Low pay, classroom requirements frustrate West Virginia teacher - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

West Virginia Education Association to hold news conference

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CHARLESTON, WV -

The West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) is scheduling a news conference to discuss what it's calling a "current issue of concern." The goals are to address and bring attention to issues like classroom requirements and teacher recruitment.

West Virginia ranks 48th in the country in teacher pay and teachers say they aren't happy about it.

"There's a frustration level out there that's unlike ever before," said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, "More and more counties started this year with openings in their school system. More than ever before," said Lee. 

Several reasons for the lack of teachers are new requirements.  Lee said teachers now must navigate new evaluation systems, new testing and even new grade books. 

Another point of frustration for teachers is pay.

According to the National Education Association's 2012 study, New York ranked number one in teacher salary, paying an average of $73,398.  West Virginia was on the bottom of the list at number 48, with an average salary of $45,320. South Dakota ranked last, with an average teacher salary of $38,804.

"The one thing you can't put dollar value on is a student coming back to you years later and thanking that teacher and saying you made a difference," said Lee. 

Which is why he hopes the meeting will bring the focus back into the classroom.

"We have to make education important for our children. Our children have to see that it's important, parents have to see it's important and politicians have to see that it's important," he said.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday afternoon at the WVEA headquarters in Charleston.