Wyoming’s 2014 HB0028-Education Czar

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There are a LOT of bills this season.  That alone is concerning.  Within all these bills, there are a few dangerous ones.  One of these is HB0028.  This bill covers teacher and leader evaluations, assessments, graduate requirements, and reporting requirements.

 

What is the most concerning are the director of education duties.  The director will be in charge of administering standardized, curriculum based assessments as chosen by the director.  Not the state board of education, not a team of educators, but the director chooses the assessment!  That is dangerous because it is a single person who may choose an assessment that could be a data mining nightmare and/or isn’t developmentally appropriate, or has content that is not appropriate.  The director is only accountable to the governor.

 

Along with that, as I read through the bill, subject areas covered were: language arts, math, and science.  There was no mention of US or Wyoming history, the founding fathers, the founding documents, or geography.

 

The other area of concern is that the state board of education via the Wyoming Department of Education will determine the target levels of the assessments.  In other words, the director will determine what is advanced, proficient, or not proficient scores on the assessment he/she chose.  The bill does mention that there will be input from public educators and the public at large, but does not state how this committee is chosen.  As I read it, the state board of education’s only responsibility is to make sure the state has uniform student content being taught.  The local school board of trustees are to make sure the curriculum aligns to the standards, and that the assessment (chosen by the director) measures the standards.

 

This bill is dangerous, as it gives the director of education an incredible amount of power without a system of accountability. 

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