Ron Micheli

The Wyoming Board of Education supports making the state’s schools chief an appointed position instead of an elected one, as the Wyoming Constitution currently requires.

After hours of deliberation Thursday, all but one Board member voiced support for making such changes to the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Board was split on whether the Governor or the Board itself should be responsible for appointing a state Superintendent.

Dennis Wilkinson via Flickr Creative Commons

The State Board of Education is asking the Wyoming Department of Education to stop work on development of a new set of science standards.

The Department recently formed a science standards review committee of about 50 teachers, administrators, higher education representatives and businesspeople to develop new science standards. That group was supposed to meet several times this summer before presenting suggestions to the Board and public in the fall.

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.

tiny footnote in Wyoming’s budget bill is causing a big stir. The state’s science education standards are due for an overhaul, and the Board of Education had been considering a set of national standards called the Next Generation Science Standards to replace them.

The Wyoming Board of Education has written to the Legislature’s select committee on educational accountability, asking to set up a group of stakeholders to develop or choose a new educational assessment for the state. 

Assessments will be used to determine such things as student progress in some key subject areas.  State Board of Education Chairman Ron Micheli says in Oregon, stakeholders included state board members, teachers, administrators, higher education officials, and parents.  He says they’d like to do the same thing here.

The Wyoming Legislature is considering a few bills that would change the way the Department of Education is run. This week, the Senate Education Committee voted to have a governor-appointed director to oversee education issues in the state and redefine duties of the State Superintendent. Alternately, the House has plans for the State Board of Education, will consider removing the Superintendent as a voting member of the Board of Education. The board would become a state agency, and be in charge of education accountability.