DOCUMENTS: Joe Manchin Kicks of Special Session on Education Reform in West Virginia

By westvirginia on May 13, 2010
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Now that the primary elections are over, politicians are getting back to legislating. Members of the West Virginia Legislature are back in Charleston, WV, today at 12 p.m. to answer the call for special session by Gov. Joe Manchin.

The primary goal is passing legislation that will help the state qualify for the second round of funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top (RTTT) program. Some of these new initiatives include:

  • Charter schools, dubbed “Charter Innovation Zone 2.0 Schools.”
  • Pay raises for teachers, especially those working in low-income areas.
  • New hiring criteria for teachers
  • Adopting a performance-based model for evaluating teachers.

Of course, even if the House of Delegates and the State Senate agree on the proposals from the West Virginia Board of Education and Manchin, that doesn’t mean the state will get a penny from RTTT. Both the American Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia Education Association seem hostile to the above proposals. According to the Reason Foundation, teacher union support played a role in how the Obama Administration picked the winners for the first round of RTTT funding:

“…The Obama Administration announced Delaware and Tennessee as the two winners of round one of the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) competitive education grant program. The Obama Administration should be commended for picking only two states. Limiting the number of winners shows the administration is serious and will not water down the funding over multiple applicants. However, the Obama Administration picked the wrong two states. Louisiana and Florida were rated as favorites to win the first round of Race to the Top based on the strongest applications. Yet, Louisiana and Florida did not have strong union support for the state’s RTTT proposals. Delaware and Tennessee had solid enough proposals and they also had support from unions and other education stakeholders.”

Read More – Reason Foundation – Unions Versus School Reform: Race to the Top Edition

West Virginia Watchdog will be on hand to chronicle the debate with print stories, video, and audio. We’re all about raw data here and we’ll give it to you as raw as we can so you have all the facts. You can read the rest of Manchin’s special session agenda here. Below you can see what changes need to be made to existing law to get West Virginia eligible for RTTT funding:

Background information on West Virginia’s Education System

A comparison of current law and proposed revision to West Virginia Board of Education proposed

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Posted under Education, Featured, Governor, House of Delegates, Legislation, Legislature, News, Regulations, State Senate, Unions.
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