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W.Va., deregulating, ends up re-regulating

Consultants hired to look at public education in West Virginia criticized the state for overregulating to such a degree that it was almost impossible for local officials to do what was best for their students.

After an epic struggle, the Legislature passed a bill to deregulate a bit and rest more power in the hands of local officials.

But this being West Virginia, deregulation became a highly regulated affair. The state's old seven-point criteria for hiring teachers - criticized for weighting seniority above all else - was thrown out in favor of an 11-point set of criteria that will pretzelize local officials.

As Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Dave Boucher reported this week, the Legislature just changed state code. Now the state Department of Education must promulgate policies and rules to implement the code.

The department has scheduled meetings with unions and other education groups to discuss these issues, including the role faculty senates will play.

Then all the people who get a say in hiring will have to have training in how to comply with the new regulations or somebody could grieve.

Cited for burdensome and stifling overregulation at the state level, state officials passed new legislation that will ensnarl local school officials and county school boards in an even more complicated set of regulations.

Sigh. Certainly, the new teacher hiring criteria deserve a chance. But if they're just as burdensome and stifling as the old criteria, legislators should not wait another 50 years to try again.



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