Chamber of Commerce talks charter schools in W.Va. - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Chamber of Commerce talks charter schools in W.Va.


West Virginia is one of seven states in the country that does not allow public charter schools as a form of education.

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce met today at The Greenbrier Resort to discuss options for charter schools.

Members of the Chamber of Commerce say it's important for parents and teachers to remember that charter schools will not replace traditional schools, but simply provide another option for students.

The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce hopes to bring jobs and opportunities to the state of West Virginia.

"The people we have gathered are our state's business leaders. They are the people who really have skin in the game, they care about our state, they love our state, and they want to use their brain power, their resources to make sure our state is on the right track,” said Steve Roberts, president of the WV Chamber of Commerce.

During a two day retreat, Chamber members are discussing ways to enhance education in the mountain state.

"We think it's time West Virginia joined the 21-st century and began to have charter schools,” said Roberts.

Roberts describes a charter school as a public school that operates with locally made rules. He says the Chamber believes charter schools will help improve academic performance.

"Charter schools allow for very individualized education and a lot of innovation which we need here in West Virginia,” said Eugenie Taylor, special issues coordinator for the WV Chamber of Commerce.

Taylor says charter schools focus on specific careers, such as media arts, tourism or sciences by teaching students with project based education. Other charter schools are geared to help students who are falling behind.

"Charter schools are first of all not an answer to all the education woes in our state or country, but they can be a tool in the toolbox for communities,” said Taylor.

The chamber is hopeful that lawmakers will introduce a public charter school law in 2016. A public charter school law would allow pre-k through 12th grade students another option for education.  If the bill passes, chamber members say we could see a charter school opening within a year.

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