Linger said the main issues included a lack of a sense of urgency in the department to address some concerns that have been outlined. When discussing the concerns, the board was often met with excuses and not actions, he said.
In addition, the board had been told that things couldn't change instead of being offered solutions, Linger said. When regular practices were challenged, board members often found people being defensive, he said.
In response to Linger's reasoning, shouts of "not good enough" came from people attending Thursday's meeting.
Some of Linger's concerns were also pointed out in Marple's evaluation, but the positive results outweighed the "evidence of concerns."
The evaluation noted that while West Virginia saw some gains on the NAEP and WESTEST, the overall percentage of students who score proficient "needs significant improvement." It also noted a lack of growth in students' knowledge of health information and the recent Quality Counts Report.
The evaluation also highlights "significant obstacles" for the board to overcome. Obstacles include increasing the quality of instruction, low teacher salaries that provide little incentive for attracting quality candidates, West Virginia's high rates of diabetes and teen pregnancy and getting more students to go to college.
Linger recently went before a legislative committee to present a plan for the board's direction in addressing these issues, along with the recommendations that came out of the governor's statewide education efficiency audit.
Linger identified the board's "game changers," which include increasing local district control, emphasizing learning with technology and making major changes to "professional development," which is curriculum training for teachers and staff.
But education leaders, including current and former state board members, say many of those "game changers" were introduced by Marple before she was abruptly terminated.
Alterations to state code to allow change, such as implementation of year-round schools and changes to Department of Education staffing levels, was at the top of Linger's priority list when he presented the board's plan to the Legislature recently.
In the past year, under Marple's leadership, the board eliminated 60 policies and had begun to downsize the number of department positions by keeping 30 positions vacant.
"What I find very interesting is that they indicate going in a new direction, but this was the direction Jorea was going," said Lowell Johnson, whose term on the board expired last month before Marple was fired. "Year-round schools, changes to professional development, that came from Jorea. So unless there's something there that the other members of the board know that I don't, then I don't get it."
Haden said Marple was already working on many of the recommendations that the audit suggests to help turn around low-performing schools.
"Truthfully, Dr. Marple introduced a lot of those things to us. I had never heard the term, 'balanced calendar' before she brought it to us. She was superintendent when the year-round school was put in place in Kanawha County, and it's the only place where it's really been sustainable. She's been a great advocate for that," Haden said.
West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee has been vocal about his displeasure with Marple's ousting, claiming the reasons were merely political.
Lee said Marple's work in one year has been "astounding," pointing to her work on a new teacher evaluation system, nutrition programs and improving the juvenile education system.
"She went out in the schools and listened to teachers, the people who teach students each and every day and have to abide by the policies that are handed down. And after listening to those teachers, she made many changes," he said. "She allowed each classroom to reach its highest potential instead of abiding by a cookie-cutter mold. What changed from then to now?"
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.