West Virginia must embrace 21st-century education reform

Mark Bugher:

I recently was invited to attend a presentation in Washington, D.C., by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of its 2009 education “Leaders and Laggards” report to the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
This report was a cooperative effort of the U.S. Chamber, the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. The report is a state-by-state “report card” on education innovation. Education innovation is described by the report as “Discarding policies that no longer serve students while creating opportunities for smart, entrepreneurial problem-solvers to help children learn.”
The report graded state schools on seven criteria: school management, finance, hiring and evaluation of staff, removing ineffective teachers, data collection, pipeline to post-secondary education, and technology. West Virginia received an overall grade of D+, however, ranked first in the nation on technology, measured by student per Internet-connected computer.
No state received an overall grade higher than a C+, and although West Virginia was ranked in the bottom quarter of states, there were 11 states ranked below us. Virginia, Oklahoma and Texas ranked overall the highest, and Kansas, Montana and Nebraska were at the bottom of the rankings.