Education

WPM is committed to covering education issues in Wyoming in a thoughtful and thorough way. This main page captures all education-related stories we've aired, and updates you on broad issues.

Check out our Strengthening Education Reporting page for stories focused primarily on graduation rates and how to encourage an upward trend in education.

A complicated bill intended to improve how Wyoming tracks education progress has passed the legislature. 

The Education Accountability bill passed following a closed door caucus in the House of Representatives. It was approved with no public debate on the House floor.  

The primary concern of opponents is over how much testing Wyoming will use to both assess student progress and how particular districts or schools are doing.   Earlier in the day the Senate agreed to changes in the bill.

The Wyoming House of Representatives passed a much-debated education accountability measure. 

Wyoming Education Association President Kathryn Valido is optimistic about the bill, but she still isn’t sure what it will do for education.

“That’s the million dollar question, I really don’t know what it’s going to do,” says Valido. “I do know there are some things that we are a little cautious about.  We still are hearing a little too much about testing, testing, testing and not enough about being creative, thinking skills, that whole side of education.”

The Wyoming House is wrapping up work on an enormous education accountability bill.  During second reading debate on the bill, Casper Republican Steve Harshman added a massive amendment that clarifies a number of standards lawmakers want students to meet including writing.  Harshman says it also notes that the ACT will be the way the state will track students who are high school juniors and, overall,he says the bill has clear goals.

The Wyoming House of Representatives has begun debating a major education reform measure.  The House gave initial approval to the Education Accountability Bill that is intended to improve all levels of education.   Various types of testing will be part of the process, but despite concerns by the State Superintendent and some legislators, House Education Chairman Matt Teeters says additional testing is not part of the bill. “My belief, depends on who you talk to, but my belief the amount of testing we will do, also because we are timing PAWS will actually be less,” Teeters said. Teeters says

The State Senate gave final approval to a major Education Accountability measure.  It provides testing and other procedures to keep students, teachers, administrators and parents accountable for a child’s education.  The Senate approved an amendment that would allow school districts to better track how students are doing throughout their entire career. Senator Chris Rothfuss says it’s a different approach. “Tracking a student’s growth year to year -- how good are they one year, the next year, the following year…in K-12.  And that’s what we are trying to track from the growth standpoint,” Ro

The Wyoming Senate has revived a school finance measure with onesignificant change:The bill removes the controversial regional cost adjustment known as the hedonic model that caused the measure to fail in the house.

That provision would remove funding from communities with amenities and could have cost Teton County four million dollars. 

Wyoming ranks twenty-third in the nation in student performance and progress. That’s according to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2011 annual Report Card on American Education. While the score rose from twenty-eighth place in 2010, the report accuses Wyoming of misspending a financial windfall—spending a great deal of money with little to show for it.

The State Department of Education says school districts developing anti-bullying plans will do a lot to improve not only behavior, but education in the state.  Wyoming’s most recent youth risk behavior survey found that a quarter of high school students and better than 50 percent of middle school students in the state experienced bullying.  Superintendent of Schools Cindy Hill said bullying is unacceptable.  She said they have found that schools with no tolerance for bullying actually are higher performing schools and Hill says that is not surprising.

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Last spring, Laramie County school district number one, which serves all of Cheyenne, started working on its bullying plan.  It will train everyone from teachers to students. Recently, the district was reminded how important these efforts are as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

The Wyoming School Boards Association will monitor how school districts handle tougher University of Wyoming admission standards that take effect in 2013.  Association executive director Mark Higdon says the university is doing what it thinks best for the students but the devil will be
in the details.

The new admission standards were approved last Friday by the UW
Board of Trustees. They are aimed at improving the retention and
graduation rates of students who attend the state's only public
four-year university.

Officials at Sheridan Memorial Hospital have been notified that the hospital could be downgraded from a tier one hospital to tier two by the Wyoming School Board Association Insurance Trust otherwise known as WSBAIT. The rating does not reflect the level of service provided by Sheridan Memorial, but rather reflects that educators covered by WSBAIT will now have to pay more out of pocket for services at the hospital than to hospitals rated tier one by the trust.

Wyoming Superintendent Cindy Hill asked the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees to reconsider raising its admission standards so as not to exclude Wyoming high school students who struggle with their test scores.

Under the new guidelines, in order to be assured admission admitted, students would need three-point-oh G-P-As and an A-C-T score of 21. They would also have to take additional foreign language classes in high school. Students who don’t meet certain standards would be admitted, on condition of participating in a ‘Synergy Program’ to bring them up to speed.

Wyoming students have improved their math and reading scores on a national assessment test.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress released its 2011 results Tuesday. The test measures math and reading among fourth and eighth graders nationwide.
Wyoming fourth graders scored four points better on average than the national average in both subjects, while eighth graders were five points better on math and six points over on reading.

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