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 aired on WPM, 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.

Pages

Women in Science
4:45 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

UW to host hands-on workshop to inspire women to pursue science

Jessica Friis, a horticulturalist for the Paul Smith Children’s Village at Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, watches two Douglas Middle School students during her “Hydroponic Plant” course at last year’s Women in Science Conference. More than 500 female high school and middle school students are expected to attend this year’s event at UW.
Credit Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium / University of Wyoming

More than 500 girls from across Wyoming will gather at the University of Wyoming Tuesday for the annual Women in Science Conference.

The Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium hosts the event, during which the middle- and high-school students learn about various applications of science, technology, math and engineering. In past years, students have identified animal skulls, developed computer games, and learned about anatomy in UW’s Human Cadaver Lab. Many of the scientists leading the programs are women.

Read more
Open Spaces
4:21 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

UW graduates praise their education

Credit Courtesy of University of Wyoming

This weekend a new set of graduates are leaving the University of Wyoming.  For some, they are facing an unknown job situation, but others are ready to jump into their careers.  The graduates also talked about Wyoming’s efforts to keep them in-state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck sat down with three graduates from U-W’s College of business and found that two are leaving and one thinks he’ll hang around a bit longer.

Read more
News
5:45 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

May 7th is Teacher Appreciation Day

May 7th is Teacher Appreciation Day.

Kathy Vetter, President of the Wyoming Education Association, taught elementary through high school students in Wheatland during her 30 years in the classroom. She says that teachers’ responsibilities have changed as students’ own roles have changed. “When I started teaching,” says Vetter, “going to school was the student’s job. Now, that’s only one of many jobs students have, that they have to divide their time amongst—and so there’s more pressure on the teachers and the students.”

Read more
News
4:37 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Wyoming's high school graduation rate continues to fall

Credit Bob Beck / Natrona County High School

Wyoming’s Interim Education Director is expressing concerns about the state’s declining graduation rate.  Jim Rose notes that Wyoming’s high school graduation rate has fallen below 80 percent for the second straight year.

The most recent numbers show that 78-point-nine percent of public high school students graduated in the 2011-2012 school year. Rose says this is an indicator that the state has some work to do to get the graduation numbers higher.

Read more
News
5:52 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Hill threatens to sue over libelous white paper

A lawyer representing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is threatening to sue over comments by legislators that appeared in a white paper explaining why lawmakers removed much of Hill’s power.  The white paper was crafted to respond to non-legislative members of the Wyoming Republican Party who expressed concern over the law's passage.  It was distributed in an email by Big Horn Representative Rosie Berger.   Hill’s Attorney Robert DiLorenzo wrote Berger saying that the white paper appeared to be defamatory and he demanded that Berger provide proof for several statements

Read more
News
3:37 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

GOP leaders endorse superintendent law repeal

The Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee has approved a resolution endorsing the drive to repeal the state law that took power away from the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Central Committee approved the resolution on a 40-32 vote over the weekend in Buffalo.

The action is a slap at the Republican controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead who approved the law during this past legislative session.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:59 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Laramie educators want to foster support for LGBT students in the classroom

Schools across the country have embraced sweeping anti-bullying measures in recent years. Universities and schools districts are encouraging teachers to celebrate diversity and discourage exclusionary language, but at the upcoming Shepard Symposium on Social Justice, the University of Wyoming will host a group that say teachers need to beexplicit about their acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning students.

Read more
News
6:30 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Hill loses injunction request

State Superintendent Cindy Hill will take her case to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Wednesday District Court Judge Thomas Campbell refused to issue a preliminary injunction and restore her powers and duties immediately.  But he did send her case immediately to the Wyoming Supreme Court for further action.   

The Legislature and Gov. Matt Mead approved a law this winter taking away many of the superintendent's powers and duties. It included replacing the superintendent as administrative head of the state Education Department with a director appointed by the governor.

Read more
News
4:04 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Wyoming getting $1.1M from feds for worst schools

Credit Back to School Slate

Wyoming is getting more money from the federal government to improve its lowest-achieving schools.
 
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that Wyoming will get $1.1 million in 2013. It's the third year the state has gotten a grant from the department's School Improvement Grant Program.

Nine other states, including Colorado, are also getting money.
 
