The WV teacher walkout will stretch into a third day come Monday – and that is most unfortunate. It leaves us wondering why political leaders have kicked this can down the proverbial road for so long. It’s not as if an underfunded health insurance agency and low teacher pay suddenly popped up on everyone’s radar just this past week – no matter what some Republican legislators would have you believe.
Don’t be misled. The education of some 277,000 public school students in West Virginia is not being adversely affected by the teacher walkout. Rather, classroom instruction has been put on pause. Sooner or later, the teachers will drop their protest signs, pick up their lesson plans and go back to the work that they do best. The school year will be extended and courses of study will be completed.
Let us be clear: This particular political lesson is being brought to you by a governor who has lost his big-idea mojo and a Legislature that does not appropriately value or understand the social and economic benefits of a quality education. Either that or they are just completely dismissive of a progressive idea that would, indeed, better position the state strategically via an investment in the people they were elected to serve.
The walkout is not just about the teachers. It’s about the state’s educational system, from pre-school to post-graduate studies.
Coming into this year, we hoped the Legislature would rally to put an emphasis on education. Statistics and rankings of just how far the state lags national norms in educational outcomes – to say nothing of teacher pay – should have given all politicians the evidence and reason to move forward with confidence and conviction.
How many times have we been reminded that the condition of “human capital” in the Mountain State is a deterrent to attracting and growing business? Well, education is a critical piece of that workforce equation. …
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