Monday, March 9, 2015

Holy Hiatus, Batman

Welcome readers, to an extra special multi-week edition of This Week, Last Week, Today, Yesterday, A Little While Ago, and Right Now in House Education!

Before we get started, I feel that I have to get something off my chest. The House Ed Blackboard has been slacking for a few weeks now, for that I am sorry. However, readers, I thought we really had something here. Did you notice my absence? Did you leave worried comments? Did you conduct frequent, frantic Google searches? Alas, the only one who seemed to notice was my mother. She called asking why she couldn't find a new update, then chastised me accordingly for slacking.

Let's put this unacceptable gap behind us, readers. We shall move forward, heads held high into the: 

Chair's Corner

Despite more than a few snowlogged days Chairwoman Pasdon has been able to maintain a full calendar. Here are just a few of her recent appointments:

The Chairwoman has had meetings with members of leadership from both houses

Amanda had some visitors home when representatives Monongalia County Board of Education came down to discuss issues, needs, and flexibility concerns.

Chairwoman Pasdon spent a considerable amount of time working with Delegates Butler and Moffatt to help craft House Bill 2934.

The parents of Leland Brown sat down with Amanda to talk about Leland's Law, named in honor of their late son. The proposed bill focuses on education to recognize sudden cardiac arrest, learn more here.

She made some time to chat with Clarksburg radio host Mike Queen

West Virginians Against Common Core stopped by to speak with Amanda about the Common Core standards

Members of the board of the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association and human resources representatives from Kanawha, Berkeley, and Monongalia counties also come in to discuss legislation with Chairwoman Pasdon

Last, but certainly not least, Jodi Cottrell, Director of The Luke Lee Listening, Language, and Learning Lab came by to share information about the very special preschool founded at Marshall. She left us with a message from Mr. Lee, himself:

Committee Updates

The Committee has also stayed occupied. Since our last post the following bills have been passed through committee:

H.B. 2478 Relating to public school finance
H.B. 2702 Redefining service personnel class titles of early childhood classroom assistant teacher
H.B. 2632 Exempting the procurement of certain instructional materials for use in and in support of public schools from the division of purchasing requirements
H.B. 2669 Relating to compulsory tuberculosis testing
H.B. 2598 Ensuring that teachers of students with disabilities receive complete information about the school's plan for accommodating the child's disabilities
H.B. 2140 Building governance and leadership capacity of county board during period of state intervention
H.B. 2381 Providing a teacher mentoring increment for classroom teachers with national board certification who teach and mentor at certain schools
H.B. 2502 Possessing deadly weapons on school buses or on the premises of educational facilities
H.B. 2674 Making home schooled students eligible for a Promise scholarship without taking the GED test
H.B. 2755 Relating to service and professional employee positions at jointly established schools
H.B. 2780 Enhancing the ability of campus police officers at state institutions of higher education to perform their duties
H.B. 2474 Relating to the compensation of personnel employed at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind
H.B. 2550 Increasing the number of unexcused absences of a student before action may be taken against the parent
H.B. 2840 Providing an alternative plan to make up lost days of instruction
H.B. 2884 Modifying training and development requirement for certain members of Higher Education Policy Commission, council for community and technical college education and institutional governing boards
H.B. 2934 Repealing the common core standards
H.B. 2793 Relating generally to home schooling
H.B. 2713 Providing taxpayers repaying their own student loans a modification reducing federal adjusted gross in the amount of the interest paid
H.B. 2976 Expanding the eligible master’s and doctoral level programs for which a Nursing Scholarship may be awarded
H.B. 2717 Relating to hiring of public school employees
H.B. 2645 Establishing critical need alternative teaching certificates, and expanding the availability of the Underwood-Smith Teacher Loan Assistance Program
H.B. 2867 Relating to higher education and miscellaneous provisions
H.B. 2892 Authorizing certain legislative rules regarding higher education
H.B. Originating, on Sudden Cardiac Arrest of Student Athletes
H.B. Originating, on Salary Equity
S.B. 14 Creating Public Charter Schools Act of 2015
S.B. 425 Providing WVU, MU and WVSOM more authority to invest asset
S.B. 455 Relating to public higher education procurement and payment of expenses
S.B. 287 Providing posthumous high school diplomas
S.B. 243 Relating to school nutrition standards during state of emergency or preparedness
S.B. 19 Specifying minimum early childhood education program instruction days

SubCommmittee A has continued to meet and since last post, we also have a new subcommittee. SubCommittee B is chaired by Delegate Espinosa and Vice-Chair by Delegate Upson. Delegates Statler, Trecost, and Rodighiero round out the committee. The committee has been reviewing H.B. 2717, in regards to school employee hiring and transfers. 

