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.
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.
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.
This week Governor Matt Mead is submitting his proposed budget to Wyoming legislators. The budget will include some spending priorities, but will also feature a wide range of budget cuts, some as high as eight percent. K-12 education has been viewed by lawmakers as untouchable due to the fact that the state lost an expensive lawsuit over school funding. But Mead believes some adjustments can be made in the amount of spending that goes into new schools.
Pinedale, Wyoming has been selected by an organization as one of the nation’s 100 best communities for young people.
America’s Promise Alliance recognizes local community programs and initiatives that are aimed at supporting youth. Pinedale was recognized for having safe places for youth, for its youth fitness and recreation programs, overall improvements in education and for its adult volunteer program.
Teacher Jasper Warembourg has been in the community for 20 years and he says the adult input is amazing.
For the second straight year, Wyoming students scored 20-point-3 out of a possible 36 in the college entrance exam known as the ACT. The national average was 21-point-one.
Wyoming Education officials say the score is not disappointing because all high school juniors in the state are required to take the test, while only college bound students take the test in 42 other states.
Paul Williams is part of Wyoming’s assessment team. He says Wyoming had mixed results.
The U.S. Department of Education has informed the Wyoming Department of Education that it should continue administering the state Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students -- or PAWS -- test for high school juniors next year.
The Wyoming Legislature earlier this year directed the state Education Department to discontinue the PAWS test for juniors and to use results from the ACT instead.
The Wyoming Department of Education has released the 2012 Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students – or PAWS - results. For the second year in a row, the results indicate a statewide rise in scores in math, reading, and science.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Cindy Hill, did not point to specific policies or efforts made by the Wyoming Department of Education, but rather said the results were due to a team effort.
The Centers for Disease Control has released the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior survey.
The C-D-C finds that the students from Wyoming align with the rest of the nation when it comes to Drug and Alcohol use, and are better than the national average in areas such as physical fitness, risky sexual behavior and diet, but are worse in areas surrounding violence, unintentional injury and tobacco use.
An 8-percent budget cut would cost Wyoming's seven community colleges about $9.1 million.
Falling energy revenues has prompted Gov. Matt Mead to order state agencies to prepare for 8-percent budget cuts for the fiscal year that starts in July 2013.
James Rose, of the Wyoming Community College Commission, says each community college board of trustees has the freedom to handle any funding cuts as it see fit so he can't speak to whether any faculty and staff positions would be threatened with layoffs.
Laramie County School District One in Cheyenne says a survey conducted earlier this year found that 26 percent of girls and 23 percent of boys say they were bullied two-to-three times a month. The figures exceed the national average.
More than 5-thousand students in grades three-through-eight participated in the survey that is part of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program that the district is using. The results are being used as a baseline as the school district begins new strategies to address bullying.
The state Education Department has granted 20 school districts waivers from meeting a state law requiring a 16-to-1 student-teacher ratio in kindergarten through third grades. The waivers are good for the 2012-13 school year. State schools superintendent Cindy Hill says the 16-to-1 ratio is challenging for some districts but she's confident all will eventually reach the mandate that was set by the 2011 Legislature as part its education reform initiative. State law allows districts to seek a waiver from the Education
Wyoming’s on-time graduation rate for 2011, a calculation of how many students graduate in four years was 79-point-7 percent. That’s slightly below the goal of 80 percent.
The Wyoming Department of Education says that while the 2011 average is slightly less than the year before, the Department is also quick to point out that Wyoming graduated 59 more students than in 2010. The Department added that 39 of Wyoming’s 48 districts had on-time graduation rates higher than the state average.
The Wyoming House of Representatives has begun debating a major education reform measure. The House gave initial approval to the Education Accountability Bill that is intended to improve all levels of education. Various types of testing will be part of the process, but despite concerns by the State Superintendent and some legislators, House Education Chairman Matt Teeters says additional testing is not part of the bill. “My belief, depends on who you talk to, but my belief the amount of testing we will do, also because we are timing PAWS will actually be less,” Teeters said. Teeters says
The State Senate gave final approval to a major Education Accountability measure. It provides testing and other procedures to keep students, teachers, administrators and parents accountable for a child’s education. The Senate approved an amendment that would allow school districts to better track how students are doing throughout their entire career. Senator Chris Rothfuss says it’s a different approach. “Tracking a student’s growth year to year -- how good are they one year, the next year, the following year…in K-12. And that’s what we are trying to track from the growth standpoint,” Ro
The Wyoming Senate has revived a school finance measure with onesignificant change:The bill removes the controversial regional cost adjustment known as the hedonic model that caused the measure to fail in the house.
That provision would remove funding from communities with amenities and could have cost Teton County four million dollars.
The Wyoming House of Representatives has failed to introduce a bill that would have changed the way that schools are funded.
The bill adjusted the way districts are funded, but the controversial portion of the bill concerned the Hedonic funding model. It was a new formula used to compute cost of living adjustments. If approved, that would have cost Teton County four million dollars.
Wyoming ranks twenty-third in the nation in student performance and progress. That’s according to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2011 annual Report Card on American Education. While the score rose from twenty-eighth place in 2010, the report accuses Wyoming of misspending a financial windfall—spending a great deal of money with little to show for it.
The Wyoming School Boards Association will monitor how school districts handle tougher University of Wyoming admission standards that take effect in 2013. Association executive director Mark Higdon says the university is doing what it thinks best for the students but the devil will be in the details.
The new admission standards were approved last Friday by the UW Board of Trustees. They are aimed at improving the retention and graduation rates of students who attend the state's only public four-year university.
Officials at Sheridan Memorial Hospital have been notified that the hospital could be downgraded from a tier one hospital to tier two by the Wyoming School Board Association Insurance Trust otherwise known as WSBAIT. The rating does not reflect the level of service provided by Sheridan Memorial, but rather reflects that educators covered by WSBAIT will now have to pay more out of pocket for services at the hospital than to hospitals rated tier one by the trust.
Wyoming students have improved their math and reading scores on a national assessment test. The National Assessment of Educational Progress released its 2011 results Tuesday. The test measures math and reading among fourth and eighth graders nationwide. Wyoming fourth graders scored four points better on average than the national average in both subjects, while eighth graders were five points better on math and six points over on reading.