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Education

Ellington brings fresh set of eyes to problems

A new chairman has been named for the West Virginia House of Delegates Education Committee. House Speaker Roger Hanshaw’s choice to lead the panel is being criticized already — because he lacks a background in education.

Hanshaw, R-Clay, selected Del. Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, for the education chairmanship. Ellington has said his priorities include workforce training, higher education and the transition from K-12 schools to colleges and universities.

Good. Ensuring public school students are ready for careers or higher education has been a challenge.

But Ellington, an obstetrician-gynecologist, is being criticized by some because he has not worked in education.

Personal familiarity with the school system can be helpful in some ways. And obviously, Ellington will have to familiarize himself with the intricacies of both public schools and higher education. He can rely on the many House colleagues who have backgrounds in that.

But Ellington brings a fresh set of eyes to the problem of improving education in West Virginia. It may be that his lack of familiarity with the ways things have always been done in our schools will be an advantage, not an obstacle.

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Just four states allow online gambling, so West Virginia officials may be eager to get in the game. Legislators authorized such an operation earlier this year.

But state Lottery Commission officials appear to be taking their time in getting a mechanism in place for what some are calling iGaming.

Lottery Director John Myers told MetroNews a few days ago that state officials want to look at how other states (to date, just Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware) manage online gambling. The idea is to “make sure we are doing it the right way,” Myers commented.

Good — though relying on expertise from other states where online gambling is new carries its own risks.

Experience with still-new online sports betting books has given Mountain State officials some sense of the many difficulties involved. Better to go slow now than to risk a meltdown later.