Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wyoming's journey to finding common education standards slows down

This from the
One year ago, many people assumed Wyoming and most of the nation would adopt national standards in language arts and math.

The State Board of Education first approved them in June 2010. Committees of educators reviewed the common core standards, as they are called, compared them to Wyoming standards, recommended adoption and drafted new state standards.

Public comment was held in late spring of this year. The process seemed to be chugging along until September, when lawmakers questioned the standards and how Wyoming came to adopt them without legislative input.

The decision rests with the State Board of Education, which sets standards — not curriculum — according to state law. A final decision is expected in the spring of 2012 — a little more than two years from the time the discussion began.

Once the common core standards were released, committees comprised of Wyoming educators, students, parents and other citizens reviewed the Wyoming standards and compared them to the common core. The language arts committee overwhelmingly recommended the board adopt common core standards.

The math committee split, and many commented the common core would increase the rigor in math. About one-third said they couldn’t recommend the common core because the standards might be too difficult for recommended grades and don’t clearly align from grade to grade.

Educators have said the Wyoming standards align well for language arts but the math standards are, generally, tougher and expect mastery of certain skills in earlier grades. For example, Wyoming students were expected to know multiplication in fourth grade. The common core places that benchmark in third grade...

In 2011: 
Common Core State Standards were incorporated into Wyoming content standards
for language arts and math. 
Public comment was accepted in the spring.
Lawmakers questioned the process in the fall 
and considered repealing the state Board of Education's authority to set standards.

The state board approved revised standards in September 
and began the formal rules-making process.

Coming in 2012: 
Public comment will be collected online through Jan. 25 
and during several public hearings held across the state. 
The board will respond to every comment before making a final decision in early spring.

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