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Governor Justice Announces Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education

The Free Press WV

Governor Jim Justice today announced the creation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Four-Year Higher Education to study and evaluate ways that West Virginia can create a more efficient and meaningful Higher Education system. The Commission will be officially created by executive order and is expected to be signed by Monday, July 02, 2018.

The commission will be tasked with finding bold and unique solutions to a problem that West Virginia has faced for several decades. The Governor has asked the commission to give regular updates and reports and has mandated the work be completed by the December 2018 interim meetings of the West Virginia Legislature.

Governor Justice said, “Our West Virginia colleges and universities are so critical to our communities, and the continued erosion of their stability deeply concerns me. My hope is that every possible solution will be considered and evaluated, all colleges and universities will be consulted, and that the Commission will find the right solution for our higher education system in West Virginia.

“Just as my philosophy has been in opposition to K-12 school consolidation, our colleges and universities need an advocate to stand up for their continued stability and to recognize their critical importance to West Virginia communities. These colleges and universities are a lifeline for the students they serve and represent the future of West Virginia. We must find a more efficient means of ensuring that these colleges and universities stay in the communities they serve today.”

This news has great implications for GSC and Gilmer County. The College could form a partnership with the County’s school system to close the K-12 achievement gap.

For years while under State intervention it was denied that a gap existed, and the mantra was that the County was doing as well as the State as a whole.

That was like saying that we are OK with the State being ranked near the bottom for the quality of its K-12 education system and we should be content to wallow at the bottom too.

Ms. Patty Lowther, the new superintendent of schools, states that we must close the K-12 achievement gap and it is within the County’s capabilities.

She and her staff including Shelly Mason the new curriculum expert, principals, and the County’s teachers are actively involved with devising solutions to eliminate problems.

Regarding GSC, Dr. Pellett is on record with definite innovations to improve the College’s standing.

He has an unique opportunity to guide the College to contribute to Gilmer County having the best school system in WV as a model to emulate throughout the State and Appalachia.

In the past the typical Charleston trap has been to collect achievement data without expending successful efforts to interpret its meaning for use in solving under-achievement.

Dr. Pellett, Ms. Lowther, and Shelly Mason, with the help of other professionals in our schools can jettison that long standing road block to make Gilmer County a K-12 education standout.

Dr. Pellett in particular has an unparalleled opportunity to make his mark on guiding the College to improve K-12 education in the County and to let successes spread as examples throughout Appalachia.

There would not be a better way to justify the necessity of the College’s continuing existence for Gilmer County, central WV, and the entire State.

Comment by Good News For WV  on  06.29.2018

Word is that officers on the County’s school board have changed with Doug Cottrill becoming the new president and Shackleford the VP.

Voters request to know what the new board’s plans are for improving the County’s standing with the quality of K-12 education for math, reading, science, and other subjects, and correcting remaining problems at the new grade school contractors have not fixed.

Why not publishing monthly progress reports to cover the new board’s accomplishments? That job would be a good assignment for the new president.

Comment by Voters Watching  on  07.03.2018

We must be wary of how County K-12 achievement information is presented.

From the outset the new school board should focus on exactly how well our students are performing with mastering subjects, and not to fall victim to news unrelated to demonstrated student learning.

For one example the GCHS was awarded for its high graduation rate, but it ranked in the bottom 10% among WV high schools for college and career readiness of seniors.

This is not to say that graduation rates are unimportant, but they cannot be interpreted as fact of a direct relationship with how well students are prepared for college and careers.

For some schools an unusually high graduation rate could be a function of enforced “everyone passes” policy.

The point is that there is need for vigilance when student performance information is disclosed to the public so school board get all of it out so voters can decide where the County’s school system really stands.

Comment by Give All Facts  on  07.03.2018
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