Opinion

WV school superintendent using scare tactics

An editorial from the Parkerburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Michael Martirano is issuing a pre-emptive strike with dire predictions about what might happen if lawmakers are forced to make further budget cuts to the Department of Education next year. And why not? All those doom-and-gloom predictions when agencies were asked how cuts might affect them certainly worked last time.

But Martirano has an ace up his sleeve. He knows West Virginians would do just about anything to make sure our kids are getting the best we have to offer, especially when it comes to education.

So he has begun already to throw around words like “fatalistic” when asked how more budget cuts might affect Mountain State schools.

“We can’t take any more cuts without having some sort of fatalistic impacts,” Martirano said, in an interview with another media outlet.

While it is not clear what he meant – the effects of cuts would be predetermined by fate? – his next line was designed to burn a little deeper:

“At a time when there’s great economic stress,” he said, “great leaders never cut education, because education is the road forward during those rough economic times.”

It is true. Leaders appreciate the value of a good education. That has nothing to do with whether there is room to cut the many layers of administration, and assistant administration, in the county and state educational bureaucracy. There is, and it is possible that might improve the education our children receive.

Instead of asking his department to do a better job with less, as so many in the private sector are asked to do every day, Martirano is trying to scare legislators into sticking with the status quo. The men and women in the Legislature should not fall for it.

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