Common Core Standards: A Change for the Better in West Virginia

On June 2, 2010, West Virginia officially adopted Common Core without any protests. Then, four years later, it faced two bills that would either slow down its progress or dismantle it completely. Renamed the West Virginia’s Next Generation Content Standards, it has met with heated debate the longer it has been in existence.

Common Core Controversy

It stands to reason that such a hotly debated topic in other states would eventually hit West Virginia. While there was no dissent when it was adopted, four years later, Legislature that was never involved in the adoption process had suddenly found a vested interest in debating the adoption’s nuances.

In 2014, House Bill 4383 and 4390 were introduced. The first aimed to slow the implementation while keeping the community informed in regards to its implementation process. In accordance with its mandate, a special committee would be established to take on issues of execution and then report on these every six months. The plan would simply give West Virginia two more years to train staff as opposed to starting all over again.

The second, 4390, would see the Core completely gotten rid of. Once the standards are eliminated, West Virginia would be tasked with creating its own curriculum based on the needs of the state educators.

2015 Repeal of the Repeal

While the two Bills did not pass, a vote was held in 2015 that would repeal the Core. Education officials strongly opposed it but found themselves defeated 74-19. Those that supported the ruling claimed it to be a victory against overwhelming government control. They also deemed it to be a victory for the students that deserve better than a national curriculum.

Celebration was short-lived as the educators themselves continued their vehement opposition, citing educational disruption, federal funding cuts and an overall cost to the tune of $100 million. The bill now only requires a comprehensive standards review to make sure the Core properly prepare students for higher education.

Though the war rages on rather fiercely in the Mountain State, West Virginian educators are more for than against the Core. Though many cite limited funding hurting their ability to truly implement the changes required, many see it as a much more student-centric system. Many opponents also denounce West Virginia wanting to develop its own standards as hubris. The Core, after all, was developed by experts from across the nation to mirror proven best practices. Can one state truly hope to achieve what it took countless experts to do?

Though controversial, any attempts to completely destroy the Core’s implementation have failed. With a lot of support coming from the teachers and educators of the state, it seems that the changes have been beneficial even if there are no test scores yet to prove this. So long as there are no drastic changes of heart, West Virginia will remain a Common Core state.