Over the past weeks and months, I have heard a lot of talk about the "Education Efficiency Audit of West Virginia's Primary and Secondary Education System." It is important for the community to know that the West Virginia Board of Education, together with the Department of Education, is working diligently to analyze the audit.
An official response to the massive audit will take time and careful consideration due to the numerous recommendations. The response will identify major actions and priorities for moving forward public education in West Virginia to meet the increasing needs of our students. These major actions will require the full engagement of our community, including the Governor, Legislature, parents, students, teachers and all West Virginians.
Today I want to stress that the work has begun and has been in progress for some time to positively affect student performance. With the leadership of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the Legislature and the state Board of Education, extensive improvements have been completed over the past several years that directly supports many of the findings and recommendations in the audit. The work was intended to help the state produce the best possible outcomes for its students and to receive the highest return on the educational dollars it spends.
The decline of the economic and social structures of our community is negatively affecting the children of West Virginia. Solutions to these issues are complex and require the full attention of the entire community. Still, data show we are making progress. Through the difficulties, we as a state must remain focused on achieving West Virginia Board of Education goals of high expectations for:
While a formal comprehensive response to the audit is forthcoming, we want to provide evidence to the great citizens of West Virginia who support our public schools that real progress that aligns to the audit recommendations is being made in our counties, in our schools and, most importantly, in our classrooms.
Consider our focus on improving student achievement. We now have: