Sen. Tarr Gives Impressions on Statewide Education Forums

Sen. Tarr Gives Impressions on Statewide Education Forums


WE WANT TO THANK D. — THANK YOU. STAY WITH US. NOW BACK TO “INSIDE WEST VIRGINIA POLITICS” WITH MARK CURTIS. WELCOME BACK. LET’S CONTINUE OUR DISCUSSION ABOUT EDUCATION REFORM HERE IN WEST VIRGINIA. RIGHT NOW WE ARE JOINED BY STATE SENATOR ERIC TAR, REPUBLICAN OF PUTNAM COUNTY. GREAT TO HAVE YOU ON THE PROGRAM. GLAD TO BE HERE, MARK. YOU’VE ATTENDED A NUMBER OF THESE FORUMS NOW, THE PUBLIC FORUMS THE WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF END CASE HAS SPONSORED. YOUR IMPRESSIONS SO FAR? THE THING THAT IMPRESSESSED ME THE MOST IS THE CROSS SECTION OF PEOPLE COMING OUT, TEACHERS, STUDENTS, SERVICE PERSONNEL, ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF. IT’S A GOOD CROSS SECTION OF OPINIONS. THEY REALLY HAVE CONCERNS AND KNOW WE NEED TO IMPROVE OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM. I WAS IMPRESSED BY THAT AS WELL BECAUSE I LOOKED AT OUR TV COUNTY ONE AND THERE WAS HUNDREDS AT THE KANAWHA COUNTY. OF COURSE THEY’RE NOT GOING TO RELEASE THE DATA YET BECAUSE THEY HAVE ANOTHER FOUR OR FIVE OF THESE TO GO. ARE YOU HEARING THINGS FROM PARENTS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS THAT ARE RINGING A BELL WITH YOU SAYING MAYBE THIS IS SOMETHING WE NEED TO LOOK AT? ABSOLUTELY. MOST OF THE STUFF THERE, AND AS A LEGISLATOR WE’RE THERE TO QUESTIONS AND LISTEN TO THE REPLIES. ANYBODY WHO IS IN POLITICS WOULD SAY SAY BITE MY TONGUE. SO I’M LISTENING, AND THE THINGS I’M WANTING TO SAY TO THE PEOPLE MAKING THE COMMENTS AND THEY ARE LEGITIMATE CONCERNS AND IDEAS, MOST OF THE STUFF THAT’S BEING THE MEDIA WE PAINT EVERYTHING AS BLACK AND WHITE AND FOR AND AGAINST. RESETTERLY SAW THAT ON CHARTER SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS. BUT THERE WAS ALMOST UNIVERSITY BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR THE $24 MILLION FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS AND MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS, AND BONUSES FOR MATH TEACHERS WHO ARE CERTIFIED, AND OTHER THINGS. DO WE THINK SOME OF THESE ARE GOING TO PASS? I THINK SO. A LOT OF THOSE THINGS YOU SAW IN S.B.451 WILL PROBABLY BE IN THIS BILL THAT COMES OUT OF THE SPECIAL SESSION. BILL, IS THAT DURING THE REGULAR SESSION YOU’RE FOCUSED ON HUNDREDS OF BILLS, SO YOU DON’T HAVE A BILL THAT GETS ALL YOUR ATTENTION. DURING THE SPECIAL SESSION THIS BILL GETS ALL OF OUR ATTENTION. SO THERE’S THING THAT WE MAY WOULDN’T HAVE APPROACHED BECAUSE IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PRACTICALLY POSSIBLE, GIVEN THE TIME SPAN. ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL THINGS WAS THE FACT THAT IT WAS AN ONLY — OMNIBUS BILL. ARE WE LIKELY SO TEE THAT AGAIN OR SEPARATE BILLS? I THINK IT WILL BE OMNIBUS AGAIN, IT WILL BE A COMPREHENSIVE BILL. FOR ME PERSONALLY, I THINK IT SHOULD BE A COMPREHENSIVE BILL. EVEN IN A COMPREHENSIVE FORM, THE WAY THAT THIS WILL PASS, LONG-TERM IMPACT. IF THIS THING TAKES EIGHT, 10, 12 YEARS TO SEE THE TURN AROUND IN WEST VIRGINIA EDUCATION AS FAR AS PROOTS PRODUCED FROM OUR SCHOOLS WITH THE STUDENTS THAT COME OUT THAT ARE READY TO COMPETE WITH ANYBODY NECESSARY THE COUNTRY, IT WILL TAKE TWEAKS ALL ALONG THAT TIME, I THINK THAT’S WHERE YOUR GET YOUR PIECEMEAL FIXES. BUT EDUCATION REALLY NEEDS A LOT OF HELP IN WEST VIRGINIA AND I DON’T THINK PIECEMEAL FIXES DO THE JOB. DO YOU WANT TO SEE CHARTER SCHOOLS CONSIDERED AGAIN AND EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS? YES, I DO. AND SCHOOL CHOICE IN WEST VIRGINIA NOW IS REALLY DETERMINED BY YOUR ZIP CODE. DO YOU MOVE INTO A SCHOOL AREA, THAT’S THE SCHOOL YOU PICK. AND IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, YOU CAN GO TO A PRIVATE SCHOOL. SO SCHOOL CHOICE IS VERY LIMITED BY FINANCE. CAN YOU AFFORD THE RIGHT ZIP CODE, CAN YOU AFFORD A PRIVATE HOME, CAN YOU AFFORD TO HOME SCHOOL? EXPLAINING IN THESE FORUMS WHAT THEIR CONCERNS MIGHT BE, I DON’T THINK THEY REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT A CHARTER SCHOOL IS. BECAUSE WHEN YOU SIT DOWN AND EXPLAIN TO THEM THE PROCESS, YOU GET A LOT OF HEAD NODDING LIKE YOU’RE DOING NOW. THAT MEANS IT’S TIME TO WRAP UP OUR SEGMENT. WE WANT TO THANK SENATOR TAR FOR JOINING US. OBVIOUSLY WE’RE GOING TO KEEP

Danny Hutson

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