CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Regardless of economic, social, or cultural background, public education is the means by which all West Virginia children can achieve their dreams. High-quality public education is a moral imperative, a fundamental civil right, and an economic necessity for the future of West Virginia.
It's time for parents, educators, and community members to come together and reclaim the promise of public education. It is our collective responsibility to give each child in West Virginia an opportunity to succeed. To fulfill this responsibility, we need a system of great neighborhood schools where educators have the resources to meet the needs of all our children.
However, economic and social factors put pressure on our children, making it difficult for them to achieve success within the classroom. Consider the following facts:
• Nearly half of our children in public schools live in poverty.
• Children living in poverty come to school with one-fourth the vocabulary of children from wealthier families.
• Three out of every five teachers report they have children who regularly come to school hungry.
• Nationally, there are more homeless families than any time since the Great Depression.
Ignoring these facts, many education "experts" fixate on standardized testing with penalties instead of providing support for students, families and educators. This approach has clearly not improved public education.