Education

WPM is committed to covering education issues in Wyoming in a thoughtful and thorough way. We dedicated a page to capture news and information that educates us about education! 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.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming’s undergraduate elementary education program has work to do to meet standards for effective teacher training. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality—a think tank that pushes for tougher evaluations of classroom teachers. 

The report includes a ranking of U.S. teaching colleges, and found that the vast majority of programs failed to prepare teachers for the classroom.

Lord Jim via Flickr Creative Commons

Cigarette smoking rates among high school students have dropped significantly in recent decades—in Wyoming and the rest of the country. That’s according to the results of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey released last week. 

Last year, 17 percent of Wyoming high-schoolers reported regularly smoking cigarettes. That’s slightly above the national average, but down from 40 percent in 1991, when the survey began.

Alice B. via Flickr Creative Commons

This month, thousands of educators from around the country will gather in Denver to discuss public education issues and set policies for the coming year at the National Education Association’s annual meeting. 

Wyoming Education Association President Kathy Vetter says one the biggest problems in the state is that teachers' perspectives are often absent from policy initiatives in public education.

Aaron Schrank/WPR

Hess Corporation President Greg Hill joined Gov. Matt Mead at The University of Wyoming Thursday to announce the company’s plan to donate $4.3 million more to help build UW’s new energy and engineering research complex.

Hess has now committed a total of $10 million to the university, $8.7 million of which will be matched by state funds.

The gifts support the High Bay Research Facility, which will be used for large-scale experiments and research aimed at tapping ‘unconventional reservoirs.’

Cindy Hill Superintendent

State Superintendent Cindy Hill says if she is elected governor she will push good government measures to make it easier for the public to get documents, she also plans to address conflicts of interest that she sees in government.   

Hill will run as a Republican.  She said that she got into the race because she said Governor Matt Mead exceeded his authority of governor when he signed the law that removed her as the head of the Department of Education. 

After some legal wrangling, State Superintendent Cindy Hill is back in charge of Wyoming Education.  As the school year wraps up, Superintendent Hill joins us to discuss a number of topics.  The first deals with distance…or online education.  She recently attended a graduation of students who graduated from a virtual school. Hill embraces various uses of technology in the classroom.

Andy Dean via Flickr Creative Commons

The Wyoming Department of Education wants federal officials to allow schools labeled as "needing improvement" to provide tutoring and remedial help to students.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, schools that need improvement—based on state assessments—are not allowed to provide tutoring, forcing students to turn to outside providers.

Brent Young is Assistant Director of Instruction at Laramie County School District 1. He says allowing struggling schools to provide these services is positive.

The Wyoming Department of Education is urging citizens to serve on a science standards review committee.  

Previous science standards generated controversy because they addressed subjects like climate change and evolution. The Department is attempting to get more public involvement in developing a new set of standards.  State Superintendent Cindy Hill says that too few citizens were invited to participate last time.           

University of Wyoming President Dick McGinity says he will soon be looking to find permanent replacements for a number of interim administrators at U-W. 

McGinity says he is currently searching for a new Dean of Engineering and will soon try and fill the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs.  He says the Interim Vice President Maggi Murdock has decided to resign and return to her faculty post after the two had differences on some issues.  

University of Wyoming

For the first time in many years the University of Wyoming is changing its general studies program, the coursework required for all students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at UW.  Faculty Senate Chair Ed Janak says it should simplify the course selection process for everyone and simply transfers to the university. 

“There’s no longer this giant alphabet soup, this is going to be really straightforward, it’s this and this and this and we are really happy about that,” Janak says.

Is Common Core good for Wyoming Education?

Apr 28, 2014

Is Common Core good for Wyoming Education?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

(View the Common Core Standards by clicking here.)

Bob Beck

For years parents and educators have been looking at ways to improve elementary education. Recently many states, including Wyoming, adopted common core standards that supporters believe will give students and schools goals to shoot for in Math and Language Arts. 

The state is also in the process of adopting other state standards, including a set of controversial science standards.  But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports there is a growing movement against any standards that are not developed by local school boards. 

It’s been a few months since we’ve had Governor Matt Mead on the program.  He joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck to discuss a dispute over boundaries in Riverton and Education.

A Wyoming legislative committee will decide if it wants to reconsider the powers and duties of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction this Friday. 

State Superintendent Cindy Hill returned to lead the Department of Education this week, after the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that a law stripping her ability to oversee the department was unconstitutional. 

Governor Matt Mead says he doesn’t know what the legislative committee will try to do.