The department says states will distribute the money to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for it and show a strong commitment to using it to improve student performance.

Read more
News
12:11 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Judge will rule on Superintendent Hill case next week

A district judge in Cheyenne says he will rule in a week whether to restore the powers and duties recently taken away from state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill.
 
  Judge Thomas Campbell heard more than two hours of testimony and arguments Thursday in Hill's lawsuit challenging a new law that removed her as head of the Wyoming Education Department.
 
  

Read more
News
7:12 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Sequester might cut funding for special needs students

March 1st a series of automatic cuts to federal spending—called the sequester—went into effect. Education is one of the areas Wyoming will feel the cuts most acutely. A White House report says the state will lose millions of dollars in school funding.

Jim Rose, interim director of the Wyoming Department of Education, says a 5% cut to the federal education budget would mean special needs students would get less funding.

Read more
Open Spaces
5:05 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Legislature works to improve education

The Wyoming legislature grabbed headlines early in the session by stripping powers from State Superintendent Cindy Hill.  Now they they’re focused on ways to improve education.   Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more….

Read more
News
6:25 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Senate passes another education accountability bill

The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that would focus accountability in education on individual schools in the state.  The statewide education accountability phase one bill would establish benchmarks for schools. If schools don’t meet those benchmarks, they will have to develop a school improvement plan.  Senator Chris Rothfuss says that lawmakers hope to measure student performance in coming months.

Read more
Education accountability
6:15 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Senate continues work on education accountability bill

The State Senate continues working on a bill that would require schools to be accountable for student performance.  Under the bill, each school in the state would need to meet a pre-determined performance rating. 

Senator Charles Scott successfully amended the bill to say that a principal could be fired if his or her school falls short of that rating two years in a row.

“All these accountability structures are very fine, but when the day’s over you gotta do something if the performance is not adequate,” Scott says.

Read more
School accountability
6:16 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Senate debates school accountability

"Empty Desks"
Credit Max Klingensmith / Creative Commons

The Wyoming Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would rate schools on student performance. 

The school accountability measure was amended by the Senate to say all schools that do not exceed pre-determined academic targets would have to develop improvement plans. 

The House version of the bill said meeting targets was sufficient.  

Senator Chris Rothfuss of Laramie says the Senate is shooting for a higher bar. 

Read more
News
5:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Lawmakers want to look into possible spending irregularities at the Department of Education

Credit Wyoming Department of Education

After hearing from whistleblowers and attorneys that there may have been irregularities in spending within the State Department of Education, the Wyoming House of Representatives has set aside money to perform a whistleblower audit of the department. 

Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau says Superintendent Cindy Hill has denied that money was spent improperly, but he says the legislature is obligated to determine if there is any truth to the charges and the House will ask for a complete audit.       

Read more
Topic of the Week
12:46 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

What do you think of the bill that would allow guns in Wyoming schools and colleges?

Topic of the Week

What do you think of the bill that would allow guns in Wyoming schools and colleges?

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

Superintendent
5:43 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Gov. Mead strips power from State Superintendent, Hill sues

  Governor Matt Mead has signed into law a bill that strips powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In turn Superintendent Cindy Hill has filed suit, claiming that the new law is unconstitutional. 

Mead also announced that Community College Director Jim Rose will serve as the interim Director of Education. 

Mead said he did a lot of soul-searching before agreeing to sign the bill.

“I don’t think anybody would view this as a celebration, I think we would view it as a duty we must go forward on for the kids in Wyoming,” Mead says.

Read more
Superintendent
4:45 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

House votes to remove duties from State Superintendent

Members of the gallery watch the superintendent debate.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

After two weeks of discussion, the Wyoming Legislature has voted to remove some duties from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The legislation awaits the signature of Governor Matt Mead. 

The bill would hand over administration of the State Department of Education to a Governor appointed Director of Education. 

Opponents of the bill once again complained that they were going against voters who supported the election of Superintendent Cindy Hill by a two-to-one margin. 

Rock Springs Republican Stephen Watt again asked the House to slow down.

