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Education Test

52 Reasons to Keep Education and the Arts in W.Va.

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During the recent budget showdown, several House lawmakers proposed eliminating the Office for Education and the Arts. It’s a cabinet-level position that oversees several groups, including the Educational Broadcasting Authority, which is the legal name for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

At the time of this writing, it appears the effort to eliminate Education and the Arts will fail. But lawmakers promise to bring it back next year. They say the department duplicates functions performed by other agencies.

At a recent legislative hearing, Secretary of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin defended her office. She explained its history, what it has accomplished, and what role she sees it playing in the future. First, here is Goodwin's closing argument:

Over the almost sixteen years I have served in my capacity as Cabinet Secretary, I have become convinced that Governor Caperton had a good idea (in forming the Office of Education and the Arts.)

One office - even a Governor’s - cannot run all of state government effectively and efficiently. But with a Governor’s interest and support, and with accountability provided by the Legislature, oversight can be effectively provided.

I would note that the education audit many tout suggested that a judicious watchdog looking over and through the various education entities could be a very good thing.  It was suggested that our Department’s ability, through collaborative ventures, allows us that watchdog ability identify those silos that hamper improvement.

I can cajole, I can blame, and shame, and cheerlead, and encourage, and share and care.

  We can create an awareness and capitalize on those “aha” and “big picture” moments when working for the good of our State and our citizens supports efforts that may be little in scope but priceless in execution.

Given my interaction with all the governmental and regional sectors in which I participate, I can cajole, I can blame, and shame, and cheerlead, and encourage, and share and care.  I am not the fixer, and I don’t have all the remedies, but I can be helpful in identifying problems that can early be successfully addressed.  I can make that list, and send forth the call to collaborate.

Some of the problems I know we face are teacher remuneration, the decline of an agrarian society, constant increases in higher education tuition and administrative bloat in compensation, not to mention the growing reliance on adjunct faculty and the lack of teeth in the oversight of most higher education efforts, the declining interest in and knowledge of civics, and too little (and too late) attention to literacy.  Of course these and other myriad challenges each of you know well, but for a Sunday afternoon and the beginning of yet another legislative endeavor, that is most assuredly enough! 

Here is a lightly-edited transcript of Goodwin's entire remarks.

Good afternoon, Chairman Blair, and members of the Joint Committee on Government Organization.  I am Kay Goodwin, Governor Tomblin’s Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Education and the Arts and I am delighted to be here today to speak in support of our agency.

The West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts was created by Governor Gaston Caperton as he began his term of office some thirty years ago.  Touting a successful business construct, he presented to the Legislature an administrative model that created seven cabinet secretaries who would oversee activities under their areas of expertise and responsibility—and who could report, confer and conform with him as he governed.  One would recognize the usual assignments – tax and revenue, administration, highways, military affairs and public safety, health and human resources, commerce.

I suspect that “on the seventh day” given that each cabinet secretary had the aforementioned areas of responsibility assigned, there were some duties that remained.  One was Education.

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Education and the Arts website - with their dragon, Desdemona

  Governor Caperton proposed to combine, through a constitutional amendment, higher education and public education under a single Cabinet Secretary of Education.  An election to change the West Virginia Constitution to that effect went against that idea, as did a lawsuit filed by the State Board of Education.

Still, given the need to follow his organization plan to streamline the executive’s responsibilities, and their organizational reporting structure, the Secretariat I now occupy was given substantial duties that he knew would enhance and give some gubernatorial oversight to both public and higher education.  Added were arts and education responsibilities: the Educational Broadcasting Authority, the Division of Culture and History, the Library Commission, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (which on the federal level was a part of the United States Department of Education).

And as a paramount gesture, and especially created to serve and give appreciation to and for our State’s teachers, Governor Caperton created an entity to oversee and present cutting edge, highly mobile and responsive education strategies through his Center for Professional Development. 

