The gnashing of teeth and rending of garments by teachers union leaders over the state school board's firing of former Superintendent Jorea Marple is a wonderful display of pretension and hypocrisy.
Her firing was political, her supporters cry.
Of course her firing is political. Her hiring was.
It's a political position. Always has been. Always will be.
Always should be.
We hold school officials accountable through boards of education, who are elected at the local level and appointed by elected governors at the state level.
West Virginia spends $3.5 billion a year on schools, ranking the state eighth in education expenditures relative to income and per-pupil expenditures.
The schools fail to deliver.
West Virginia is 47th in academic achievement, according to the liberal Kids Count.
Someone has to be held accountable for this overspending and underachieving. Why not Marple?
I do not like the way the state Board of Education fired Marple.
I also do not like that the Jim Phares, superintendent of Randolph County schools, was apparently recruited behind the scenes.
But the board was well within its rights to fire her.
The answer to 47th place in academic achievement is not spending more money on an ever-expanding bureaucracy that continues mission creep.
We have tried that for 30-plus years.
School reform requires allowing a lot of change - including more local control of the schools, an engaged staff, parental involvement and a motivated student body.
In short, what Marple fostered as principal of Tiskelwah Elementary School before she became an educrat.