State school reform
by CHRIS STRATTON, Staff Writer
After a decade in which it became apparent federal school reform efforts were leaving millions of children behind, it appears Washington has given up and dumped the problem back on the states, where it belonged in the first place.
President Barack Obama announced that, in effect, the No Child Left Behind school reform law is being scrapped. States will be allowed to ask for waivers from NCLB if they meet minimal requirements, he said.
Most states are expected to seek waivers from NCLB. West Virginia should do so.
Once out from under the yoke that NCLB has become, our states need to launch true education improvement campaigns then be held accountable for results. ...
Here in West Virginia, some political courage and initiative have been demonstrated by the state Board of Education. It has taken over and operated several school districts where local leadership seemed lacking.
But much more needs to be done. ...
Public schools in West Virginia continue to lag behind what has, appropriately, become an international standard for education quality. It no longer is enough for us to brag about how much better our schools are than those in, say, California. We need to be matching results achieved in places such as Finland and Japan, too.
NCLB was enacted for a very good reason, however. It was that in too many states, politicians simply were not doing their jobs in reforming education. At least the federal law forced some accountability in that regard.
Now it is up to those of us in West Virginia to insist on better schools and frankly, that is a responsibility that sometimes has been shirked in the past. We no longer can afford to do that. Within a few months, education officials should be required by the public to produce realistic, honest, demanding school reform strategies, and then implement them.
Distributed by The Associated Press
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