The first Cabinet Secretary for Education and the Arts was Dr. Steve Haid, the second was Barbara Harmon-Shamberger, and my predecessor was Mr. David Ice.  During Mr. Ice’s term and under Governor Cecil Underwood, the Department’s small office went from what are now legislative offices on the first floor off the Capitol Rotunda over to the Highways Building 5 where we happily reside—still in modest offices-- on the second floor in an extraordinarily efficient office that features wonderful West Virginia art, dedicated and talented employees, a beautiful carousel horse, and a purple dragon named Desdemona—I admit that our work surroundings are not your typical government milieu! 

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Secretary of Education and the Arts Kay Goodwin with husband Judge Joseph Goodwin at our Antiques Roadshow event in Charleston

Today, that office provides support, oversight and guidance to the 6 agencies under my aegis.

My 6 Division Directors are here with me today to give you what they gain from the constant governance and oversight my staff and I provide them as they provide direct assistance to your constituents.  I am honored to work closely with them, and indeed, I am exceedingly honored to delegate to each of them the responsibilities extant in my Office that they have willingly, expertly, and efficiently assumed.:

1. From the Center for Professional Development - Dr. Dixie Billheimer, CEO

2. From Volunteer WV - Heather Foster, Executive Director

3. From the Library Commission - Karen Goff, the Secretary

4. From the Educational Broadcasting Authority - Scott Finn, Executive Director

5. From the Division of Culture and History - Randall Reid-Smith, Commissioner

6. And from the Division of Rehabilitation Services- Donna Ashworth, Director

In addition to the aforementioned duties and assignments to the Department of Education and the Arts, there are programs that emanate from my office. 

My management style revels in giving credit even beyond where credit is due—I am hoping that has not contributed to any devaluing of the services provided to the State by our Department itself.  I know each of my Division Heads could quickly and confidently enumerate the many instances in which valued assistance was received from me and from my small staff.  I would underscore their reports by asserting that in a non-duplicative manner, our staff helps each Division with decisions on finances, personnel, organizational communication and facilitation.

These diverse efforts are in many cases given to each Division Director according to their substantial expertise, but always, when they are brought into a collaborative atmosphere, resultant benefits accrue to our citizens through the sharing, first of ideas, then of financial actions and activities between and among our Division leaders.

In addition to the aforementioned duties and assignments to the Department of Education and the Arts, there are programs that emanate from my office. 

1. The Governor’s Internship Program

2. The Governor’s Honors Schools -The Governor’s Honors Academy, the Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Governor’s School for Math and Science.  This year we have originated a pilot endeavor now situate at Marshall University for this summer, a Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship.

3. The Early Childhood Advisory Council

4. WV Partnerships to Assure Students Success

5. WV Financial Aid to Students - aka WV FAIR, a project that has served students and parents for over six years, touching 183,000 students in 50 counties.  This effort has included assuring that 65,000 students have completed the FAFSA.  And 6,700 parents have been invited and counseled the evening before our coaches enter their child’s school to help them with financial aid and career planning.

You should know that this effort does not duplicate, but indeed collaborates with k-12 AND higher education admissions counselors, many of whom, given time and resource constraints, are unable to meet the need for this important service and so enthusiastically ask for the valued participation of our staff.  We reach out to parents and students on site in their local schools.  Much of the increase in college going rate is attributable to the work of our WVFAIR counselor/coaches headed by esteemed educator, Jack Wiseman and his cadre.

6. The Imagination Library, which since its inception in 2007 has mailed to almost 1.4 million books to WV children, ages birth to five, in 34 counties through a partnership with the Dollywood Foundation.

More particularly, in my work as Cabinet Secretary, I am a member of, or work with the following groups, allowing me to provide synergistic service through interaction with people on these boards and commissions regarding subjects that might otherwise not be noticed or remarked on.

1. Because the Center for Professional Development is a major part of my Office of the Secretary, I chair or co-chair several boards that surround CPD, importantly, the Advanced Placement Advisory Council, (CPD does all the AP training in the State) the Principal’s Leadership Advisory Council, as well as the CPD Board of Advisors.

2. In those capacities, I am pleased to work with many from various education entities throughout the State, including the West Virginia Department of Education, the Regional Service Agencies, and representatives of both teachers and administrators and other education organizations. I think all would assure you that our efforts in the professional development arena are truly valued and appreciated and indeed, are NOT duplicative.

