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Wade Linger issues statement on superintendent firing

The following is a statement prepared and made by Wade Linger at the West Virginia Board of Education meeting Thursday afternoon:

"We have received lots of reaction from the public asking us to give more detail about a very difficult decision the board made two weeks ago. 

Providing the reasons for any termination often runs afoul to advice and caution given from other circles.

Nonetheless, it is our duty to be as open as possible with the public.

I believe that most of the board will agree that we need to provide more explanation than we have to date.

The following are just a few of my thoughts.

Everyone is familiar with the situation we find ourselves in regarding the litany of statistics related to student achievement and our rankings.

  • West Virginia students rank below the national average in 21 of 24 categories measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).
  • As a matter of fact, over the last decade, many of our NAEP scores have slipped instead of improving.
  • Education Week's most recent Quality Counts Report gave West Virginia an F in K-12 achievement.
  • The statewide graduation rate is only 78 percent. 
  • 1 in 4 of our high schools students in West Virginia do not graduate on time.

And these are just a few of our concerns.

We read all of these things in the papers. So do our friends and family, and we hear about them in business groups, social groups and education groups. School employees hear about them. Parents hear about them. Students hear about them. They are as frustrated as we are. 

We are not saying that Superintendent Marple is any more responsible than governors, legislators, educators or board members for these shortcomings.

We are not here to affix blame today.  However, we are charged with the general supervision of schools in West Virginia and we think the people of West Virginia deserve to have these problems fixed.

The board determined that in order to fix these problems we needed to head in a new direction with new leadership. 

Some of the issues that caused board members to perceive a change was needed are the following:

1.     Many members found no sense of urgency in the department to address some of the issues that have been outlined.

2.     When discussing concerns, we often were met with excuses and not actions.

3.     Too often we were told how things can't change instead of being offered solutions.

4.     When current practices were challenged, we often found people being defensive. 

Considering everything just outlined in this statement, I believe we needed a change in direction and in order to do that, we needed a change in leadership."


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