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Editorial: Getting Input On Education

From The Intelligencer of Wheeling: 

Obviously, the national Common Core curriculum seemed like a good idea to many leaders in West Virginia’s public education establishment. Just a couple of years ago, it seemed as if the plan was set in stone for our state.

Someone forgot to check with the people of our state, however. Common Core proved to be wildly unpopular, to the point that state legislators ordered it be abandoned and a better strategy be put in place.

State Board of Education and Department of Education officials are in the process of determining precisely what that might be. A series of three public meetings is planned to discuss a state-level replacement for the federal No Child Left Behind mandate.

NCLB already has been abandoned by the federal government. But how Washington will proceed with education requirements remains up in the air.

State policy on both curriculum and standardized testing needs to be formulated and put in place as soon as possible — but without the mistakes made during the past few years.

To that end, getting public input is not just important, it is critical. As state school Superintendent Steve Paine put it, “It is imperative that our … state plan is reflective of input from all stakeholder groups.”

So, if you are a Northern Panhandle resident, you will have the opportunity to make your opinions known at one of three public meetings scheduled by the Department of Education.

The nearest one is scheduled for Monday at Lewis County High School in Weston. Others are planned later in the summer at Belle and Martinsburg.

From virtually anywhere in our area, getting to Weston requires a drive of at least two hours. Expecting people to make that trip is unrealistic.

Just three public meetings on one of the most important issues facing our state is not adequate. Surely Paine and his staff can find a way to make it more convenient for more West Virginians to participate in the process.

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