3. In addition to Cabinet meetings and other events that the Executive requires I attend, I am a voting member of the Higher Education Policy Commission

4. I am Chairman of the WV Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission

5. I serve on Treasurer Perdue’s SMART529 Board through my designee.

6. I am a member of the WV Science and Research Council and was the Chairman of its predecessor, the EPSCOR Council.

7. I am Chairman of the Early Childhood Advisory Council and am honored and delighted to work with the dedicated and talented partners from DHHR and the Dept. of Education on this valued and valuable endeavor.

8. I serve on the HB 3009 Review Committee, a 14 year assignment that brings Community Colleges together with businesses to promote a collaborative project on workforce and economic development.

9. I am the Governor’s Designee to the Educational Broadcasting Authority. In former legislative iterations, the Governor named me his Chairman designee of EBA.

10. I Co-chair with State School Superintendent Dr. Mike Martirano the Center for Professional Development Board, assuring the collaboration and cooperation we pledge to ensure.

11. I am Chairman of the Advanced Placement Strategic Planning Team

12. I serve on the Workforce Planning Council chaired by the Governor as well as the Workforce Planning Council Working Group

13. I work with the WVDE Fine Arts Coordinator on the Arts Alive! Planning Committee-another cooperative endeavor with WVDE.

14. A recent collaborative assignment with the Department of Education is my advisory involvement with the State Board’s High Quality Teacher Education Committee.

15. I am inspired by the work done by WV Film Commission at each meeting I attend.  The economic growth provided the State by and through the commercials and movies filmed in West Virginia has grown exponentially

16. I serve on Volunteer WV’s Board through a designee.   I am honored to participate in their annual Volunteer Awards ceremony and pleased to give the Americorps Oath of Office to incoming participants each year.

17. I am pleased to serve on the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission, dedicated to honoring through a celebration in January an event honoring Dr. King’s legacy.

18. When asked, I offer advice and counsel to the Capitol Building Commission. 

19. My Office monitors carefully the activities of the State Historic Preservation Office as it interacts with other state agencies and with citizens and businesses throughout our State.

When asked what else I do each day, I offer some of the following descriptive comments:

1. We are an important conduit between K-12 and Higher Education and other state and private sector leaders and their agencies.  

2. We are constantly busy coordinating division activities through budget presentations and personnel actions, and day to day operations relating to policy and oversight matters.

3. We are sought after to contribute to, and sometimes manage, cooperative endeavors between and above units of government – given the broad reach of our duties, and our reputation for fair and balanced consideration of facts and figures, we are considered a neutral agency,--indeed, we are Switzerland!

4. We are very involved in visioning and vision implementation throughout state government and in the private sector.  In so doing, we seek currency while monitoring and forwarding core values and competencies. Our office can reach across barriers and facilitate cooperative and cross-mission efficiencies through innovations and innovative solutions.  Collaboration is our mantra.

5. We are well known for our ability to react quickly to implement orders and suggestions from various entities.  Our project completion record is outstanding, as we offer mission prioritizing, and guidance development for our divisions as well as for arts and education endeavors throughout state government and the State.

6. We continually seek to raise citizen awareness of both education and arts through promoting immediacy.  We undertake in-depth reporting of and formation of educational programming that supports economic development successes. 

7. We hope to always provide cost-containment through division invoice review, (including Purchasing Card monitoring) and the encouragement of vehicle fleet reduction.  All out of state travel and related expense in our divisions is approved by me prior to travel.  These efforts have cut costs in all our divisions – and we do not have a helicopter.

8. We maximize Federal Funds in several of our agencies.  The Division of Rehabilitation Services is a champ at asking for, and receiving from the federal government, millions of dollars that are subsequently reallocated to our State because other states did not, or could not, achieve their maintenance of effort requirements.  As a result, all of our DRS clients are served—cutting substantially all waiting lists for services for those clients who need rehabilitation to get back to work.

