CHARLESTON — “And we continue to focus on making the most of the tremendous opportunities presented by both the Marcellus and Utica Shale. The Shale development and the potential economic growth and jobs that will come with the revitalization of the manufacturing sector are astounding; and West Virginia is right in the center of it all.
“Working together, we've achieved great things. And I reaffirm my commitment to you today: I will continue to spend every minute working to make West Virginia a better place.
“Now, make no mistake, I remain concerned about our future. All of our hard work will be for nothing if jobs are not available and if our children are not prepared to thrive and be productive citizens in our workforce. If our children are to succeed, they must have a world-class education and must grow up in a community free from the temptations and problems associated with substance abuse.
“We have hard working teachers. Per capita, our education funding ranks among the nation's best. But on our most important metric—student achievement—we're falling behind. It doesn't need to be this way—and it must stop.
“The key to our success lies in making sure our children are prepared and ready to have a successful career in the 21st century economy. That means focusing to ensure our youngest get started on the right track, with meaningful programs designed to make sure that, by the third grade, children have the key building blocks for a lifetime of learning. That means making sure our vocational training programs are responsive to the needs of today's economy. That means making sure our institutions of higher learning have programs designed to prepare our teachers to teach in today's world. That means making sure that teachers have the support they need in their classrooms. That means ensuring our students are guaranteed the instructional time they need to excel. That means giving our school systems the ability to be innovative. And that means making sure parents become more responsible for their children and their learning. It won't happen overnight—but we must give our students a better chance at success.