State’s ranking in educational study dismal

Children in West Virginia have better lives and better prospects than they did just a few years ago, according to a report released this week. But we can do better – and the new study makes it clear where we need to start.

Based on 16 indicators ranging from family incomes to health, the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks West Virginia as 37th in the U.S. in terms of children’s well-being.

Where we can, we have made improvements during the past several years. For example, one of the report’s 16 indicators is whether children have health insurance. In West Virginia, there is virtually no good reason for a child to be without insurance.

But education is another indicator – and there, we have failed. Mountain State children do not fare well in measures of proficiency in reading and mathematics. The state ranks a dismal 46th in education, according to the foundation.

Improving our public schools should be a priority in making our children’s lives better.

We can do it. Other states with limited resources have improved schools dramatically. A comprehensive state law lays out a blueprint for reform here.

Major changes take time, of course. But every year that goes by without school reform leaves thousands of children by the wayside.