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THE National Council on Teacher Quality conducted the first ranking of education programs across the nation and found mediocrity abundant among the programs that educate teachers.

Only Furman, Lipscomb, Ohio State and Vanderbilt universities received the top score of four stars.

That is right. Only four of the 1,430 education

programs surveyed are excellent. There cannot be excellence in education until teachers receive excellent training.

West Virginia University received only one star for its graduate elementary program and one and a half stars for graduate special education. Marshall University received two stars for undergraduate elementary, one and a half for graduate secondary and one for graduate special education.

This is appalling.

Americans spend an average of $12,000 a year per pupil in public schools.

In addition, people who want to become teachers go into debt by thousands of dollars to pay for mediocre educations.

If there is anything the higher education industry should strive to do right, it is the education of teachers.

The boards of governors of both WVU and

Marshall should demand answers as to why their students are not getting four-star educations.

The Legislature, too. For the money West

Virginians pay for schools, they deserve teachers

who have received four-star training, not just one-star programs.

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CQ Roll Call, a publication that covers Congress in print and online, gave West Virginia an

early birthday present. The pepperoni roll won CQ Roll Call's Taste of America competition of 64 foods from the various states.  

People voted for their favorite foods in head-to-head competition with foods from other states. Then winners squared off until only one was left.

The pepperoni roll beat the Boston Cream Pie in the first round and then rolled over Rhode Island's apple crisp, Philly cheese steaks, Arizona's chimichangas and trout from Washington state.

Accepting the honor was Sen. Joe Manchin, which is fitting since he is from Fairmont, the town where Frank Argiro came up with the pepperoni roll nearly 90 years ago so miners could have a portable lunch to take to work.

This year, the Legislature considered making the pepperoni roll the official food of the Mountain State.

Maybe Manchin can propose that Congress make the pepperoni roll the official food of the United States. After all, the people of America have spoken.

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WHEN driving along Interstate 77 in Mineral Wells south of Parkersburg, motorists might wish to consider Sgt. Richard Bowry as they pass W.Va. 14.

Fighting in the Battle of Charlottesville, Va., on March 8, 1865, Bowry suffered a severe gunshot wound to his leg with the bullet lodged in his boot. Despite the injury, Bowry fought and captured the Confederate battle flag.

He became the first West Virginia to earn the Medal of Honor. On Tuesday, the state renamed the W.Va. 14 bridge over the interstate the "U.S. Army Sergeant Richard Bowry Memorial Bridge."

Medal of Honor recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams, a hero of Iwo Jima, attended the ceremony. He said bridges named for such heroes should have standardized signs that explain why the person for whom the bridge is named is more than just a name.

That is a good idea. Perhaps veterans groups

can collect the information needed to tell the stories of the many, many West Virginians who have served our nation heroically.

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EVERY few years, law enforcement officials

acting on a tip stake out a plot of land and

begin digging for the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the former Teamsters union president, who likely was killed by mobsters.

The search always generates publicity but little else. This year, officials dug up a plot in Oakland Township, Mich. One observer — who refused to give his name to reporters — stood on the sidelines to watch bulldozers remove concrete and dirt.

"Hoffa disappeared in '75, so 38 years ago," the anonymous man said. "He's obviously dead.

"How he died doesn't really matter. Who killed him doesn't really matter, cause they're probably dead, too. So really, what's the point in what's going on here today?"

Good point. Surely the FBI has better things to do.


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