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West Virginia House passes textbook flexibility bill


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Delegate Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed to the state Senate Monday a bill advertised as providing county boards of education more flexibility in choosing print and electronic textbooks and other instructional materials.

The 72 delegates who voted for House Bill 3089 were mostly Republicans plus some Democrats, while all 24 delegates who voted against it were Democrats. Four delegates — Saira Blair, R-Berkeley; Mark Dean, R-Mingo; Chuck Romine, R-Cabell; and Erikka Storch, R-Ohio — didn’t vote.

Delegate Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, continued Monday expressing concerns about counties using the bill to deny well-established science like the theory of evolution.

“By having it open to the [county] school boards to select, we may have a pattern of teaching across the state that’s not uniform, that’s very different and may be contradictory and subject to a political process with the three members of the board being elected,” Rowe said.

Three members represents a majority on a county school board. The governor appoints the members of the state Board of Education, and the Senate votes on whether to confirm them. HB 3089, like previous iterations of the legislation that the House passed but the Senate never took up in 2017 and 2016, would add a new section to state law and says the “purpose of this section is to provide for a transition to the county board level of the process for review and adoption of instructional resources required to be used in the schools under the jurisdiction of the county board.”

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