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.
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.
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.
The Wyoming House of Representatives continues working on a bill that would allow concealed weapons in Wyoming schools and colleges. It would only apply to people who have permits to carry concealed guns. Casper Representative Steve Harshman successfully amended the bill to say that only permanent employees of a school district who hold a concealed carry permit may carry a concealed firearm within a school district building and they must notify administrators. The amendment also made it clear that K-12 students shall not carry concealed firearms. The district superintendent will also in
The State Senate has given initial approval to a plan to develop an energy and natural resource curriculum for Wyoming schools. The program will be based on a current agriculture curriculum that helps students learn more about that industry. Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson, a retired school teacher, says the curriculum will help students learn more about the biggest industry in the state. But some Senators are uncomfortable with the state dictating an industry curriculum for schools. Anderson pointed out that districts only have to adopt the program if they want to.
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.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says Wyoming will receive $1.1 million to turn around its persistently lowest-achieving schools.
The money comes from the Education Department's School Improvement Grants program. The funds are part of $535 million provided through the fiscal 2011 budget and made available to states through the program.