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Students, parents and teachers: Welcome to a new school year

Many of Kanawha County's 28,000 public school students will start the 2013/2014 school year today with excitement and trepidation as they meet new teachers, make new friends and begin another term of growth.

It's also an exciting day for teachers who have a new batch of kids to shape into productive citizens.

Operating an effective system of free education is among the most important things that the state does.

While there are many success stories, there is much room for improvement. A statewide education audit published in 2012 identified many ways to make school systems better, primarily by deregulating the state's highly regulated system.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin proposed a package of

reforms to the 2013 Legislature. The Legislature

responded by overregulating "deregulation."

Policymakers need to continue to work toward more effective schools by:

* Allowing charter schools.

* Giving principals levels of authority commensurate with their responsibility.

* Giving teachers more freedom to teach.

* Reducing bureaucracy at all levels.

* Taking the steps necessary to make sure all

students and staff remain safe.

While legislators and policymakers spin their wheels on whether to improve education or preserve political alliances, there are several things those involved can do to make education more effective:

Students can approach the school year with a good attitude and absorb all the knowledge they can.

Teachers can practice lots of patience and love and remember why they entered the profession, never letting go of the desire to improve the lives of children.

Parents and guardians can support students and their teachers and school administrators.

The community can be involved. Individuals and organizations should help the schools succeed.

For all involved, may the achievements of the school year be as fulfilling as the anticipation is today.


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