After the announcement of a comprehensive review earlier this year, West Virginia parents, teachers and concerned citizens are now being asked to evaluate the state’s education standards.
The West Virginia Department of Education launched “West Virginia Academic Spotlight” Wednesday, a five month review of the state’s Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives. The first step in that review is an online public comment period.
All 936 standards are available for the public to consider online, organized by both grade level and subject matter. The state is asking parents, teachers and any West Virginian with concerns over the standards to provide constructive comments that could result in revisions.
The comment period lasts until Sept. 30 of this year, allowing teachers time to review them even after they return to school in the fall, according to Sarah Stewart, the state Department of Education’s director of education policy and government relations.
After the comment period, West Virginia University will lead an effort to analyze the responses alongside stakeholders that could include Department of Education employees, teachers, higher education officials and representatives from the business community. The stakeholder recommendations, which could include revisions or realignments of standards, are due to the state Board of Education for their consideration by December.
“This is a substantive work that gets us moving forward for the future of our kids,” State superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano said in a press release Wednesday. “I believe this is the most important work in our state right.”
While specific dollar amounts were not available Wednesday morning, Stewart said the cost of the review will be substantially less than the $113 million the department predicted earlier this year it would take to write new standards. That prediction came in response to lawmakers’ calls for repeal.
Stewart said most of those funds are coming from grants secured by West Virginia University from the university itself, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Benedum Foundation and the National Governor’s Association—one of the organizations that helped developed the national Common Core standards.
Martirano announced in April he would undertake the review because of an attempt to repeal Common Core during the legislative session. A bill to fully repeal the standards and aligned standardized test was approved by the House of Delegates in February, but a compromised version of the bill, which would have given education officials a year to write new standards before the current ones were removed, failed on the final night of the session.
The state Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, incrementally implementing them in all West Virginia classrooms. The 2014-2015 school year was the first year of full implementation.
The public can view the standards here: http://wvacademicspotlight.statestandards.org/