Education: Public forums are an opportunity to be heard

West Virginia lawmakers will spend the next several weeks learning what they can about public education, in preparation for a special session they will hold on the topic later this spring. The more facts they can gather — and the more opinions they can hear — the better.

To that end, the state Department of Education plans a series of seven public forums on schools. The first will be held Monday in Cabell County.

It appears as though no forum has been scheduled for the Mid-Ohio Valley — but events in Harrison County and Wheeling are also close enough that local residents should be able to make the trip. (Dates and times for those other events have not been announced.)

Lawmakers have a responsibility — no, a duty — to be open-minded, to listen, to set aside their agendas and hold nothing but the education of our young people as their highest priority.

Local residents had plenty to say on the matters at hand, when they were under scrutiny during the legislative session. Those who genuinely have insight and questions should take advantage of this opportunity. It is not going too far to say that the upcoming legislative session is aimed at foundational improvements in public education.

And that means, of course, that those bent on simply complaining without offering a solution or trolling lawmakers should stay far, far away.

Attending one of the nearby meetings may be the best opportunity for the rest of us to positvely affect the process.