Education Should be about Community

As Gov. Jim Justice and Senate President Mitch Carmichael spar over their differing versions of “education reform,” there’s one aspect of public education in West Virginia that’s being forgotten. Our schools are the meeting places for our communities. West Virginia needs to focus on building up our public schools and on training, hiring, and adequately paying its great teachers, not on lining out-of-state, for-profit charter school operators’ pockets.

Public schools are the center of our towns. They’re such a huge part of the identity of any West Virginia community. Local teachers and principals have that sense of loyalty to the community they serve.

WV Metro News recently reported on a music teacher in Webster Springs who took his elementary school band to new levels. This type of personal investment in students and in a community can only come from inside a community.

From WV MetroNews:

WEBSTER SPRINGS, W.Va. — After making history last year, Webster County’s elementary schools are working hard to overcome challenges in creating a successful school band.

Fifth and sixth graders of Hacker Valley Elementary School and Webster Springs Elementary School make up the Highlanders of Tomorrow band, directed by their general music teacher Josh Tharp.

Last year, the students were the first elementary school band in the state to go to a WVSSAC band ratings festival event.

“We got superior ratings from all three judges for our performance. The kids were very excited,” Tharp said. “It was a very historic moment for not only for our program, but for the whole school and Webster County as well.”

This is the place to invest West Virginia's scare resources when it comes to education: in teachers, schools and classrooms making a direct difference in the lives of the Mountain State children.