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Education bill a good start despite politics involved

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Senate Bill 359 is officially on its way to the governor's desk. Sponsored and shepherded through both the House of Delegates and Senate by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, this is a good piece of legislation that is a solid first step in what we hope will be a continual process of making certain our kids get the best education they possibly can.

This bill is by no means perfect, but more on that in a moment. By getting this bill through both houses and by both sides coming together to hammer out a deal, our elected leaders have proven they can retreat from political and ideological entrenchment and truly come together.

Education, sadly, has often been the most politicized issue in this state. Teachers unions have long held sway with those in power and used their weight to scuttle any attempt at meaningful change in our schools. Special interests still have undue influence, and parts of this bill certainly attest to that. Their refusals to truly negotiate on the issue of seniority and their outright opposition to bringing in groups like Teach for America to work in some of our most impoverished and needy areas further prove where their loyalties lie.

When this bill is revisited — and it must be revisited often — we hope our elected leaders will further the call to put students first and all others second.