Senate’s education bill would set back learning

February 10, 2019

West Virginia’s education bill is a nightmare. In fact, it’s more of a nightmare than West Virginia education.

Let’s face it. Republicans in the West Virginia Legislature have declared war on the state’s teachers because they struck last year for a pay raise.

The war is outlined in a 100-plus page unintelligible bill meant to put teachers in their place with 60 major changes in West Virginia education.

West Virginia education needs changes, major changes, but wacky politicians out to destroy the state teaching profession are not saviors.

I doubt there is a single individual in the state who understands the education bill that sailed through the West Virginia Senate, most likely because the Republican leadership told the GOP underlings “Don’t worry about reading the bill. Just vote for it.”

That’s the way it works, isn’t it?

Now it’s in the House of Delegates, where it appears it’s going to slow down, thank goodness.

The House Education Committee is currently poring over it and is expected to hold public hearings this upcoming week. After the Education Committee looks at it, it will go to the House Finance Committee.

It looks like the bill will never become law, thank goodness. Gove.Jim Justice says he will veto the bill if it comes to his desk, meaning the Legislature will have to come up with lots more votes to override his veto.

In making his intentions known, Justice couldn’t pronounce “omnibus” correctly. It is pronounced “Ahhhm knee bus,” Jim, with an accent on “ahhhm.”

Yes, the education bill is an “omnibus” bill as well as an “ominous” bill.

One of the most provocative sections of the bill allows creation of charter schools in the state. Sources say that non-West Virginians (probably Republicans) drafted that part of the bill.

Not one in a thousand West Virginians knows what a charter school is, much less knows what the bill says about creation of West Virginia charter schools.

Charter schools work in some states, but in others, charter schools are educational disasters. It’s clear that the state needs to debate the positives and negatives of charter schools in legislation devoted specifically to the subject.

The bill offers teachers another 5 percent pay raise. But there is every indication the teachers will reject the raise if they must accept the other items in the bill.

The GOP politicians apparently believe teachers will sell their souls for a 5 percent raise. They won’t, and there’s every indication they will strike again if the bill gets close to passage.

West Virginia’s education system is a catastrophe getting worse daily. There are not enough teachers to teach math and the other subjects that will prepare students for 21st Century jobs. Students, particularly in the poor rural counties, don’t have a chance because of the miserable conditions in their schools.

But the huge “ominous” bill that was spawned by Republicans bent on punishing teachers instead of encouraging them will only set education back a century if it is passed.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

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