The state Board of Education met in Casper today to adopt some state standards, including a controversial set of national Next Generation Science Standards. The legislature prohibited the Board from adopting those standards. Bob Beck joins us to talk about what happened at the meeting.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill will soon be returning to lead the Wyoming Department of Education.  Unless you’ve been under rock, you know that the Superintendent had her ability to oversee the department removed by the legislature and the governor last year.

courtesy UW

Last month the University of Wyoming opened a Literacy Research Center and clinic that should enhance literacy at all levels across the state.  It will allow face to face tutoring, train tutors and teachers, and use technology in interesting new ways.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.  

VICKI GILLIS:  “I see this as being on the cutting edge of work in literacy, K-12, and beyond.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says that he wants the State Board of Education to adopt rigorous science standards.

He recently signed into law a budget footnote that prevents the State Board of Education from adopting a set of national standards called Next Generation Science Standards. The governor says his only objective in doing that was to get the board to consider a variety of options as it develops Wyoming education standards.                

Cindy Hill Superintendent

Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is rejecting an offer from the state attorney general to narrow the scope of a court case that has to be resolved before she can return to running the state education department.
 
Hill said Tuesday the state constitution is not negotiable.
 
Hill filed suit challenging a state law enacted last year that removed her as head of the state education department. The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled in January the law is unconstitutional.
 

A change in University of Wyoming course requirements is causing controversy among faculty and students.

The change affects the general education curriculum of the entire university.  Students seeking a bachelor’s degree have to take the courses required under this program.

The new requirements are scheduled to take effect in the Fall of 2015.  It eliminates diversity, global awareness, and foreign language requirements from the required undergraduate curriculum.  It also reduces science and math requirements. 

A recent report assessing policies on charter schools throughout the nation says Wyoming has a lot of work to do to make charter schools more accessible and successful. The Executive Director of the Wyoming Association of Public Charter Schools is not surprised.  Kari Cline says Wyoming’s rules are bad and stagnant. 

Right before the close of the session, the Wyoming Legislature slipped a small amendment into the budget bill that’s proving to have some big implications.

The footnote prohibits the State Board of Education from considering a set of national science education standards that it had been reviewing for more than a year, and as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, it raises questions about whose role it is to establish those standards.

A former classroom teacher and former Wyoming Department of Education employee has announced that she will run for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Republican Jillian Balow says she has four goals.

“Enhancing local control in the school districts; increasing collaboration across the state with multiple stakeholders; empowering parents to be more involved with education; and I’m also tackling the political issues that have dominated education in Wyoming.”

An administrator in the Wyoming Department of Family Services says she is running for state superintendent of public instruction.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill made a brief appearance at the State Department of Education in an effort to reclaim her job.  The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that a law that removed many of Hill’s duties is unconstitutional.  

Hill walked into the Department Monday morning with two of her staff members.   After those staff members met with Education Director Rich Crandall she left the building.

Uinta County parents and teachers say they were left out of the decision making process when the school superintendent announced he would scale back art classes in elementary schools to make more time for science.  Superintendent James Bailey says students were only getting about 1 or 2 days of science a week, which wasn’t enough since state assessments will soon be testing kids in science.  But last week, Bailey met with teachers and came up with a possible plan to integrate the two subjects.  He says the plan could actually improve the district’s curriculum.

The Wyoming Senate gave final approval to a bill that sets aside $5 million for school districts to place cameras on school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass stopped buses.

Several senators opposed the bill saying  the focus should be on prevention.  One idea was to add more lights to the buses, so that motorists can't ignore them, but Sheridan Senator Bruce Burns says that won't do much. 

"This is happening 50,000 times a year in this state," Burns says. "I cannot believe that those people are not seeing those buses.  I think they are ignoring that law. "

Many parent groups across the nation are expressing concern about the data school districts collect on students and how it’s used. 

Wyoming’s House of Representatives has approved a bill requiring the development of a plan that would help keep data confidential.  Laramie Democrat Cathy Connolly said that parents have expressed a number of concerns.

The Wyoming Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would place cameras on school buses. The idea is to capture motorists who illegally pass buses while they are stopped.  The bill allocates $5 million to purchase and install the cameras, an expense the Senate Appropriations Committee opposed.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout suggested that money be spent on prevention and not enforcement.  Education Chairman Hank Coe, of Cody, says prevention hasn't worked.

A bill that would make it easier for alternative schools to be created across the state has received final approval by the Wyoming Senate.  Alternative schools, such as charter schools, attempt to address the special needs of students that may not be successful in more traditional schools.  Under current Wyoming law, it is very difficult to create alternative schools.  The bill will change that.

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