Like most parents of school-aged children, I take an active interest in their education. We discuss assignments, we work on homework together and I pay attention to the materials that get sent home.
My children, like most West Virginia children, also have been blessed with amazing teachers at every level. I’ve never felt in the dark about anything, but sadly, that’s not the case for all parents. Some have expressed their concern about what is being taught to their children and what is happening in their children’s schools.
On November 8, voters will have the opportunity to make a change to our constitution to hold those who approve school policies accountable for their decisions. Amendment 4 on the November 8 General Election ballot in West Virginia clarifies that the rules and policies set forth by the State Board of Education are subject to legislative review, approval, amendment or rejection. Rules proposed by all state agencies, boards and commissions – except those of the State Board of Education – are already subject to legislative review and approval. Passage of this amendment will simply allow the proper oversight and accountability of rules put forth by the State Board of Education to be included like the others.
The forefathers of our state, just like the forefathers of our country, placed the responsibility of making laws in the legislative branch of government. The executive branch of state government, which includes boards and commissions, sets forth rules and regulations for the operation of their agencies that affect the citizens of West Virginia. In this case, state Board of Education rules mandate the way schools are operated in our state and what educational content is taught to our children.
In West Virginia, state agencies and boards can only set forth rules when they are given direction through state law by the legislature. Through this process, these agencies make rules and regulations that carry the full weight of state law. The legislature then ensures that the lawmaking authority delegated to those agencies and boards have the proper oversight by the branch of government tasked with making law – the legislative branch.
While the State Board of Education is comprised of members that are appointed by the governor, the legislature is made up of members who are directly elected by the people. Citizens have the power to vote for or against members of the legislature if they pass laws that do not fit their values and expectations.
While members of the county Boards of Education are elected by the people, the citizens of the state do not have the ability to vote members of the State Board of Education out of office if they create laws, policies and regulations that do not meet their standards. Giving the legislature the ability to have full oversight of the rules written by the board places the accountability of those rules back into the hands the people of our great state.
Many citizens across our state have expressed their concern over some of West Virginia’s educational standards, policies or instructional materials. By voting for Amendment 4, you can put a process in place to ensure oversight of these things by elected officials who are held accountable to you, the voter.
Vote for Amendment 4 on November 8 to ensure that the curriculum, policies and standards set forth by the West Virginia Board of Education have the oversight and accountability that the citizens of the state expect and deserve.
Senator Amy Nichole Grady, R-Mason, is the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. She is a fourth grade teacher at Leon Elementary School. She represents the fourth senatorial district, which includes all of Mason County and parts of Putnam, Jackson and Cabell counties.