Public Schools Harmed
In his op-ed circulated around the state of West Virginia, Senator Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said West Virginians can take pride that the Legislature has devoted itself to improving our public education system. He says there is no doubt that our system is in desperate need of repair.
The problem is that for many years now the state legislators, who know little or nothing about what the teachers in our state face on a daily basis, are coming up with more and more regulations, red tape and endless testing requirements. The teachers today spend more time on non-instructional nonsense required by politicians in Charleston than actually having time to teach their children.
Most of the legislators making up all these requirements have never stood in front of a class of 25 or more youngsters and tried to not only teach them subject material, but motivate them, comfort them, discipline them (when they need it) and provide them with guidance to help them be better citizens. The task our teachers face is daunting and very challenging trying to teach such a diverse student population and only made more difficult by so much legislative oversight.
Carmichael did not include educators or their unions to find out what would help improve education in West Virginia. His main agenda was ramming charter schools through the legislature and the real question should be why?
Carmichael said in his article that the Legislature has taken great care to ensure any public charter schools in West Virginia are tuition-free and open to all students. So how are they funded? With taxpayer dollars! Many of the low-income families will not be able to afford many of the expenses associated with a private education. Tuition is only one part of the equation. So, a large number of families and their children are eliminated from attending these charter schools and Carmichael gets what he wanted, private schools for the wealthy, subsidized by taxpayer dollars.
The money to run these charter schools will mean less money for the already underfunded public schools making it even more difficult for those kids to get a good education. That is discrimination, plain and simple.
The Student Success Act is not the beginning of a revitalization in our public schools as Carmichael contends. It is the death knoll of public education in our state.