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WV Teachers Hailing More State, Less Fed Control

Educator groups are hopeful about how a new federal education law will play out with students and teachers in West Virginia. Credit: West Virginia Department of Education
Educator groups are hopeful about how a new federal education law will play out with students and teachers in West Virginia. Credit: West Virginia Department of Education
December 10, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Teacher groups in West Virginia and across the country say the pending law replacing No Child Left Behind will mean more state control of public education.

President Barack Obama says he’ll sign the new Every Student Succeeds Act, passed by Congress.

Mary Kusler, director of government relations with the National Education Association, says one big change under the new law will mean the federal government won't force states to accept the Common Core standards.

"Every state will be required to adopt a set of college and career-ready standards,” she points out. “It is very clear that the federal government may not dictate, coerce or require the adoption of the Common Core state standards, so it truly is up to the states."

Many in West Virginia have chafed under what they regard as heavy-handed federal pressure behind Common Core.

Some legislators have pushed to outlaw it here, and state education officials have moved to replace it with a different set of standards.

Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers in West Virginia, says the state has had to repeatedly ask for waivers under No Child Left Behind.

She says Every Student Succeeds could well mean the state will have an opportunity to trust teachers more, a direction it's tried to move toward for years.

"Our evaluation system actually empowers teachers to set their student learning goals based on multiple measures, as opposed to one test,” she states. “So this is going to be a huge opportunity for West Virginia."

Campbell says depending on what state education officials do, West Virginia should end up with standards that move towards holding schools, teachers and students accountable without rigidly focusing on teaching to a set of tests.


Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV