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Education in West Virginia

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Education in West Virginia

Formal public school Education in West Virginia falls under the auspices of the West Virginia Department of Education. Each county in West Virginia constitutes a school district.

Educational stigma

West Virginia has long been recognized for its coal mining industry and its emphasis on agricultural manual labor. It is because of the cultural history, largely relating to agriculture and coal mining, that West Virginians have been thought to be less educated and stereotyped as such. Terms such as "hillbilly" and "incest" have surfaced in association to the citizens who live in West Virginia where these imposed labels simply have no credible stance in current West Virginian society. The statement and opinions of those who view the people of West Virginia as uneducated, or less educated, have no credible stance either. In fact, West Virginia, on average, has a high school graduation rate of 74.7% which is congruent with the national average of 77% in 2010. This information was made public in a press release made by the West Virginia Department of Education on June 10, 2013. According to the Fall 2011 report from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, of the 18,001 students who graduated during the 2010–11 school year, an estimated 10,423 (57.9%) of those students enrolled in higher education institutions in the fall semester of 2011.

Education administration

West Virginia Board of Education

The West Virginia Board of Education is established in the West Virginia Constitution. The Board is vested with general supervision of West Virginia's 834 elementary and secondary schools. Its twelve members include nine citizens appointed by the governor and three non-voting ex-officio members: the State Superintendent of Schools, the Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and the Chancellor of Community and Technical Education. The State Superintendent is a constitutional officer who serves at the will of the board. Board members serve overlapping terms of nine years, and no more than five citizen members may belong to the same political party.

The West Virginia Board of Education meets monthly to determine the educational policies of the elementary and secondary schools and to establish the rules that carry into effect state law regarding education. The State Board of Education also has general control, supervision, and management of the business and educational affairs of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind in Romney.

County Boards of Education

For each K-12 school district there is a board of education with at least five members who are chosen by election in non-partisan races. Though no more than two members may reside in the same magisterial district, members are elected by residents of the entire county.[1] Active teachers and service personnel are not eligible for election to the county Board of Education.[2] Members are elected to four-year terms in which the election occurs during the regular primary election in even years.[3]

In addition to the Boards of Education, each district also has an appointed Superintendent. He/she typically serves as the Executive Officer of the county school district and is responsible for enforcing policies of the West Virginia Board of Education.[4] Assignments, transfers, suspensions, and promotions made by the County Superintendent are subject to approval by the county Board of Education. The Superintendent must be a resident of the county in which he/she serves or in a contiguous West Virginia county.

Each county school district falls within one of eight Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs).


Colleges and universities

High schools

Mount de Chantal Visitation Academy, Wheeling, West Virginia

Golden Horseshoe

All eighth grade students in the state West Virginia take a history or social studies class based on the history of the state. Students may elect to take the Golden Horseshoe test at county level.

Two hundred twenty-one West Virginia eighth graders receive the award each year. The two top-scoring students from each county are given the award (total of 110), as are another 110 students selected throughout the state based on population. In addition, the top-scoring student from the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind is presented the award. There is a knighting ceremony for the winners.

Math Field Day

See Math Field Day.

See also


Education, W. V. (2013, June 10). Graduation Rates Increasing But West Virginia Still Faces Problem Areas. Retrieved March 4, 2014, from West Virginia Department of Education:

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. (2011). West Virginia College Going Rates By County and High School Fall 2011. Charleston: West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

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External links

  • West Virginia Department of Education
  • College for West Virginians
  • WESTEST: West Virginia Educational Standards Test
  • West Virginia Commission for Professional Teaching Standards
  • West Virginia Education Information System
  • List of West Virginia County Board Offices and RESA Offices
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