Legislators for Literacy

Monday March 2 House Ed Committee members headed across town to Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary School to kick off our Legislators for Literacy program. Chairwoman Pasdon, and Delegates Upson, Rowan, Statler, and Pushkin read or in at least one case, performed, to the elementary students.

We will continue to promote this program in the coming months and we are still looking for book donations! If you have any please bring them by the committee room, or leave a comment and we will make arrangements so that they may get in the hands of students across the state.

Cheat Sheet

We celebrated Marshall Day at the Capitol a few weeks. To Melinda's great disappointment, legendary Marshall coach Mathew McConaughey was not in attendance.

Michael Garcia has been nominated to represent West Virginia University for a second year in a row as the Mountaineer mascot. We can't wait to see him again next year!

Action Needed For Better Schools

W.Va. spends too much, is too centralized not to take another look at Common Core

Freshman Delegate and veteran rockstar, Kayla Kessinger was a recent guest on the Tom Roten Morning Show.
When Tom turned the conversation toward education Delegate Kessinger hit a home run! They begin to hit on education about the 12 minute mark

The members of the House Education Committee are doing their very best to make sure that I am not able to dedicate much time to this blog, but I will try to post again ASAP. If you would like to voice grievances about my workload and lack of time to play around on the internet please call the House Ed office. Sharon will be more than happy to take note and pass the message up to the powers that be. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


WVU President Gorgon Gee and Chairwoman Pasdon

Last week at the legislature we celebrated Home School Day and WVU Day!

The Mountaineer and Delegate Pushkin

Here in House Ed we were glad to host guests from both groups.

Seven bills were passed through committee this week and Chairwoman Pasdon was bustling about as usual.

Here's a closer look:

Chair's Corner

New and familiar faces came this week to see Amanda to speak about some of the big issues in Education today.

Tom Susman stopped by to speak about higher ed issues that impact regional colleges.

Garnet Bowyer of the West Virginia Professional Educators spoke with Amanda about alternative certification of teachers.

Gale Gaines of the Southern Regional Education Board came in to talk about Public Charter Schools in West Virginia.

Gail Manchin, Michael Martirano, and Paul Hill from the West Virginia Department of Education paid Amanda a visit to discuss Next Generation Standards.

Stephanie Butcher came in to speak about issues important to West Virginia's many homeschoolers.

Mike Donally of the Home School Legal Defense Association came by and brought his whole family of homeschoolers along with him!

Committee Updates

Last week we held three very successful committee meetings! The following bills were passed through the House Education Committee and are on to their next destination:

H.B. 2202 Relating to more equitable disbursement of funds to county boards

H.B. 2139 Relating to employment of retired teachers as substitutes in areas of critical need and shortage for substitutes

H.B. 2441 Reducing the liability of county boards of education for loss or injury from the use of school property made available for unorganized recreation

H.B. 2387 Relating to a framework for initiating comprehensive transformation of school leadership

H.B. 2527 Creating a Task Force on Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children

H.B. 2545 Relating to reimbursement of certification fee for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification

H.B. 2391 Authorizing additional annual waiver to full implementation of five full day early education program

Our subcommittee on the public school aid program met once again to hear from Berkeley County Schools Superintendent Manny Arvon and of course, the ever-present Joe Panetta.

Delegate Cooper shares a word with former Delegate, and Education Committee member, Linda Sumner

Cheat Sheet

Our House Bill 2005, pertaining to alternative certification of teachers was passed on to the Senate 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The One Where House Ed Hits It's Stride!

That's right readers we are humming along like never before!

We had our busiest week yet here in House Education, but if you happened to wander back into the House Ed corridor (and somehow managed to sneak past Sharon) you may have hardly noticed.

