West Virginia ranks 47th in Kids Count report - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia ranks 47th in Kids Count report


West Virginia's education system received poor marks in a national report.

According to the 2012 Kids Count Data Book, West Virginia ranks 47th out of all 50 states for education.

According to the report, more than 79 percent of West Virginia's eighth graders are not proficient in math, while more than 73 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in reading.

The only states that ranked worse than West Virginia were Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Nevada.

"In West Virginia, the effects of chronic poverty are being compounded by years of under investment in education, particularly for our youngest children," said Margie Hale, Executive Director of West Virginia Kids Count, in a press release. "Our ranking of 47th in the nation in education reinforces Kids Count's constant refrain that now is the time to finally make high-quality, affordable childcare a state priority." 

The report comes out as the public, educators, and lawmakers are reviewing an audit of the state's education system.

But some parents said the numbers reflect flaws in a statewide system, not individuals.

"I can say here, at Piedmont, my kids are getting a great education," said Mike Greer, whose twins attend Piedmont Elementary in Charleston. "They have a great education, great teachers."

And others said the state is to blame for poor scores.

"I have a grandchild. Fortunately for me, she's a bright little girl, but she's going to be left behind along the way," said grandparent Sarah Hamrick. "When it comes to education, I feel the Department of Education has failed us tremendously and something needs to be done."

Hale said she knows exactly where change is needed: early education.

"As everyone knows, if you can't read in the fourth grade, you're done. We will never move past 47th place if we don't make this investment," Hale said.

Hale said she's hopeful that state legislators will start revising early education programs as soon as they can.

But others said there's more than one factor in this equation.

"It's not just the teachers' responsibility. It is the parents', and that's a lot of the problem today," said Cassie Isaacs, a parent who also runs her own daycare center. "The parents think, 'I can send my child to school and that's okay, they're learning.' But that's not always true."

Isaacs said she's worried if her children go to college out of state, their West Virginia education will hold them back in the classroom.

An official from the West Virginia Department of Education told WOWK that new test data will be released in August. Jorea Marple is the state superintendent of schools. In an email from the West Virginia Department of Education, her office stated, "We are confident that as the Next Generation Content Standards and Objectives are implemented at every grade level, students will lead their learning and be engaged through personalized curriculum. If we can engage students and structure learning around their needs, students will thrive."

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