CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I'm here on behalf of my son and daughter who are public school students in West Virginia. I am here to speak in support of Dr. Jorea Marple and the work she has done for West Virginia's children. I was shocked when I heard that the board had voted to terminate her employment, and as the event unfolded, I was disgusted to learn the specifics of how the vote happened.
I'm here to demand a specific reason for the termination; to ask for concrete details about the "new direction" in which the board intends to steer the WV school system; and learn more about why the board was prepared to use a radically different selection process in the hiring of Jorea Marple's replacement than it did when former Superintendent Paine retired. Finally, I'm here to ask Priscilla Haden and Jenny Phillips to stay on the board. Clearly, their presence is needed now more than ever.
In regard to Jorea Marple's performance:
"Dr. Marple approaches all of her work with an unwavering commitment to students and educators. She is an outstanding visionary and worked diligently regarding teacher quality, school nutrition, pre-k education and organizational leadership."
I'd like to take credit for such a glowing commendation, but those are not my words; they're yours, Mr. Linger. You used those words to describe Dr. Marple fewer than four months ago, at about the same time that the board awarded her with a $2,000 per year salary increase.
So, why the change of heart? And, when I ask why, I'm not asking rhetorically. The public deserves to know specifically what led to this sudden turnabout.
As a parent, I was hopeful to see more of the changes like the ones Dr. Marple had already implemented: I was thrilled to see her dedication to the arts as part of the CORE curriculum, to learn of her support for foreign language education, to see first-hand at my children's school, students being fed healthier meals. I agree with the removal of stringent time constraints from official, statewide policy so that teachers at a local level can give kids the instruction that they need, and I strongly support her adamant belief that science and social studies be taught at the elementary level. In a year and a half, she has already done too much good for me to list in my allotted time. Simply put, the loss of Dr. Marple's leadership is a loss borne by the children of West Virginia.