West Virginia lawmakers seek more education standard changes


AP Exchange

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Legislative leaders want the West Virginia Board of Education to consider additional changes to the state’s K-12 math and English language arts standards.

House Education Committee chairwoman Amanda Pasdon, R-Monongalia said she and Senate Education Committee chairman Dave Sypolt, R-Preston, planned to meet on Monday with Board of Education president Mike Green to suggest additional changes. She declined to provide details until after the meeting.

The state Department of Education recommended in November that the state drop educational standards based on Common Core. The department recommended new standards that include handwriting instruction in grades K-4, and the expectation for students to learn multiplication tables by the end of grade 3.

These proposed changes came after months of community feedback and findings from West Virginia University sought by the department.

Republican legislative leaders have said repealing Common Core would be a top priority during the 2016 regular session.

House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, said he plans to attend Monday’s meeting, along with Senate President Bill Cole or a representative of Cole’s office. Armstead said a comparison by legislative staff found that changes between the current standards and the proposed new standards aren’t “substantial.”

Cole, a Mercer County Republican running for governor, has campaigned on the issue.

“Senate President Cole will look at the changes, and if they are Common Core by another name, he will move to repeal them and replace them with West Virginia standards that work for West Virginia, with a renewed focus on fundamentals like reading by the third grade and improving student achievement in math,” Senate spokesman Jacques Bland told the newspaper in an email.

Joanna Burt-Kinderman, a district math coach in Pocahontas County, said standards across the country are similar, regardless of what they area called.

“More standards review, designing new assessments will not change the fact that WV needs to compete in a nationally and globally connected economy. They will simply take time and money from the work that we really need to be doing, distracting us from the focus we need to maintain,” she told the newspaper in an email.

The Board of Education is expected to vote on approving the proposed new standards on Thursday.

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