Chair's Corner

By this point it practically goes without saying, Chairwoman Pasdon had an action-packed week! 
Hera's a peek:
Amanda started the week speaking with Chancellor Paul Hill and Matt Turner from the Higher Education Policy Commission about decreasing duplication of regulatory reporting (Monday morning the alliteration association was heated to hear about the imminent interview) in higher ed.

During Tuesday's Girl's Day at the Legislature, Amanda had the honor of presenting to our many lovely guests from around the state.

Dr. Michael Adelman, President of West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine visited House Ed to convey to Amanda the challenges of rural health care and discuss how the school's ongoing endeavor to engage students to practice medicine in rural Appalachia.

Delegate Tom Fast stopped in stopped in to talk about education needs and issues in Fayette County.

Amelia Courts of the Education Alliance met to talk about partnerships between House Ed and her organization 

State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano paid Amanda a visit to discuss West Virginia's Next Generation education standards, an important issue that our office took nearly 100 calls on this week! 

Committee Updates

On Monday the committee discussed H.B.2151. Introduced by Delegate Perry, this bill would create a position for the West Virginia state teacher of the year on the West Virginia Board of Education. The bill was passed down to the floor with the recommendation that it do pass, where it was subsequently passed on to the Senate. We hope the Senate is as excited about Delegate Perry's bill as we are!

Next up was a familiar face around House Ed. Joe Panetta presented to the committee on the Public School Support Plan. Despite Mr. Panetta's best efforts our subcommittee has been indefatigable in their effort to learn all they can on the subject in a very short time.

Apple hosted a Lunch and Learn that got the Delegates thinking about technology in the classroom

Wednesday afternoon the committee discussed and passed on House bills 2370 and 2377. We also had our first Senate bill, S.B.7 pass through committee!

Friday morning arrived with guests: Chancellors Paul Hill and James Skidmore of the Higher Education Policy Commission, and the Council for Community and Technical College Education, respectively gave presentations on their organizations. 

Before the committee adjourned Chairwoman Pasdon was thrilled to announce House Ed's newest initiative, Legislators for Literacy. The program will get lawmakers into the classroom reading to Pre-K and elementary age students. We will be kicking off in the Charleston area on Dr. Seuss Day, Monday, March 2nd(the delightful doctor would have been 111 this year). Legislators will be heading into classrooms in their districts as the year progresses.  We would love to be able to leave the books we read in the hands of children. Donations to the program will be greatly appreciated, please leave a comment if you would like to get involved.

Our subcommittee on the Public School Support Plan held its final meeting this week. Joe Panetta wrapped up his in depth explanation of the plan and John Flint, Superintendent of Wood County Schools testified to the subcommittee on his perception of the plan as a county superintendent. 

Follow us on Twitter, @WVHouseEd for frequent updates!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

This Week in Education

What a Week! 

Where to start? 

Colleges and Universities from across the state traveled to Charleston this week for Higher Education Day at the Capitol.  

International visitors stopped by the House Ed offices. 

The House Chamber was packed for the public hearing on Public Charter Schools. We heard from 11 members of the public in favor of #PCS and 11 who were against. 

Chair’s Corner

As usual House Education Chairwoman Amanda Pasdon had a whole slew of meetings this week. Here's a peek into some of her appointments:

Danny Dailey, Technology Director at Lincoln County Schools spoke with Amanda about how we can get technology in the hands of our students to provide the most effective learning environment possible.

Amanda held a video conference with the National Center for Excellence in Women’s Health at WVU to discuss their nation-wide efforts at improving women's health education and promoting female leadership across healthcare fields.

Mike Donally of the Home School Legal Defense Association stopped by to speak about some close to home issues with Amanda; she was a homeschooler not so long ago (a few members of our committee and staff also home school their kids)!

Amanda sat down with some WVU student leaders in hopes of establishing future collaborations  

Charles Liao, Executive Officer, Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office paid Amanda a visit to continue a long standing relationship between heads of the two offices 

Amanda also made appearances on Talkline, Legislature Today, The Mike Queen Show, Decision Makers She frequently appears as a blur throughout the House Ed corridors as she hastens between appointments!

Committee Updates

Not to be outdone by Chairwoman Pasdon, the members of House Education dedicated more than a full work day worth of time this week to committee meetings. 

