The Wyoming House allowed the introduction of HB 97 on a 47-13 vote. This is significant because they are currently in an appropriations session. Any non-appropriations bill needs a 2/3 majority vote in order to be introduced during these short 20-day sessions.
This bill introduced by State Representative Tom Reeder (R-Casper) is, in my opinion, a very strong bill.
- It forbids the state from joining any consortium where they would cede control of their assessments or standards.
- It directs the state board to create a content and performance standards advisory council to advise them in “creating and adopting world class content and performance standards that will lead to a broad liberal arts education, resulting in college and career readiness for all students.”
- It lists specific criteria of who the state board shall appoint to this council and what qualifications are required, as well as, criteria for subcommittees who will review the standards in different subject areas. Teachers have to have 10 years of experience with five years of teaching experience in the subject matter being reviewed. Also the council and subcommittees will have at least three parents appointed, and they can not be anyone who is qualified to be appointed in another paragraph in the bill – so basically saying the parents must not be part of the education establishment and actually represent parents.
- It specifies the duties of the subcommittees and how they are to conduct their reviews.
- This review will take place annually and before there are any changes in standards the state board of education must conduct a public hearing in every legislative district and present the proposed standards to the joint education interim committee and the Wyoming Legislature. They shall also report to all Wyoming School District Boards of Trustees.
- Then there is this —>> “content and performance standards that are not developed under the sole authority of the state of Wyoming or standards that use the same model framework developed primarily by entities other than the state of Wyoming shall not be adopted or implemented by the state board until expiration of a public comment period of at least one (1) year.”
- HB 97 sets up criteria for district and statewide assessments, and what data cannot be collected. They also forbid any sharing of personally identifiable information outside the state. They also forbid it within unless it meets strict criteria.
- It outlines conditions that must be met by the Federal government before any data can be released as a condition of receiving a Federal grant.
- This bill directs the Wyoming State Board of Education to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
This bill was co-sponsored by State Representatives Lynn Hutchings (R-Cheyenne), David Miller (R-Riverton), and State Senators Dan Dockstader (R-Afton) and Larry Hicks (R-Baggs).
Update: I spoke with Kelly Simone who was involved lobbying at the Wyoming House today. Since it is an appropriations session there are a few more hoops this bill needs to go through.
- It needs to be heard in the Wyoming House Education Committee.
- It needs to be read three more times in the Wyoming House.
- Then it goes to the Senate.