State superintendent ready to hash out Common Core

By in News

Dr. Michael Martirano

MetroNews staff photo Dr. Michael Martirano

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Superintendent of School’s Dr. Michael Martirano had to hit the ground running in the 2015 regular legislative session. It was Martirano’s first experience with the West Virginia Legislature and it was the first time Republicans were in charge and the Common Core Curriculum was on the firing line.

Legislation to scrap Common Core drew sharp debate and at times put Martirano in a defensive posture of a system he hasn’t been in charge of for very long. He was successful in preserving Common Core with the promise of working out whatever problems critics will have.

“This next year I will be very much accelerating a very robust listening and learning tour,” Martirano said. “I’ve visited 21 counties and I’ve heard from our teachers. I want to continue to hear what the problems are.”

Martirano believes the biggest problem with Common Core as it is implemented in West Virginia is few truly understand much about it. The standards nationally have been heavily criticized and the name itself in many ways draws a negative reaction.

“To date no one specifically has identified a specific standard they have a problem with, ” he said. “I want people to voice to me very clearly what their concerns are and maybe educate our parents and state more about what Common Core is and isn’t. What I found was people just really didn’t know.”

Martirano wants to improve communication between the state Department of Education and parents. He intends to add a “parent portal” to the state department’s website. He also wants to hear from more parents as well as administrators and educators and wants to put resources into the hands of those administrators co effectively communicate what’s happening in the West Virginia classrooms.

He hopes by taking those actions over the next year, the 2016 regular session will be much more productive for education.

“I’d like to do some pro-active thought processes before going into the legislative session,” Martirano explained. “To have more dialogue about recommendations that could be made to legislation to enhance the session next year.”