CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, today said lawmakers and education officials are nearing consensus on a path forward with education reform that will empower local communities and increase flexibility in the state’s education system.
“In recent weeks, delegates have been gathering input from parents, administrators, teachers, service personnel and students in our districts to hear their ideas for improving our school system,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “We’ve also been discussing ideas with our counterparts at the state Board of Education about how we can work together to improve our education system. I believe we are approaching a consensus around a plan that would give local school boards more flexibility and autonomy over their local systems, while removing much the cumbersome legislative mandates that have shackled the hands of our professional educators.”
Speaker Hanshaw said this approach would maintain the Legislature’s responsibility to appropriately fund the state’s education system, but give county school boards – under the oversight of the state Board of Education – more control over how to best implement the education system in their communities.
“We know the one-size-fits-all approach of regulating education from Charleston has not been working for our local school systems,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “The needs of Mingo County are much different than those in Monongalia County. Eastern Panhandle schools face different challenges than systems in our more rural counties. We agree that we need to give local schools and boards of education more flexibility to manage their education systems in a way that best meets the needs of the local community.”
Speaker Hanshaw said he and other education leaders are working with all involved parties to build consensus around this approach.
“Our House GOP caucus has already discussed this plan, and I have met with Gov. Justice, Senate leaders, and members of the state Board of Education to build support for this path forward,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “In the coming days, I also plan to meet with my colleagues across the aisle to build bipartisan support for this plan. It is my hope that we will be able to come together and champion this approach in bipartisan fashion.”
Speaker Hanshaw said officials hope to have a press conference Wednesday afternoon to unveil further specifics of this plan.