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Education must come first | News, Sports, Jobs

Local students will return to class next week as the 2022-23 school year kicks off for West Virginia Public Schools. We hope for a safe and productive school year that is not interrupted by outside factors. We hope educators and administrators are prepared to continue working to recover from the learning loss caused by the ineffective remote platforms used during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we hope that the students are ready to resume the work of learning.

The past few years have undoubtedly had a negative impact on students. A quick look at the most recent statewide assessment testing data, released this month, shows that there is a lot of work to be done to get our kids on the path. of a better future.

Consider some of the statewide numbers:

– Only 15% of all students tested in grades 3-8 and 11 exceeded the standard in math, and 18% met the standard. That’s one-third of all West Virginia students tested who are proficient in math.

– Students statewide do slightly better in reading, with 15% exceeding the standard and 27% meeting it, for 42% fluency.

– Science is apparently our state’s toughest subject, as only 9% of those tested exceeded the proficiency standard and 19% met the goal.

These are unacceptable numbers. We cannot build our state’s future on young people who continually struggle in math and science – the foundation of jobs that can fuel a new economy for West Virginia. We need to do better, we need to expect better, and teachers, administrators and parents need to be held accountable for that to happen.

Locally, the struggle continues to recover from learning loss during the pandemic. Looking at just three high schools in the area, here is the data:

– At Wheeling Park High School, 24% of Grade 11 students met or exceeded the proficiency standard in math, 58% met or exceeded the standard in reading, and 30% in science.

– At John Marshall High School, 21% of Grade 11 students met or exceeded their math skills, 57% met or exceeded the standard in reading and 34% in science.

– And at Brooke High School, only 18% of 11th graders met or exceeded their math skills, 44% met or exceeded their reading skills, and 21% met or exceeded their science skills.

Why do our high school students struggle with math and science? And how will they enter college or the workforce without most of the basic skills to help them be productive members of society?

The public deserves honest answers to these questions from local school administrators.

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