Read more
Open Spaces
3:37 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Some Legislators say Superintendent reform is overdue

Jackson Republican Keith Gingery speaks against SF 104.
Credit Bob Beck

The Wyoming House of Representatives has joined the State Senate in passing a bill that would strip a number of powers from the State Superintendent and give them to a Governor appointed Director of Education.  The Superintendent would remain on state boards and commissions with the other four elected officials.  But the new Director would run the State Department of Education.  Top lawmakers crafted the legislation right before the legislative session; and many believe that the legislature is moving too quickly.  But some observers say the move is overdue.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck

Read more
Superintendent
3:48 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

House battle over State Superintendent position rages on

The Wyoming House of Representatives defeated a pair of amendments during the second day of debate on a bill that would remove some duties from the State Superintendent and give them to a governor-appointed Director of Education.  

Jackson Republican Keith Gingery asked for $20,000 to be set aside to allow State Superintendent Cindy Hill to fight her loss of power in court.  During that discussion Gingery expressed disappointment about the tone of the debate on the issue.

Read more
News
5:56 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

WY House gives initial approval to bill that would remove power from Superintendent Hill

The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that would remove key powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and give them to an appointed Education Director. 

The House debated the bill for almost two hours. Many representatives expressed concern that the legislature was taking power away from the voters and others were concerned about how quickly the legislature is moving to pass the bill. Lyman Republican Allen Jaggi says he’s heard from constituents who share those concerns.

Read more
News
8:11 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Bill creating an appointed Education Director position clears one more hurdle

The House Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to endorse a bill that would remove duties from the State Superintendent and transfer them to an appointed Director. Lawmakers say that Superintendent Hill has not met deadlines and has delayed execution of duties such as creating education accountability programs. 

Read more
News
10:28 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Lawmakers seek to strip power from schools superintendent

The Wyoming legislature wraps up its second week today.  Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck is covering the session and joins us now to talk about lawmakers' attempts to restructure how the state's schools are governed.

Education
5:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Wyoming Senate passes bill to take power from state superintendent

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill

The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that takes power away from the state superintendent and creates an appointed director to run the Department of Education. 

The Senate voted 20-10 to approve the measure.  Senator Hank Coe blames the move on failures by the State Superintendent Cindy Hill to follow through on legislative mandates, a charge Hill denies.  Coe says Hill has lacked management skills.  He says that’s led to a 40-percent turnover.

Read more
News
12:48 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

WY Senate to consider new math requirements for schools

An effort to require all students to take four years of math will be considered by the State Senate.  The Senate Education Committee recommended passage of the measure sponsored by Laramie Democrat Chris Rothfuss. He says too many students who go on to attend college either struggle or have to take remedial classes.  The bill will require students to pass four years of math-based classes in order to graduate.

Read more
News
12:32 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate continues to debate overhauling the State Superintendent's office

The State Senate continues working on a bill that would change the way education is governed in Wyoming. 

The bill would lead to the appointment of a State Education Director, who would oversee such things as education accountability and school funding.

But Senator Curt Meier amended the legislation, restoring a number of duties to the State Superintendent’s office.  Under the amendment, the Superintendent would remain a voting member on the State Board of Education. 

Read more
Legislative
7:25 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Bill to remove Superintendent powers gets initial approval from the State Senate

A bill that would remove powers from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and transfer them to an appointed Director has received initial approval from the State Senate. 

The Senate approved the bill 19-10 after a lengthy debate including comments from some Senators who were concerned that the bill could actually hurt education instead of improve it. 

Read more
News
4:42 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

Proposed bill would make new, appointed position to run Department of Education

The Co-Chairmen of the legislature's Joint Education Committee are sponsoring legislation to create an appointed, Cabinet-level position to administer the Department of Education. The bill would allow the Governor to appoint a director for the Education Department. It would not eliminate the superintendent position, but modify the position’s responsibilities and lessen its power. The legislature comes after tense discussions in the Capitol about Superintendent Cindy Hill’s effectiveness in her position.

But Co-sponsor Representative, Matt Teeters, says this is an old problem.

Read more
Wind River Indian Reservation
5:19 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

The Arapahoe School is seeing continued improvements

Credit Alan Rogers / Casper Star-TribuneFourth-grader Alex Behan, right, raises his hand to answer a question during a reading exercise Thursday in Connie Vincent's class at Arapahoe School.Edit | Remove

After the Arapahoe School on the Wind River Reservation saw an uptick in math and reading scores in the state PAWS results this summer, the school has continued to see improvements.

Read more

Pages