CHEYENNE — The state Board of Education continues to support Wyoming’s content standards in English, language arts and math.

The standards, which double as the Common Core State Standards, have been adopted by about 45 states.

“The state Board of Education’s position of being in favor of the Common Core has been reaffirmed,” board chairman Ron Micheli said. “And it will stay that way until there is a change in the position of the board.”

Members of the board heard a presentation from Amy Edmonds of the Wyoming Liberty Group. The former state representative from Cheyenne spoke against the standards at a Tuesday board meeting.

“We cannot afford to continue down this path of adopting every new ‘it’ idea proposed as the silver bullet in education improvement,” Edmonds said. “Wyoming’s citizens, our communities and our mineral wealth all afford us with incredible opportunities to create a system that is world class.

“We simply need the courage and the vision to do it ourselves.”

Edmonds asked the board to consider stopping the rollout or ending the use of the Common Core and returning to a system that better allows for local control.

The state should put a group of Wyoming experts and parents together to create a new set of standards, she said.

“Let’s believe in Wyoming’s ability to create excellence in education locally and stop this experiment in standards for education,” she said.

She also criticized the state board for how it adopted the standards. She said the public didn’t know what was happening at the time.

“Take a look at revising how you publicize your standards review process to include more avenues for direct parent contact,” she said.

Members of the board asked no questions of Edmonds.

Several opponents of the Common Core also attended. But the session wasn’t opened to the public.

“We’re not going to open up the audience for participation or we’d be here for the next six weeks,” Micheli said. “We do appreciate you coming.”

A public comment period was set for the end of the meeting.

Several presenters who had positive things to say about the standards also had the chance to speak.

“When I first read [the standards] I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to have to learn some more math. I don’t know that I know all this stuff,’” math teacher Jayne Wingate said.

The new standards, especially areas like math practice, can stretch teachers and students, Wingate said.

The standards have had teachers looking at the bigger picture of what they want students to take away from math, she added. They also have looked at the problem-solving skills and creativity involved.

“It makes me so sad that it’s become a political issue,” Wingate said.

Working with the standards has given her a chance to work with colleagues in the district and in other states, she added.

She was part of the group that originally reviewed the state’s content standards. At that point the state was not looking to adopt the Common Core, she said.

“As we looked at the Wyoming standards and as we looked at the Common Core, we really believed we couldn’t do better [than the core],” she said. “They were an incredible set of standards.”

Fellow educator Michael Hays also spoke in favor of the standards as they apply to English and language arts.

“The Common Core really asks kids to get deep into their literacy skills; it really asks for quite a bit,” he said.

Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride gave a brief history of the beginning of the standards’ creation.

The board also saw a movie of teachers from around the state talking about use of the standards in the classroom.

Members of the board debated briefly if the Common Core had been a proper use of state funds but took no action.

“I’m very comfortable with how these standards were developed and how they were adopted by the board,” board member Pete Gosar said.

“We’ve heard from the school boards association in Wyoming, the superintendents association … the curriculum developers … teachers and the [Wyoming Education Association]. By and large they are in support of the Common Core State Standards.”

(17) comments

I agree totally with what Ms. Edmonds says. Local control is absolutely essential, and this state and almost every other local district has thrown change in standards and requirements at the students year after year. The state needs to implement solid standards for Wyoming students, not those implemented for the populated states every where else. Wyoming is unique and if we want to keep it that way, the common core is not the way to go.

James Madison

The good people of Wyoming should ask, why have we reached the point that federal employees are handing out trespass tickets to visitors at Yellowstone.

Why has Wyoming surrendered it's control of education by complying to federal common core standards that strip control from Wyoming?

Why did Wyoming submit and embrace the UnAffordable Health Care Act exchanges nearly a year before it was enacted?

The answer is: you can thank Republican. Governor Matt Mead. An alleged man of cowboy ethics and principles, who has betrayed the state of Wyoming in favor of his loyalty to Eric holder and his Justice Department.

Vote Taylor Haynes and Wyoming will regain its sovereignty as an individual state and not an extension of Washington, D.C.

mtnmama

I attended the meeting and came away with a bad taste in my mouth. It was obvious that the Board of Education had no intention of either listening to or paying any heed to the input Ms. Edmonds provided -- indeed, one of the members was dozing off and another was demonstratively typing on his laptop during her presentation. It appeared that the only reason Ms. Edmonds had been invited was in order for the Board of Ed to keep up the appearance of representing the public.

It is difficult for me to believe that an elected body would have dared have the same disdain for the testimony of a member of the voting public.

leyre

Why are we not letting the public in? Because there are so many against Common Core they don't want to hear what we have to say. This is not the way it supposed to be done! I thought Wyoming was better then this, but we need to take our control back! Start writing letter people. We will be heard one way or another!

