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.

After hearing mixed public testimony, the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees have voted 9 to 3 to make Dick McGinity the full time President of the University until June 30th of 2016.

Trustee President Dave Bostrom says McGinity “has demonstrated his ability to lead the institution.” During the meeting Faculty and Staff representatives urged trustees to wait before removing McGinity’s interim tag.  But many, like Dean of Libraries Maggie Farrell said it was time for U-W to move forward.

The University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees is considering making Interim  U-W President Dick McGinity the full time President. The Trustees held a public discussion on the issue Thursday and got plenty of advice.

Addressing a room full of people, Staff Senate President Jim Logue told the board that U-W staff would prefer to see the board conduct a formal search for a new president.

Thursday the University of Wyoming trustees are scheduled to discuss the position of UW President.  Many on the UW faculty list serve have expressed concern that Interim President, Dick McGinity, will be appointed to the position permanently without a search. Faculty Senate Chair Colin Keeney warns against leaping to conclusions.

State Superintendent of Schools Cindy Hill denied that her office inappropriately used federal money, denied that they hid documents from legislators, and didn’t understand why some of her employees feared for their jobs. 

Hill investigation continues

Jan 7, 2014

An accounting supervisor with the Wyoming Department of Education told a legislative committee that he had serious concerns about spending within the Department, but that State Superintendent of Education Cindy Hill and others ignored him. 

The committee is investigating charges of wrongdoing against Hill.  Trent Carroll had particular concerns about what he called inappropriate spending of federal money, and he said he shared that with his supervisor, who passed the concerns along to Hill and one of her senior staff members.

A former supervisor with the Wyoming Education Department is accusing Schools Superintendent Cindy Hill of misusing federal money and improperly implementing a reading program when she ran the department.  

A special Wyoming House Committee is holding hearings this week to determine if Hill committed any impeachable offenses.  Gail Eisenhauer testified that Hill and her leadership team were difficult to work for.

Following the resignation of Bob Sternberg, Dick McGinity has taken over reins at the University of Wyoming as Interim President. 

McGinity was simply a faculty member at UW until Sternberg promoted him to be part of the administration and now he’s running the show.  Among his first duties is getting UW priorities through the legislature.  He tells Bob Beck that includes pay raises.

Wyoming has the fifth lowest average debt in the nation for students who graduated from college in 2012. That’s according to a recently published study by the Institute for College Access and Success. In Wyoming the average debt was just over $21,000.

Director of Student Financial Aid at the University of Wyoming, Joanna Carter, says there are several things that keep borrowing relatively low at UW.

According to the US Department of Education, US students’ rankings in math and science have slipped.  What can be done to correct this?

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As lawmakers wrap up their investigation of State Superintendent Cindy Hill, Hill says she’s done nothing wrong.  A special legislative committee is currently reviewing claims that Hill misspent money when she was in charge of the State Department of Education, an allegation she denies.  Hill contends that lawmakers investigating the charges have not let her see evidence or allowed her to respond.

It’s been a long year for State Superintendent Cindy Hill.  After legislators determined that she was undermining some of their education reform efforts, they voted to take away her ability to run the state department of education and assigned her to less essential tasks. 

Later a report suggested mistreatment of employees, possible misuse of the state aircraft, and misuse of Department of Education money.  That last piece is being investigated by a legislative committee who is trying to determine if impeachment charges should be brought against Hill. 

This month Jackson Hole High School will host the annual Teton County Model United Nations conference. Student participants from across Wyoming and Idaho will research and debate pressing global issues, including security and human rights.

Sheridan High School social studies teacher, Andrew Metcalf, says that the model UN not only helps deepen students’ education, but might also open doors for them in the future.

trib.com

Laramie Senator Phil Nicholas says he’s sad and disappointed to see Bob Sternberg depart from his position as President of the University of Wyoming so quickly. Sternberg resigned on Thursday after less than 5 months on the job. 

www.beaumontenterprise.com

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees announced UW President Bob Sternberg’s resignation on Thursday. The Trustees spent Thursday and Friday in meetings, but President of the Board David Bostrom sat down to talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about what comes next. Bostrom says the Trustees didn’t try to convince Dr. Sternberg to stay.

trib.com

It’s not often that a president leaves a university as quickly as Bob Sternberg, but it has happened before at UW. Phil Roberts spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden. He says there are often times that people are just not the right fit for a particular position.

