy and, perhaps, legislative actions as well,” he said.

His brief presentation Thursday at the state BOE meeting started with some good news.

There was applause as Paine announced West Virginia’s high school graduation rate was at 91.25 percent, an all-time high.

“We’ll celebrate that,” said Dave Perry, BOE president.

Those graduating students, Paine added, were leaving school better prepared for higher education.

“We don’t have the final figure from the Higher Education Policy Commission, but I can tell you that the three-year trend is those remediation rates have been reducing.”

After meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, the next meeting for the state Board of Education was scheduled for Dec. 11 in Charleston.

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