Legislature is in full swing–one week down. Aside from ongoing budget work by the Appropriations Committee, the House and Senate Education Committees are working number of bills. Of note, the assessment bill passed out of House Ed with a robust discussion that included WASA, WSBA, SBE, WDE, and others. You can read/track this and other bills at: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/lsoweb/session/BillsInfo.aspx
Funding for education, as with every other entity in our state, is in jeopardy. Cuts to education are commensurate with other cuts but the tone is about whether the cuts allow our state to remain highly invested in education. We can anticipate healthy discussions on the Floor and with the public in committee meetings. State agencies are not exempt from cuts. As of now, the WDE is down six positions and millions of dollars. It looks like the budget will move forward next week.
The governor recognized Wyoming’s Teacher of the Year and Big Horn High School in his State of the State address on Monday. He also noted that Wyoming education ranked #8 in the nation in Education Week’s Quality Counts report. Here is a link to the state report cards: http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2015/2015-state-report-cards-map.html?intc=EW-QC15-TOC
Last week a team of eight traveled to D.C. to work on implementation of ESSA. They had a unique opportunity to meet specifically with CCSSO staff the day after the conference. There are nine principles guiding this work, including alignment to college and career readiness, a focus on outcomes, and continuous improvement. Wyoming has a number of components of ESSA already in place through our own accountability system. Here is a link to a guiding document our team received at the meeting:
Also, I committed to be part of a state chiefs’ work group. Our focus is on vision, strategy and high level design of state plans. District superintendents and other partners will be an enormous part of implementation and I’ve already begun this conversation with many of you.
I met with your county commissioners this week and talked about the state of education, legislation, budget cuts, and shared our vision and goals for 2016 and beyond. I maintain that we offer a world class education in our state because of the work you do every day in every community in Wyoming.