CHEYENNE — Other than the credits earned, the Hathaway Scholarship Program offers no incentives to high school students to take more rigorous courses, Richard Crandall, director of the Wyoming Department of Education, said Tuesday.

Crandall told the Legislature's Select Committee on Education Accountability during a meeting in Cheyenne he would like to change that and may recommend adjustments to the program in the future.

He noted that former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride had mentioned in a memo the possibility of weighting the Hathaway courses.

Crandall said other states are changing their course requirements for state scholarship programs.

Georgia, for example, will require students to take four rigorous courses beginning in 2017.

High school students can achieve academic rigor through advanced placement classes (AP), international baccalaureate (IB) and dual enrollments in high school and college.

Crandall said the state doesn't have a very robust IB diploma program.

He and other educators speculated that parents could be advising their high school students to take easier classes in order to keep up their GPAs for the highest scholarship.

"I'm just planting a seed," Crandall said.

Rep. Mary Throne, D-Cheyenne, said a high school student in her district offered a bill during Boys' State to include advanced placement participation in the Hathaway scholarship curriculum, but it didn't pass. Throne said she was excited that the Education Department is looking into that possibility.

Sen. Phil Nicholas, R-Laramie, said the issue of whether to give weight to rigorous courses was heavily debated when the Legislature adopted the scholarship program in 2006.

"We did not do that," Nicholas said. The Legislature figured that good students with parents pushing them would be encouraged to take the harder classes.

"That's a pathway we already took and it would take quite a bit to jar it loose," Nicholas added.

Small high schools in the state do not offer AP classes, and some are not located where students can take courses through a community college or the University of Wyoming.

Crandall said he realized access was an issue.

He repeated that his idea was just to "plant a seed."

The Hathaway Scholarship Program has four levels:

  • The Honors Level provides $1,600 per semester for the equivalent of eight full-time semesters. It requires a 3.5 GPA and 25 ACT.
  • Performance Level provides $1,200 per semester for the equivalent of eight full-time semesters. It requires a 3.0 GPA and a 21 ACT.
  • Opportunity Level provides $800 per semester for the equivalent of eight full-time semesters. It requires a 2.5 GPA and a 19 ACT.
  • Provisional Opportunity Level provides $800 per semester for the equivalent of four full-time semesters. It requires a 2.5 GPA and 17 ACT. The student must begin at a Wyoming community college.

Contact capital bureau reporter Joan Barron at 307-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com

(8) comments

Marnie

Can't imagine anything better than making it even tougher for our middle income young to get a college education. (Well maybe drowning kittens...it is Christmas.)

Wilderness

I think you're missing the point. This effort would be to better prepare students to get that college education - make them more ready for college coursework and more likely to stick it out and earn the degree. The problem with many college dropouts is that they are not prepared, they get overwhelmed, they fall behind, they can't do the work, and they quit. Taking fluffy classes to elevate their GPA in high school drives a lot of this.

Sassy
Sassy

From what planet did this Jackwagon say he was from???

Triple BB

Hey Richie, why don't you shut yer piehole. UW offers no brainer degree's in things like PE, home economics, sports marketing, etc. If students want to take similar related classes in high school to boost their GPA's, then more power to them...

Wyoite

What exactly has this guy done? Does anyone have his transcripts?

IMO We need to send him on one last State jet ride back to Arizona so he can be the unemployed, house short-selling, state congressman that he was before he was forced on a citizenry who didn't elect him or want him.

Crandall- Go back to Arizona and fix your own Hathaway program . . . oh that's right, you guys don't have one down there do you??

It's like a guy who drives a Prius in the desert trying to give advice to a Wyomingite on how to drive over South Pass in December.

Jackalope

The AIMS program in Arizona, their version of Hathaway, no longer covers the basic costs of attending AZ colleges and universities, even for the highest performing high school seniors. It would take a Wildcat Scholarship on top of an AIMS to get near the tuition and fees bill at the University of Arizona.

Cowboy Joe

Simply weight the grades in AP courses---a B in AP is equivalent to an A in regular classes. Many schools do this on their own, but I'm not sure if individual schools calculate GPAs or does the state? As far as qualifying for the Hathaway.

Jeffrey

What about requiring ALL students who graduate be able to read and write. About half of all "graduates" are unable to take freshman level college courses!!!!!!!

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