Forum seeks input from W.Va. educators

February 14, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - What will public school students need to learn in the 21st century to be successful: New ways of learning math and science? More emphasis on critical thinking?

Those types of issues are being debated as the West Virginia Department of Education goes on the road to get input on how public education should be offered in coming years.

The state Department of Education is hosting eight forums, called, "Voices from the Field: A Forum for WV Educators," across the state to get input from educators, according to department spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro.


The forum was in Parkersburg, W.Va., on Monday, was scheduled to be in Fairmont, W.Va., today and will b at Hedgesville High School on Wednesday, Cordeiro said.

State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine, former superintendent of Morgan County Schools, came up with the idea of the forum to allow teachers to shape the vision for 21st-century classrooms, according to a press release from the department.

Teachers also will be asked what type of resources and support they will need, the release said.

"We want to hear from teachers what they need in the classroom ... to produce what we call the 21st-century learner," Cordeiro said Monday.

Cordeiro said classrooms will continue to focus on the core areas of English, science and math and how to add rigor to them. Beyond that, Cordeiro said she thinks the discussions will center on expanding critical thinking, communication and problem solving skills.

In the forums, teachers are being divided into small discussion groups of about 10 teachers each, Cordeiro said.

The groups then deliver a report about their findings, said Cordeiro, adding that Paine plans to deliver the information to Gov. Joe Manchin and the Legislature.

As the forum continues, the comments will be posted on a Web site at

The co-president of the Berkeley County Education Association said he thinks the emphasis will be on what students need to succeed after getting out of school.

Marty Soltis said educators can require that students read another math or science book, but that is "just more of what they are doing."

What needs to happen is how those subject areas can be explored differently, Soltis said.

Public forum

What: Eastern Panhandle educators are invited to Voices from the Field: A Forum for WV Educators.

When: Wednesday, 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Hedgesville High School at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Ridge Road.

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