Educators from across the country are meeting over the next two weeks for the National Education Association’s 152nd annual meeting. West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee will be one of the Educators at the meeting discussing issues facing such as Common Core State Standards, and standardized testing.
Two major thoughts the state’s Education Association president Dale Lee offered when reflecting on the state of public education in West Virginia:
- Improving education is going to take more investment to effectively implement.
- It will take time to see the fruits of those labors.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “Our graduation rate is on the rise, our teachers are getting more and more education, now it becomes a question of paying them competitive salaries to keep them in the state.”
Lee says, on that front, a state-wide Competitive Salary campaign has the support of 52 of the 55 county boards of education.
There’s been mounting concern throughout the state as well as the country over the efficacy of standardized testing. Lee reports that teachers are increasingly frustrated with test-driven curriculum.
“We’re just testing kids to death,” Lee said. He says teachers need the time to teach lessons as opposed to preparing students for certain tests.
“To have everything based on a single test score is just the wrong way for an education system. We need to broaden our curriculum and not teach every kid like they are going to go to college and be an engineer,” Lee said.
Another topic of discussion at the National Education Association’s meeting will be the Common Core Standards, a newer wave of education benchmarks for English/language arts, and math adopted by 43 states and the District of Columbia, four territories and the Defense Department. The National Governor’s Association led the effort to create the standards in an effort to provide a clear, consistent understanding of what students are expected to learn. The Standards aim to align schools in preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for successful entry into college and careers. West Virginia has already begun implementing the standards.
“One of the complaints that I’ve heard is that we haven’t done a good job of giving the proper training to implement Common Core, or the time and resources to do it, and do it correctly,” said Lee.
Lee says next year testing will begin to evaluate how well students are learning those new standards. But he stresses that test scores won’t be a reliable reflection of student achievement until they are taken by kids who have had several years of experience with the new standards. He says reliable data could take four to eight years to see.