For more on UW President Bob Sternberg’s resignation, click here.

Willow Belden

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg has resigned, after less than five months in office.

He said in a statement that “as wonderful as the University of Wyoming is, it may not be the best fit for me as president.”

Sternberg had come under fire from members of the campus community after several deans and other top officials were replaced.

University of Wyoming President Bob Sternberg has resigned. The decision was announced in a press conference this evening. The Board of Trustees says the decision was Sternberg’s – that he was not asked to resign.

Sternberg had come under fire from members of the campus community, who were upset about the departures of several deans and other top officials.

What are your thoughts on bilingual education in Wyoming schools?

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The Wyoming Department of Education is putting together a board of teachers to offer advice on several education issues. They’re looking for feedback on teacher training options, classroom needs and potential policy changes.

Chief Strategy Officer for the Department of Education, Leighton Thomas says teachers have valuable firsthand knowledge of the conditions, strengths and needs of the state’s schools.

The President of the University of Wyoming, Bob Sternberg, says he understands that the turnover of several administrators is unsettling, but says that most of the resignations have been coincidence.  Sternberg says he was directly involved in the resignations of Provost Myron Allen and Education Dean Kay Persichitte, but other administrator resigned on their own. 

It’s been a rough week for UW President Bob Sternberg.  He’s been taken to task by several UW faculty on University list serves over his handling of a number of issues, but people have expressed the most concern over the turnover of some U-W administrators. 

Most recently the dismissal of the College of Education Dean and the resignation of the Law School Dean.  Sternberg gives Bob Beck his perspective on the controversy.

Wyoming’s fourth and eighth grade students outperformed the national average in reading and mathscores in the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAPE scores.

The test is administered every two years. Wyoming did especially well in 4th grade math where it improved by three points from 2011 and five points from 2009.   State Education Director Rich Crandall is pleased.

University of Wyoming College of Law students delivered an open letter Monday to UW President Bob Sternberg demanding more transparency about their dean’s resignation. College of Law Dean Stephen Easton’s resignation is the latest in a series of departures from the University's top ranks. Since July, five deans have been replaced along with several provosts.

North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp has introduced a bill to create a Commission on Native Children. The Commission’s goal is to investigate problems specific to Native children and make recommendations for improving them.

Mortality has increased for Native children since 2000, and they're overrepresented in foster care, have high suicide rates, and lower graduation rates than white students. On the Wind River Indian Reservation the graduation rate for students is around 50 percent. The statewide graduation for all students is closer to 80 percent.  

The recent Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, or CREG, report indicated some positive things for Wyoming's revenue picture, but within the report there are also concerns. 

Campbell County Representative Sue Wallis says one serious concern stands out.

"There's a very strong potential of a time...not very far out...when we've got a real problem with our education funding."

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After a lengthy discussion, the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee voted to support a two-percent external cost adjustment for public schools. 

The external cost adjustment would address inflation issues within the school funding model, and is used by most districts to pay for salary increases.  Lawmakers have been reluctant to support an ECA over the last several years due to budget concerns, and the appropriations committee was told that spending for education in Wyoming remains among the top 10 in the country. 

As schools look at new ways to improve education, in Thermopolis they are hoping that new technology and the access it brings to data bases, videos, and better access to the outside world will improve learning and teaching.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more. 

Willow Belden

A school in Casper has started teaching some of its classes in Chinese. The idea is that the students in those classes will grow up bilingual. This is the first Chinese immersion program in a Wyoming school, but data from other states that have similar programs show a wide range of benefits. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.

The Wyoming legislature’s management council voted unanimously today/Tuesday to provide 100-thousand dollars to a special committee investigating State Superintendent Cindy Hill. 

Hill is accused of mismanaging federal funds, abusing state resources, and creating a hostile work environment.  Hill has denied the allegations. 

Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says they need extra help to complete what he says is a complicated investigation.  Normally the Legislative Service Office helps lawmakers with this work, but he says the L-S-O is limited by law in what they can do.

The results of Adequate Yearly Progress for the last school year have been released and fewer schools met the required standard. 

A-Y-P is a federal measure of achievement that's determined through A-C-T data and the Wyoming Proficiency Assessment.  Schools that score poorly on A-Y-P can lose the ability to decide how they spend federal funds. 

David Holbrook of the Wyoming Department of Education says that those interested in how their schools fared can look at the Department’s website.

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