Monday afternoon the committee gathered to discuss H.B. 2005 Relating to alternative programs for the education of teachers, and H.B. 2160 Making West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind eligible to participate in any and all funding administered or distributed by the West Virginia School Building Authority. 

The committee really proved their diligence, resolutely continuing conversation into the night. Most of our guests stuck around too to provide the committee with their expertise on the topics at hand. We cannot thank these guests enough for the valuable help they provided:

Monica Beane, Executive Director, Office of Professional Preparation of the West Virginia Department of Education
Heather Hutchens, Counsel to the West Virginia Board of Education
Will Nash, Executive Director of Teach for America Appalachia
Dr. Corley Dennison, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission
Dr. Scott Wolmack, USA, Ret., of Monroe County High School 
Mary Catherine Funk, Counsel to the West Virginia Board of Education,
David Sneed, Executive Director of the School Building Authority

Much to the consternation of everyone present Wednesday's committee meeting ended before the sun set.

Guests, Dr. Michael Martirano, State Superintendent of Schools, Joe Panetta, COO, Division of Student Support Services of the West Virginia Department of Education, and Terry Harless, CFO, Office of Internal Operations of the West Virginia Department of Education spoke to the committee about the State Board of Education’s budgeting and operations. 

Our subcommittee on the Public School Support Program convened twice this week to learn all they could on the workings of the Support Program in preparation for the upcoming presentation to the full committee  

Cheat Sheet

A Look Into Next Week

Chairwoman Pasdon will appear on Decision Makers Sunday morning

The Committee will be discussing H.B.2151 Making the West Virginia state teacher of the year an ex officio, nonvoting member of the West Virginia Board of Education and the Public School Support Plan

Follow us on Twitter @WVHouseEd

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Blackboard

Welcome to the Blackboard!

This is the new place to gain insight on the 2015 House Of Delegates Committee on Education.

Let’s get started with some introductions!

The members of the 2015 House Education Committee are:
Delegate Amanda Pasdon Chair
Delegate Walter Duke Vice-Chair
Delegate David Perry Minority Chair
Delegate Rick Moye Minority Vice-Chair

Don’t worry; we’ll make sure you get to know the committee members over the next few weeks.

Chair’s Corner
Our new leadership hit the ground running; Amanda had a very busy week. Here’s a peak at some of this week’s meetings:

She met with Shiloh Woodard of the WV Child Advocacy Network concerning the implementation of Erin’s Law in West Virginia.  Erin’s Law requires schools to enact child sexual abuse prevention programming. More information about Erin’s Law is available here.

The School Board Association presented recommendations to Amanda on education improvements that begin at the county level. The improvements included polishing up the county board code and refocusing RESA.

She discussed areas of concern, calendar planning and Next Generation Standards with members of the State School Board.

Representatives from regional and state colleges paid her a visit to explore how best to enhance the efficiency, best practices, and budgeting of local higher education institutions.

Amanda has also been having regular meetings with Senator Sypolt, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, in order to discuss joint projects.

Committee Updates
During Wednesday’s committee meeting Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, Chief Officer of Career and Technical Education of the West Virginia Department of Education presented to the committee on the success of the student led Simulated Workplace Program. Students are accountable for much of the learning process in the program and instructors are able to exercise flexibility and creativity implementing curriculum. More information on this growing program can be found here.

Before the close of the committee meeting Chairwoman Pasdon announced the formation of a subcommittee to study the Public School Support Program. This program, also known as the School Aid Formula, is the basic foundation allowance program that provides funding to local school districts for all of the following programs:
personnel salaries
employee benefit costs
transportation operation costs
general operating costs
substitute costs
allowances for faculty senates
improvement of instructional programs
increase in technology funding
advanced placement programs

The subcommittee’s assignment is to take an in-depth look at the program in order to provide advanced comprehension during the February 2nd presentation on the topic. The subcommittee is to be comprised of the following members: Delegate Hamrick, Delegate Kelly, Delegate Kurcaba, Delegate Moye, and Delegate Pushkin. Delegate Duke and Delegate Espinosa will serve as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively.

It looks like the subcommittee is already hard at work!!

A look into next week:
Committee meeting Monday, January 26, 2015 we will be discussing H.B. 2160 and will be hosting guests from the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind.


Follow us @wvhouseed for daily news and info!