I am puzzled after reading State Board President Wade Linger's recent report on Board of Education staff delivered at last week's meeting. As I recall, one of his criticisms of former State Superintendent Jorea Marple was that she wasn't moving fast enough to reduce staff noted in the governor's Education Efficiency Audit and that she was simply protecting State Department of Education employees and maintaining the status quo.
At the time, Dr. Marple attempted to explain that many employees were paid with federal dollars for federal programs and many were in the field assisting county boards of education. When Marple gave the explanation, she was admonished. Now, not only does it appear Linger agrees with Dr. Marple's assessment, he is hiring more personnel. What's wrong with this picture?
Linger will say at the time he did not have the recently discussed data; however, he wouldn't listen to Dr. Marple's explanation and vilified her as protecting department personnel. Again, I say shame on you Wade Linger for terminating a highly qualified, well respected educator such as Dr. Marple for what, as time goes by, appears to be purely personal reasons.
At the same Board of Education meeting, Linger announced a "Commission on School District Governance and Administration," which does not name a teacher or teacher representative to serve on the commission. This is just another slap in the face to hard-working professionals who toil in classrooms every day and have experience dealing with local school district governance and administration.
President Linger will say he has named three county superintendents to the commission, but they have not been in the classroom for years, so they see issues in a different light. He also named a local school board member, a PTA member, an attorney, an accountant and business individuals. All are quality individuals, but none of them have the experience a classroom teacher has in dealing with the governance and administration issues that impede student achievement.
But maybe that's not President Linger's concern, maybe he is more concerned about maintaining a bloated bureaucracy in our county school systems and moving ahead with his personal agenda. It's for these reasons our school system can't move forward and educators have lost faith in the State Board of Education.
Lee is a special education teacher in Mercer County, currently on leave to serve as president of the West Virginia Education Association.