West Virginia teachers also argue that the audit consultants didn't interview a sufficient number of school staff members in county school systems.
The barrage of criticism prompted state Senate Education Committee Chairman Robert Plymale to ask Lee: "Is there any portion of the audit you agree with?"
Lee said teachers support proposals to give county school boards more local control. They also like audit recommendations to increase scholarships and loan forgiveness programs used to recruit new teachers, according to the report.
"It seems all the major things mentioned in the audit, all those things it said to do, you're against," said House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.
Lee acknowledged that WVEA members oppose many audit recommendations, but he said that doesn't mean his colleagues are against changing West Virginia's education system.
During the forums, teachers were asked how they would improve student achievement. Many suggested reducing the number of standardized tests that the state requires students to take. Teachers also recommended reducing class sizes and increasing parent involvement at schools, the WVEA report said.
"If we're serious about improving education, let's not play around the edges," Lee said. "We know we need to improve in many areas, but there are many areas where we're doing an excellent job. To get the best and brightest in the classroom, it's going to cost us."
Also Tuesday, Mercer County school board President Greg Prudich told state lawmakers that the education audit puts too much emphasis on saving money and not enough on "student outcomes" and achievement.
But Prudich agreed with the audit's finding that the state Department of Education dictates too many policies and procedures to county school boards. He said local school boards face "regulation strangulation."
"Over the past decades, counties have been progressively stripped of authority to manage their local schools by mandates from the state department and through legislation," said Prudich, who also heads the West Virginia School Board Association. "Our association contends the ultimate goal is to vest more power and authority for educational decision-making at the county level, creating precisely the environment called for in the audit."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.