The West Virginia Constitution requires the state to provide, "by general law, for a thorough and efficient system of free schools." West Virginia public schools are neither.
The audit of the state's public school system by Public Works, an independent consultant, found that education is over-regulated and top-heavy.
"We have encountered no other state that insulated its education system so much from gubernatorial - or voter - control," the audit said.
The time has come to change that. The state Board of Education, having asserted its proper role with respect to a recalcitrant state Department of Education, has signaled its willingness to do so.
But Senate Education Chairman Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, while supportive, called the board's 134-page response to the audit "vague."
"If you sit there and tell me that you feel strongly about some of these things, then that's a fairly weak reply to me," Plymale told state board president Wade Linger at a public hearing this week.
"I see a lot of recommendations, but I don't see specifics. If you're saying you need to change code, it's very vague. We're not offended by strong statements that say, 'This is the direction we think you should go'."
Linger and other board members do not have a staff of lawyers to draft legislation. But legislators do.