Justice proposes education legislation

Gov. Jim Justice’s plans for the public education system of West Virginia are now being discussed as his sponsored bills enter the legislature.

According to a news release on the governor’s website, Justice has outlined his plan for public education reform in Senate Bill 420.

The text of SB 420 can be found on the West Virginia Legislature website, where it states its purpose would be to “promote an efficient and effective public education system by reducing state bureaucracy, restoring local control through increased flexibility in regulations for county school systems.”

According to the rest of the bill’s purpose on the West Virginia Legislature website, the bill would also work to “provide supports for classroom teachers throughout the state.”

The bill was introduced in the Senate Thursday, Feb. 23 and was referred to the Senate Education Committee for consideration.

“My plan will transform our public schools into a world-class education system that gives all of our students a shot at success and allows our teachers the freedom to teach,” Justice said in his press release.

The press release on the governor’s website also details what specifically will be included in the bill.

One change the governor intends to make in his new education plan is to “reduce high stakes testing,” according to the press release.

The press release noted that under this idea, Justice plans to “End the A to F grading of public schools by amending school accreditation, accountability and school performance to include multiple measures.”

According to the press release, the other main education ideas include Justice’s plans to “shatter the bureaucracy in Charleston,” “reduce regulation and restore local control,” “reduce high stakes testing” and “raise classroom teacher pay by $808 (2 percent average).”

Most of the plans found in Senate Bill 420 were many of the main ideas Justice emphasized during his campaign on education reform.

The West Virginia Legislature website shows Senate Bill 420 is related to House Bill 2711.

House Bill 2711 would serve to “(abolish) regional educational service agencies and (provide) for the transfer of property and records,” according to the West Virginia Legislature website.

The West Virginia Legislature website states HB 2711 was introduced in the House on Monday and will be referred to the House Education Committee.

Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]