Wyoming Liberty Group
The 2015 Wyoming Legislative Session is over but our work here at the Wyoming Liberty Group for 2015 doesn’t end as we continue to focus on a parent’s fundamental right to raise their children without government interference. Recently we went to Washington D.C. with a group of mom’s from around the state to speak to Wyoming’s Congressional delegation about education issues. At the heart of their discussion was a call for more freedom for parents to direct and choose their children’s educational path as well as the real and urgent need for the federal government to remove itself entirely from the education policy arena.
Parents need real choice in education. Which meant for the Washington trip, our message focused on the reality that any new federal education legislation must get the federal government out of the way of providing real and clear distinctions in education for parents. And at the state level, we continue to speak against artificial government “accountability” measures that have been shown to be a failure in the past (think - No Child Left Behind).
Here’s another great story on how a mom and former high school teacher played a pretty significant role in spoiling a critical vote on US. HR 5, the Student Success Act last week in Washington, D. C.
While the start of a “rewrite” of HR 5 was announced shortly after the bill was pulled by GOP leaders late last week for lack of votes to advance the bill -thanks in no smart measure to bloggers and moms like Christel Swasey - grassroots groups are already gearing up to comment on whatever new version this bill will take when it is reintroduced while simultaneously celebrating a hard fought victory in getting the bill pulled.
- The legislature must rein in out-of-control spending demands
Wyoming school districts are funded using the School Finance Block Grant Funding model. About half of the funding for these block grants comes from the state’s School Foundation Program account, and the other half from local revenue sources. For the 2015-16 biennium, the state’s contribution to the block grant is, so far, about $1.5 billion. This means that total school district block grant funding for the biennium should total about $2.78 billion.
For those of you who do not follow the news closely, you may have missed a recent piece on Wyoming Attorney General’s (AG) August letter stating that parents do not have the right to opt their children out of high stakes statewide testing in the public education system.
For many parents in Wyoming, the AG’s high handedness came as a shock. The letter came after a long string of emails from parents this spring requesting release of their children from these tests culminated in a stalemate with the Wyoming Department of Education [WDE]. The WDE was unable to prove to parents that state and federal law required their children to be tested, regardless of their parents’ wishes. So the WDE asked the AG to weigh in.
Guest Blog by Jason Gay, Wyoming Liberty Group
Diversity has become a significant goal in the administration from preschool to postgraduate. The University of Wyoming, Wyoming school districts, and private schools proudly announce their efforts and successes in this area. This is, of course, not unique to Wyoming, but is a predominant national trend. But how far does this focus on diversity go?
Just this week, students attempting to hand out Constitutions were confronted by a school official. As is typical, the school points to a “free speech zone” and uses this as an excuse to silence speech elsewhere on campus. Although the legality of a free speech zone is dubious at best, we could assume that the policy is legally enforceable for the purpose of the following discussion: against whom are these limitations enforced?
(Today we are thrilled to welcome a guest blogger, Sandy Shanor. Sandy is a longtime Cheyenne resident and vice chairman of the Laramie County School District #1 Board of Trustees. She has over 40 years of experience as a parent, teacher, administrator, consultant and board member.)
Throughout my 40 years in education, I have seen a lot of experiments, trends, and fads come and go. Some garnered short-lived attention, others bandwagoning, and some gained permanency.
The Wyoming Department of Education on Monday released the statewide 2014 PAWS (Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students) results in what can only be described as a rather apologetic press release. Having spent the last two days going over the scores, it is easy to see why the WDE felt the need to apologize.
The scores are not good. Actually, they are abysmal.
In only one years time, Wyoming students went from 84 percent “proficient or advanced” in third grade math to 46 percent. In the 5th grade math “proficient or advanced” category there was a similar drop, going from around 81 percent proficient to just 54 percent.