State Board of Education member Gayle Manchin said Nov. 20 that the need to change the deep-seeded culture at West Virginia's public school system prompted her vote last week to fire Superintendent Jorea Marple.
Manchin blamed a mindset at the state Department of Education — though not one shared by all there, she said — for West Virginia's chronically poor rankings on test scores and graduation rates. She also cited the significant taxpayer investments in the public schools, including close to $2 billion this budget year. It's one of the highest investments of education in the country, she said, but the "results certainly do not attest to that."
"My personal opinion was based on, do we have an individual that can change the culture and the environment?" Manchin said. "In order to do that, we had to have change. It's not personal, it's not even about one person. It's about culture and environment."