House Speaker Rick Thompson was rolling along in his traditional opening day speech of the 2013 legislative session with the usual boilerplate material: work together, a better future, look what we have accomplished together, etc.
But then this line: "The education system in West Virginia is on the brink of an overhaul."
In the media we don't actually "stop the presses" anymore. We tweet breaking news, and several state Capitol reporters latched on to the speaker's line, rushing it out to their followers.
Thompson continued to his fellow House members: "It is important that all members of the House of Delegates are up to date and knowledgeable of what the audit recommends and what is needed to improve upon our education environment."
The language is significant.
Thompson could have ignored the controversial audit, or thrown out some banality about "improving our schools." No one would have taken much notice.
Instead, he used the word "overhaul."
The audit found, and the reform-minded state Board of Education agreed, that our public school system is bureaucratically top heavy, badly in need of innovative ways to develop, reward and retain great educators and inadequate in preparing all students for workforce needs and careers.
The status quo isn't working.
Our students are below the national average in 21 of 24 categories measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress. One in four high schools students doesn't graduate on time.