Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today joined legislators, education advocates, as well as business and labor leaders to sign the landmark education reform bill, Senate Bill 359, into law.
"This landmark legislation will make a difference in classrooms across our state, and more importantly, in the lives of our state's children," Gov. Tomblin said. "I'm truly grateful for every West Virginian who participated in the community forums and worked with our legislators to make sure our kids receive the best education possible. I believe, through our continued collaboration, we can help prepare our kids for future opportunities and ensure a brighter future for the State of West Virginia."
Senate Bill 359 will raise student achievement by:
- Giving local school boards more flexibility to develop a school calendar that works for their communities and ensures students receive 180 instructional days in the classroom.
- Providing an optional full day, five days per week four-year-old preschool program in every county.
- Ensuring all children read on grade level by the end of the 3rd grade.
- Making sure our high school graduates are ready to either enter the workforce or make a seamless transition into college or vocational school.
- Changing how we measure the success of our schools to include AP classes and graduation rates among other measurements.
- Empowering our teachers to participate in the hiring process as well as in determining the professional development needed.
In addition to SB 359, Gov. Tomblin is working with the State Board of Education to bring more technology and digital learning to the classroom. The governor has also issued two executive orders related to student achievement. The newly established, Governor's Commission on Middle Grades, will work to better meet the needs of our middle school students. And just last week, the governor re-established the West Virginia Workforce Planning Council to better align classroom learning with workplace needs.