9. We facilitate and oversee the continuity of the cost saving E rate for schools and libraries.

Finally, there are several important undertakings that have been assigned to me as Secretary.

1. We provide to the Governor Teleprompter use and service.

2. We are called on to coordinate and stage inaugurals, investitures, memorials, and other state ceremonial events—and we have done many since 2001.

3. We enjoy placing art in the offices of many state leaders.

4. We proudly support the state’s History Bowl (Senator Blair, you are the genesis of this historic and growing annual activity!) and the donation of band instruments that the VH1 Save the Music Foundation provides.

5. We arranged for the much needed restoration of The Governor’s portraits.  We also sought to have, as a part of the exhibit in the halls outside the Governor’s Office, braille labels for our visually impaired citizens.

6. In and for the Governor’s Reception Room-historic details were researched and noted and in many instances re-discovered and reproduced.

7. Each year, the Rotunda Christmas Tree is adorned with the state’s student-made ornaments-our office carpet has glitter imbedded year round from this project.

8. We facilitate the Congressional Art Competition and an arts competition for the disabled.

9. Recently, our office assisted EBA with TV hookups through fiber installation that allow you as legislators to communicate with your constituents through audio and video clips  This effort allows you to reach easily and timely the media outlets in your districts.  And now, television and audio coverage is available for legislative sessions and important legislative committee meetings when in session.

10. If asked, I think what I am most proud of is the renovation of the West Virginia State Museum.  A visit to our State Museum has become an award winning Tripadvisor suggestion for a visit when you come to our State.  We now have installed enhancements in animatronic figures and talking portraits—a must-see that instills pride in our citizens and admiration from those who visit our Capitol Complex. 

Our office also has the responsibility for administering grants to:

1. Special Olympics-serving 5,000 athletes and the 3,500 volunteers who helped coordinate the event this past year.  I am sure they would welcome your participation in any of their Polar Plunge fundraisers!

2. The award winning Energy Express summer “feed and read” literacy effort, from the WVU Extension receives the funds you provide through my office, as does The WV Humanities Council.

Over the almost sixteen years I have served in my capacity as Cabinet Secretary, I have become convinced that Governor Caperton had a good idea.  One office—even a Governor’s—cannot run all of state government effectively and efficiently.

But with a Governor’s interest and support, and with accountability provided by the Legislature, oversight can be effectively provided.  I would note that the education audit many tout suggested that a judicious watchdog looking over and through the various education entities could be a very good thing.  It was suggested that our Department’s ability, through collaborative ventures, allows us that watchdog ability identify those silos that hamper improvement.

We can create an awareness and capitalize on those “aha” and “big picture” moments when working for the good of our State and our citizens supports efforts that may be little in scope but priceless in execution.

Given my interaction with all the governmental and regional sectors in which I participate, I can cajole, I can blame, and shame, and cheerlead, and encourage, and share and care.  I am not the fixer, and I don’t have all the remedies, but I can be helpful in identifying problems that can early be successfully addressed.  I can make that list, and send forth the call to collaborate.

Some of the problems I know we face are teacher remuneration, the decline of an agrarian society, constant increases in higher education tuition and administrative bloat in compensation, not to mention the growing reliance on adjunct faculty and the lack of teeth in the oversight of most higher education efforts, the declining interest in and knowledge of civics, and too little (and too late) attention to literacy.  Of course these and other myriad challenges each of you know well, but for a Sunday afternoon and the beginning of yet another legislative endeavor, that is most assuredly enough!  And so…..

In closing, I share with you one of my very favorite moments as Secretary:  I was honored and delighted that when The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra presented to school children in Charleston and Parkersburg “Tubby the Tuba”, as the icing on the cake in this challenging and exciting occupation I am honored to undertake as Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, I was delighted to be the voice of Tubby during the concerts!  And as an addition to a resume for a Cabinet Secretary, it doesn’t get any better than that! 

Thank you for your attention to my comments today, and grateful thanks for the opportunity to give special credit to my Division Heads, my loyal and talented Deputy Secretary, Martha McKee and the others in my Office, and to you as Legislators for your enduring dedication to the public service that daily benefits our citizens.


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