CareyMitchell

Isn't Edmonds the republican who left the state legislature to run campaigns against her peers that were sitting republicans, and in the end didn't win those races but managed to be the only R in the state to lose her seat to a democrat? That there is funny, I don't care who you are.

wyomom4

That there is not funny- actually, its totally irrelevant.

CareyMitchell

It's always going to be funny. Ironic. And funny.

position

When it comes to education in Wyoming, there is no more powerful a person than the Governor. With his ability to appoint the WDE members the citizen has but one voice (one check), and that is the Superintendent of Public Education. However, our legislature removed the superintendents power (SF104) and thus silenced the citizen. When the legislature presented the stripped powers to our governor, he gladly took it for his own.

Parents, you have purposely been left out of the decision making regarding Common Core. God help our kids.

Wyo girl

It looks like business as usual in Cheyenne.

yesir

According to the article the school boards in the state support the new standards. And they represent the largest elected body in the state. And they are about as local as we'll ever get. So why isn't what they have to say good enough? Why would we accept anyone trying to run roughshod over our local board?

wyomom4

This is not the largest "elected body" in the state. The State Board of Education is NOT elected, but rather, they are appointed. This is the precisely the problem. This body has the statutory authority to adopt standards without the very important input of parents and taxpayers. In fact, it appears that the board allowed Ms. Edmonds the opportunity to speak- simply as a formality. Furthermore, they brought in 3 or more people to present in favor of the common core, when only one was allowed to speak in opposition. Lastly, they used a propaganda video, funded by taxpayers, in a continued effort to convince the general public that CCSS is every bit as wonderful as they say it is. Nevermind the fact that there is absolutely no evidence to support that claim. I commend Ms. Edmonds for taking the time to research, study and present the information on behalf of every citizen who wasn't given an opportunity to speak. Thank you!

wyomom

While I do think you need local control , you also need standards that must be kept. If you don't do that, you end up like Texas. And hello, wyomom4! I am the original wyomom!

JudE

I also attended the meeting. I arrived a little early and the SDOE was discussing grades/credits etc and how to assure that an A in math from Central High was the same as an A in math from Gillette High. While they were very strong on supporting teachers anyone who had followed the discussions nationwide about the Common Core standards could see that they were heading in that direction. Ms Wingert passionately supported the teacher side of the argument and I agree with her. But why not take the standards and reject the rest of it? BIG question that was answered by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jim McBride- if we don't take federal education money the feds will withhold all the federal money owed to Wyoming. He and former Governor Freudenthal agreed to this shakedown and here we are. If you think that we have local control as we accept CCSS just wait. The ACT tests, the Pearson textbooks will all be geared toward Common Core. Even charter and religious schools will be forced to accept the CC in order for their students to apply to universities and colleges. Instead of snarky comments I would like for the readers to do some research. Even if you do not have children or grandchildren in the Wyoming School system your tax money is being used by the state and the feds to push an untried, untested program down our throats. A good place to start would be the Facebook page "Stop Common Core in Wyoming" and for more policy check out the Wyoming Liberty Group.

mommasab
mommasab

HELLO!!!!!!!!! THE SBOE works for US, you and me... This was a PUBLIC meeting, held in a PUBLIC building, by PUBLIC officials, all paid for by the PUBLIC's tax dollars. I don't care if it takes six weeks, if the people paying for all of that (as well as Common Core, which is what the meeting was about, and all the strings attached to Common Core is going to cost Wyoming $$$$$$$$) want to ask questions or make a comment, then the SBOE will sit in their chairs (paid for by the citizens of Wyoming) until every question is answered and every comment heard. "Several opponents of the Common Core [paid for by the citizens of WY] also attended. But the session wasn’t opened to the public [people who own the building where the meeting took place and pay the salaries of the BOE members].

“We’re not going to open up the audience [People who paid for the meeting, the building it was in, the salaries of the BOE, and the curriculum and teacher trainings required by the Common Core Standards] for participation or we’d be here for the next six weeks,” Micheli said. “We do appreciate you coming.”

A public [the people who paid for the ENTIRE thing] comment period was set for the end of the meeting."

Cowboy Joe

Common core standards are mostly process standards versus content standards. They establish how to think, analyze, and process information and literature. What individual teachers and school districts opt to teach is there choice. The uproar over Common Core is coming from the conspiracy theory loons who probably haven't looked at let alone understand what CC is all about.

mommasab
mommasab

Cowboy Joe, you know you make a valid point when you have to resort to name calling... said no one ever. When progressive minded people feel threatened, they tend to name call. ---Signed, "Co-Head Conspiracy Theory Loon at Stop Common Core Wyoming"

yesir

wyomom4- I apparently didn't make my position clear but I'll try again. Collectively the individual "school boards" in the state do make up the largest elected body in Wyoming. There are 48 school Districts with roughly 7 members/board. That means 350 or so locally elected officials belong to that group. And as a group they've supported the standards. Who should we listen to, 350 locally elected people from every corner of the state, or Amy Edmonds in Cheyenne? I'll trust the 350 local school board members.
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