As the nation coalesces around “equity” in education, we are realizing our responsibilities and opportunities to provide an equitable education for all students in Wyoming. This week marked the release of a report, Leading for Equity, that is worth noting. I had an opportunity to attend the release event for report and shared a few comments specific to equity work in Wyoming. In summary:
- Wyoming’s education funding structure, in essence, is our equity structure and we leverage it well. We fund education more adequately and EQUITABLY than any state in the nation. This means that no matter if a student is from a town of five or five thousand, they have access to a great education. And, no matter if a family’s income is $5000 or $500,000, children receive a great education. This compelling fact is sometimes left on the table as we talk about education finance and budgets. It’s imperative that we all understand that careful investments, not just dollars, make our Wyoming education among the best. I remain resolute in my message that our students are at risk if the legislature makes cuts to the funding model without more input from you and other education partners.
- We have an unsurpassed technology infrastructure via the Wyoming Unified Network. One way to continue to ensure equity in education is to better leverage the network for online learning. Governor Mead and the legislature have also noted this as a priority. At the WDE, we prioritized virtual learning in our strategic plan. We also convened a virtual learning task force to analyze the state structure and make recommendations for increasing access to quality virtual education. I visited several schools in the state that incorporate virtual education into a brick and mortar setting and I look forward to keeping this “equity action” on the front burner going forward.
While you and I may not reference “equity” as a driver for doing the right things for kids, it’s worth a peek at the report to see what actions your school district is committed to already and which ones are worthy for discussion. Here’s a link to an article in EdWeek about the report and the work.
Today marks the middle of the 2017 Wyoming legislative session. Track bills and watch Monday’sHouse Education Committee (school funding) meeting at: http://legisweb.state.wy.us/
Memo to be released on Monday, February 6: