Many of the greatest minds of history held that the ultimate purpose of education is the pursuit of truth and virtue. Unfortunately, our own State Board of Education has turned this pursuit of higher knowledge on its head, into a bureaucratic nightmare for both our children and our teachers of West Virginia. This has been done through a system of education that now requires our children and teachers to soak-up months of the precious school year expending all of their energy on endless ‘assessments,’—including the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA)—which is a key part of the Common Core policy which has plagued our schools. Not only is our education system now burdened with valueless testing, which takes up months of time simply preparing and administering—it is also costing our taxpayers around $24 Million per year, money our state cannot afford in these uncertain economic times.
This is why I have filed a lawsuit against the State Board of Education—in order to prevent the harm being done to our children, our teachers, and the taxpayers of our great state.
The merits of the case I have filed are a serious matter. First, the State Board of Education has not followed the law (W.Va. Code § 18-2H-2) in West Virginia, after it blindly adopted both Common Core and all of the prolonged testing that goes with it. Our law requires 60 days of public notice with any “significant” education policy change, and our law also requires at least 4 public hearings be held around the state. This never took place—our law was just simply ignored.
Perhaps most egregious though, entering into the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is a violation of the US Constitution’s Compact Clause (Art. I, Sec. 10, cl. 3). Even though the Common Core & SBA was shoved on us by the elites in Washington DC and our own State School Board, the US Congress never held a vote on the SBAC as required by the U.S. Constitution. Our state government cannot simply enter into Interstate Compacts without the consent of Congress and our State legislature—especially agreements that “radically reshape the Education system” (Quote from the SBAC’s own documents on their stated purpose)—without the people’s representatives ever casting a vote.
This cannot be about politics in my mind. Our children cannot be used like guinea pigs in a laboratory experiment for this radical testing, and these radical standards and curriculum now being taught in our schools—all of which is wasting taxpayer money, and squandering precious time our children and our own teachers can spend on real learning and true knowledge.
Above all, I took an oath to defend the US & WV Constitutions. I take that oath seriously. Many times, defending that oath helps the people of our state the most. We must help our children in West Virginia, no matter which political party is wrong. The implementation of Common Core and SBA was forced on our children, without following the law, without any vote by the people’s representatives, and without any clear transparency or deliberation. The days of trying every new group-think fad brought to us by these education elitists needs to end. We need to get back to the basics for our children, allow teachers to actually teach—and pursue real knowledge that will help our children have a better future.
Michael Folk is a member of the WV House of Delegates. Mike is also the father of four children, an airline pilot, and a former educator in both the public school system and in college. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, folk4wv.com, or on FB at WV Delegate Mike Folk.