What is the 4th Amendment ballot proposal? In short, if this proposal passes on November 8th it would be an absolute GAME CHANGER (ALL CAPS) for public education in WV. Before one can sincerely and objectively consider this proposal, one must first be willing to acknowledge that our Public Education System is broken and can, in fact, be repaired. An objective look at how our system ranks nationally should be enough to motivate all of us to stop this embarrassing trend. Our teachers deserve much better than what they are getting from the WVDE and our students absolutely deserve a better education than they are receiving. Lowering course standards and subsequently bragging about high graduation rates should never be a substitute for actually graduating students who have a firm grasp on basic mathematics, reading comprehension, science and understanding early American, state, and World History, basic civics, personal finance. This is where the rubber meets the road.
As it currently stands, the State DOE is permitted to promulgate and implement its own rules and policy for education without any Legislative oversight whatsoever by your elected representatives in the State Congress. This ballot initiative, if you choose to pass it, would finally take the overall authority of education decisions away from an unelected
State DOE and the State BOE and place that authority to approve educational standards squarely with “we the people” via your elected (read accountable) representatives in your Legislature.
And why not? After all, your elected representatives must actually answer to you and the unelected bureaucrats never answer to you at all. If Amendment 4 should pass, the unelected bureaucrats in the DOE would still be permitted to establish their own rules and policies. However, the new law established by passage of Amendment 4 would then require the
bureaucrats to provide their proposed initiatives to the Legislature for final approval – or rejection – prior to implementation in our schools and upon our children. Moreover, your elected County BOE members (also accountable to you) would still have authority locally to hire, fire, or approve funds at their local level.
The naysayers – perhaps succumbing human nature and a normal fear of change (after all, the current system is all they have ever known) – are already subjecting both professional and service personnel within their school districts to what appears to be teacher union talking points including that “if Amendment 4 passes, the counties will not be able to hire new people in our school district” or “the teachers will not be able to properly teach our kids because Legislatures will assume the role of educator”. Neither is true. The fact is that they do not know. They are repeating what they are being told by the unelected bureaucrats in Charleston, bureaucrats hell-bent on sustaining their seemingly limitless power and maintaining the status quo in public education. The good news is that many teachers I have spoken to understand better than most that significant change is absolutely needed to ensure that we are graduating students who are ready. They also realize that the overwhelming majority of teachers are not the problem. They are at the mercy of the current broken system and must do what is heaped upon them from the empty suits in Charleston who none of us can vote down. So why are some local politicians also poo-pooing on this Amendment proposal and talking it down? Simply put, you must follow the money. Take a look at which Legislators are talking down its passage and see how much money their campaign receives from the Teacher Unions. Me? I am beholden to nobody and my vote cannot be purchased therefore I do now hesitate to put the students first by trying to better our education system.
Under the current broken system students are the victims. College enrollment continues to drop in the State and area employers continue to complain that their employees cannot comprehend written instructions and many cannot read at all. Area contractors report that some of their employees cannot even do math or read a tape measure. This is unacceptable. And do not get me started on the rumors of some schools permitting kids to walk around portending to be animals! Can you imagine if our education system was as enthusiastic about reading, writing, math, science, and history as it is about Friday night football, school dances, and pep-rallies?
Folks, here is the bottom line… If you like the idea of taking education decisions away from an unaccountable DOE in Charleston and placing education decisions into the hands of parents via their elected representatives, vote for Amendment 4 passage. However, if you like the status quo of continually competing with the State of Mississippi for the lowest test scores and education standards in the Nation, and worrying what schools are teaching CRT and which are becoming more and more WOKE, keep Amendment 4 the way it currently has been for decades.
So…in closing…Passage of the Amendment 4 initiative is finally a way we can effect (sic) public education policy in a positive way. It is about finally moving the needle of public education into positive territory and for the better. What a great opportunity you have to effect real change with your vote! It is my hope that all who reads this will take an objective look at a massive problem, void of denial, and acknowledge that the passage of the 4th Amendment proposal will set the conditions to finally have your voices heard, try a new approach, and give our students the education they both need and deserve.
Delegate Todd Longanacre
District 47, West Virginia House of Delegates
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.