State of the States
State of the States: West Virginia
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D)
Date of Speech: Jan. 8
Education was in the spotlight throughout Gov. Tomblin's address, as he called for an A-through-F grading system for the state's schools, committed to a 2 percent pay increase for teachers, and proposed several avenues to encourage more students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
In asking the state board to implement school grading, Gov. Tomblin credited such a system with being easy to understand and "a proven success" in 16 other states. "I believe it will engage communities with their schools and encourage everyone to strive for excellence," he said.
In addition to the pay raise for teachers and school service personnel, Gov. Tomblin said he will propose legislation to make certain that students are instructed by qualified teachers. This decision was based on his review of the state board's recommendations about his earlier proposal to allow hiring more teachers without traditional teaching backgrounds, especially for hard-to-fill positions.
The governor also announced plans to reconstitute the state's STEM commission to "make the most of federal STEM initiatives and to expand math and science education beyond the classroom."
He also included an unspecified amount of funding in the budget to locate math and English teachers in career centers, to "make it easier for students to pursue a technical education without having to shuffle between career centers and high schools." Gov. Tomblin proposed $500,000 in additional funding to expand the Advance Careers Program, which now funds five career and technical education sites implementing career courses, with plans to have 32 sites by 2016.
Watch the Full Address
Vol. 33, Issue 17, Page 16Published in Print: January 15, 2014, as West Virginia