Is West Virginia Legislation Doing More Harm Than Good? 

Is West Virginia Legislation Doing More Harm Than Good? 

Georgia Hensley, Author

A new bill has just been passed by West Virginia State Legislature. Effective as of March 13, 2021, Senate Bill 14— or SB 14— approves any person to become a professionally certified teacher in public schools if they have received a bachelor’s degree and are able to pass an official background check.

“Providing for additional options for alternative certification,” reads the official summary of the legislation. However, SB 14 is not the first bill to offer alternate certification for new teachers.

“[Recipients must] have relevant academic or occupational qualifications that reasonably indicate that the person will be competent to fill the teaching position in which he or she would be employed. For purposes of this section, ‘reasonably indicate’ means an academic major or occupation the same as or similar to the subject matter to which the alternative program teacher is being hired to teach,” states previous legislation, SB 623. 

SB 14 is essentially an addendum to the aforementioned law that further simplifies the process of receiving official certification, approving applicants as certified teachers even if their degree isn’t related to the subject area in which they plan to teach. 

The Bill was written and sponsored by five state senators: Sen. Patricia Rucker [R], Sen. Rollan Roberts [R], Sen. Tom Takubo [R], Sen. Michael Maroney [R], and Sen. William Swope [R].

To the general public, the motivation behind this legislation may be unclear. However, for those familiar with our state’s department of education understand that teachers in the public school system have been notoriously underpaid and mistreated. Just recently, another bill passed through both the WV Senate and House of Delegates completely revoking public workers’ right to strike. This revocation and insufficient pay has led many West Virginia teachers to either quit or relocate, leaving the state with some large gaps to fill. 

Rather than finding a solution that would benefit our public school system and teachers, our government continues to dig the hole deeper by putting less and less effort into our future’s most valuable resource: the students. 

SB 14 poses a serious detriment to the education of the present and future generations. Without properly trained instructors, will children even benefit from their schooling?