CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The following remarks were made by WVEA President Dale Lee to the State Board of Education at their meeting on Wednesday, September 13 regarding the opening of schools and school employee shortages.
President Lee congratulated the West Virginia Teacher of the Year and School Service Personnel of the Year. “These individuals represent the thousands of educators who do an outstanding job,” President Lee said.
President Lee discussed the data on the innovation zone of an alternative education setting in elementary schools that had been conducted a few years back. From the five counties, the data revealed 76% of the students made academic progress and 72% of the students showed positive behavioral progress. “Imagine if we could improve those percentages for all of our kids. I am calling on Superintendent Blatt and members of the board to get a group together to make these improvements across the state. We have an opportunity, but the opportunity is now in elementary schools. If we try to do it when they are in middle school or high school, we have lost them,” President Lee said.
President Lee had asked local leaders how many openings they had at the beginning of the year. “In only 10 counties, 589 positions were filled by substitutes or uncertified people. I predicted 1,700 this year, but I may be low. We have a crisis in education. It is time to fill those positions, not just the teaching positions,” President Lee said.
Lastly, President Lee and Superintendent Blatt will be visiting a school in Logan County at the end of the month. He urged the Department of Education to send people out and spend a day with the classroom teacher to see what is going on and how our policies are affecting them.