Teachers continue fight for education reform

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MONONGALIA COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) - A group of teachers stood alongside Patteson Drive in the heart of downtown Morgantown to spread a message.

Teachers and school employees fear that during the upcoming special session on education reform, legislators will try to revive parts of Senate Bill 451, also known as the "omnibus bill."

"They've now added the omnibus bill. Earlier this year we went out to defeat that bill and it did happen," Carrie Beatty, an English teacher at University high school said "But now they're bringing it back in special session,"

One of the many issues teachers have with the bill is the funding of charter schools. Beatty says there are no numbers that support them and wishes the focus would instead be on funding public schooling.

"No research supports their success," said Beatty "And ultimately we're here for public schools, for all of our kids."

Beatty also says that charter schools, which would be funded by tax dollars, aren't accessible to a lot of students.

"We don't want just a fraction of the student population to succeed," Beatty said. "We want all of our kids to succeed, we just need the funds to do it."

Teachers are fighting for funding to instead go into things such as wrap-around services.

"Those are the supportive services that you don't necessarily associate with school," said Beatty "Those are your social workers, your school psychologist."

These services would help teachers who have students that are facing issues such as hunger and drug addiction.

"We're getting the first tip of the wave with the opioid crisis," Beatty said. "And this is the first wave of students, in ten years it's going to be exponentially worse if we don't get the funds and we don't get those wraparound services."

And while there's no definite date set yet for the special session Beatty says she plans on being in Charleston.

"They need to understand that we're still woke, we're still paying attention, and we're still fighting for our kids," Beatty said.

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