West Virginia Public Broadcasting recently reported on the current debate in the West Virginia legislature about high, comparable standards. Their headline might lead you to believe that those high standards or anything similar are already gone – or are on their way out the door.
But West Virginia has already has already amended their standards and decided to build upon them to give their students the best chance of success. Like many other states, West Virginia chose not to walk away from these standards, but customize them to their needs.
According to the article, Senate Education Committee Chair Kenny Mann recognized, “that the standards the state currently has in place are not Common Core and do not need to be changed through legislation.”
If the current legislation on the table were to pass, the lawmakers would be opting to walk away from the West Virginia College- and Career- Readiness Standards. These would be replaced with California math standards from almost two decades ago, and English language arts standards that Massachusetts implemented in 2001. Neither state is currently using these standards. The move seems somewhat suspect since West Virginia wouldn’t be repealing Common Core as much as they would be using outdated standards from far more liberal states.
Fortunately, Mann recognizes the costs involved if West Virginia were to change course at this point acknowledging, “If [this bill] would go into play, our teachers would have a month or less to develop these standards and start teaching them by August. There is no way. There’s no way that could happen.”
As West Virginia considers this legislation we recommend staying the course as the best plan forward. When state legislators in the past have looked closely at the high standards in place, they recognize the standards are working and in most cases few, if only minor, changes are made.
Decisions impacting the future of education in West Virginia shouldn’t be made based on politics. The stakes are too great for our students, parents, and educators.