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Legislative LookAhead: Education, West Virginia workforce issues to receive legislative attention

By Steven Allen Adams, Parkersburg News and Sentinel

CHARLESTON, W.Va. —  With West Virginia students struggling with reading and math and the state attracting major manufacturers in need of a workforce, lawmakers and stakeholders are looking at addressing these concerns during the 60-day legislative session beginning next week.

During the West Virginia Press Association’s annual Legislative Lookahead Friday at the Culture Center in Charleston, Senate President Craig Blair and House Speaker Roger Hanshaw laid out their plans for improving public education and growing the workforce.

Blair, R-Berkeley, said both issues are connected.“Education in the State of West Virginia is an economic development tool,” he said.

Blair appointed Sen. Amy Grady, R-Mason, as the new chair of the Senate Education Committee over the summer. Grady, a school teacher, replaces former Chairwoman Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, who was appointed to chair the new Senate Alternate Education Committee formed to oversee the state’s school choice programs.

“We’ve done just about all we can do for alternative education, whether it’s charter schools or home schools,” Blair said. “We’ll keep our eyes on that, and if anything needs to be tuned up to be able to address that, we will. But Amy Grady is the first education chair in over 50 years that is actually in education.”

“I believe that (Grady) is going to be one of the greatest assets on being able to move West Virginia forward and being able to get education correct for the people of West Virginia, for our students in West Virginia,” Blair said. …

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