Education Reform Bill Passes House Despite Large Teacher Turnout Against It

CHARLESTON, W.Va (WOAY) – Today the House of Delegates met at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston for a special session on education reform. The Education Reform Subcommittee edited the Senate’s Student Success Act, and their edited version passed the House tonight. The full vote will take place on Wednesday.

There was a sea of blue, camouflage, and lots of red on the Capitol steps on Monday.

Public school teachers from across the state showed up to rally against the Student Success Act that would allow for charter schools and education savings accounts. Teachers believe these new programs would draw from public school funding.

“How dare you come for our children?” Wayne County teacher Cassady Berry said. “How dare you Mitch Carmichael?  You know better.  You’re educated. Somebody taught you better than that. Where is this coming from?”

While the House broke into subcommittees to edit the bill, the United Mine Workers of American joined the teachers to show solidarity, but they weren’t the only ones. People came from out of state and even students were there to show their support.

“Sometimes they see it as teachers versus students versus everyone else. But we’re in the same building every day almost to the point where you accidentally call them, ‘Mom,'” South Charleston graduate A-Nya Badger said. “A teacher would give the shirt off their back for a student and so we’re trying to support them back.”

The House reconvened on Monday night to read the first of the edits to the bill, and the bill’s edits did pass, so they will have a full vote on Wednesday. Teachers also plan to show up.

“They are trying to beat us down. There is no doubt about it. And this is obvious proof to have a special session in the middle of the summer when you know they think that we weren’t gonna be around but we are here,” Shady Spring Elementary School teacher Linda Boyd said. “We will never quit fighting for our students. We really believe that all students, all students deserve a quality education.”

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Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.