W.Va. Speaker of House to push legislation to bring classroom aides to 1st & 2nd grades
ANSTED, W.Va. (WVVA) - Speaker of the House of Delegates Roger Hanshaw is working on a legislative proposal to put teachers’ aides in all of the West Virginia’s first and second grade classrooms. The state currently provides funding to have aides in Kindergarten classes.
Speaker Hanshaw and state education leaders toured Ansted Elementary School on Monday, which already has a similar program in place thanks to federal funding administered through Marshall University.
The school’s principal, Marchelle Bowling, said the additional aides who work directly with students on development plans, have been instrumental in boosting test scores. “They’ve been phenomenal in our test scores and you can see that in our phonics continium and data.”
While federal funding for the program expires next year, Speaker Hanshaw hopes to have legislation in the next session to take the program statewide.
“If a student finishes third grade in America and doesn’t read at grade level, the odds of that student ever reading at grade level is nine percent. That’s incredible. It’s unacceptable that we would let a student reach the third grade not at a reading level because they’re never going to catch up again.”
Speaker Hanshaw said the one-on-one help at an early age has been proven to be helpful to students not only in English, but Math. “Being 41st in the nation among students in fourth grade that cannot perform at grade level is flat unacceptable. We have to make sure we’re giving kids the opportunity to actually succeed. And giving them an edge at the earliest grade level is one of the ways we do that.”
His hope is to convince colleagues in both the House and Senate to support the initiative for the state’s youngest learners.
“We have historic budget surpluses. When we think of what the past two years has meant to students and teachers and families....we know there have been negative implications of remote learning and putting those students back on a track to success is important.”
After their visit to Ansted Elementary School, Speaker Hanshaw and the state education leaders paid a visit to Pineville Elementary School, which has a similar program in place.
Copyright 2022 WVVA. All rights reserved.