Let's focus on what matters – our children’s education

By Craig Blair | May 21, 2019

West Virginia state Sen. Craig Blair, right, speaks with a colleague on the floor of the Senate   Photo courtesy Jacque Bland

MARINTSBURG – Recently, liberal union bosses and their allies at the Charleston-Gazette Mail have been leveling complaints and allegations against a respected, devoted member of the West Virginia State Senate.

They use fancy words like plagiarism to make readers and voters believe something is terribly wrong and only they can fix it.  What they don’t tell you is that the senator they are attacking did nothing wrong.  Moreover, the senator wrote content using the same ethical standards often used by newspaper reporters and big union boss Dale Lee himself.  

An article written by Jonathon Bailey for Plagiarism Today states “Plagiarism, generally, is defined as presenting the words, ideas or work of another as your own, without attribution.” It goes on “… that the content use has to be outside of the acceptable boundaries for the work.” Further, “Ethically, it is considered acceptable for a politician to use a speechwriter and does not attribute them. 

However, a student who turns to an essay mill for an assignment is a clear plagiarist. The “key difference” is “the expectations of the audience and how much the work depends upon the integrity of the authorship.”  


Rucker  

This is similar to the situation where the Charleston Gazette Mail is attacking Senator Patricia Rucker for something they want readers to believe is wrong. Interestingly, it ignores a nearly exact situation involving Union Boss Dale Lee.

Lee wrote an OpEd (https://www.wvea.org/content/dale-lee-common-core-state-initiative-compete-globally) seemingly to support Common Core teaching standards.  Much of the exact same wording appeared in an article published by The Huffington Post in 2015.  

Why the criticism of Rucker but ignoring a very similar situation involving Lee?  Could it be because of politics, political agendas and the current debate about how to improve our failing education system?

I believe these are just political tactics in an attempt to distract voters from the real issues. We shouldn’t be focused on whether Senator Rucker used a source for information or not or if Dale Lee used The Huffington Post to bolster his own support for Common Core.  

We should be focusing on how the taxpayers of West Virginia pay more than taxpayers in most other states to fund an education system that ranks nearly last in all important categories, such as math, reading and science. We should be working together to fix our broken system, because our children deserve a world-class education.

We should be working to give parents more control over their own children’s education and we should be working to make sure our teachers get the pay increases they need to compete on a national level.  

I believe we should be asking why we ask our citizens to spend nearly 3 BILLION dollars of their taxes per year on an education system that isn’t providing our students with the world class education they deserve.

How in the world can the union bosses tell children, parents, teachers and taxpayers that the only thing needed to improve public education is to give them more of our hard earned tax dollars? We already spend more than most states but rank behind nearly all states in student success.  

Why is last place acceptable to some people? We need to make sure more of our money gets to the classroom. 

We should not be asking our teachers to buy classroom materials, asking our students to use worn-out and old textbooks and our citizens to throw more money at a broken system when that system gets almost half of our state’s entire budget already.

I can promise you that I and other conservatives in the West Virginia State Senate will fight like heck to improve our education system for our kids, their parents, teachers, and taxpayers. Last place is no longer acceptable. Our state deserves better. Our state can have better. 

You can quote me on that, or not, and I won’t say you plagiarized me.

Blair is a Republican state Senator from Berkeley County.

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