We, the undersigned, representing diverse grassroots citizens from across the state of Wyoming, oppose the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). We further oppose participation in all consortia and agreements, including SBAC and the Common Core State Standards Initiative, that cede any measure of Wyoming’s governance of its standards and testing.
We agree that academic standards should be set high with assessments that adequately assess student growth and school performance. We do not oppose use of a nationally normed-referenced test, chosen by the school and reflective of the school’s curriculum. In order to retain choice in our private and public schools, we believe there should be a variety of approved tests available, not one.
The Common Core is not the instrument to raise student achievement in Wyoming. Its centrally controlled standards lack both field testing and international benchmarking. There is no evidence to show that Common Core will lead to student gains. Moreover, there is no evidence to support the claim that Wyoming students will be “college and career ready” as a result of the Common Core Standards. Furthermore, the Common Core subjects all students to a set of standards, which are pedagogically laced with unproven methods and techniques, and which subvert independence in curriculum choice.
Establishing national standards and enforcing them with a high-stakes, federally funded test will pressure Wyoming to implement curriculum designed to be used nationally. This will further remove local input and control. No constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments or national curricula exists. We agree that this is a violation of federal law.
We adamantly oppose the adoption of standards that are copyrighted and owned by an organization outside our state that has the sole authority to change or delete standards. We object to the influence of special interest groups and the heavy hand of the federal government over our remaining state standards.
We disagree with the content, development, governance and requirements of the SBAC testing. Participation in this federally funded testing consortium impedes our state’s ability to develop and implement assessments suited to the expectations of students in our state.
The technical requirements of administering the SBAC test will drain our financial resources and place an unfunded mandate on school districts. Alarming figures are surfacing about the cost of Common Core implementation. It is fiscally irresponsible for Wyoming to proceed without a cost analysis. Finally, the testing consortium will dictate test cut scores, definitions of special learners, test accommodations, testing dates, content, test scoring procedures and security provisions. Wyoming needs to be the sole voice in these decisions, not one of many states.
Governor Mead, you were elected, in part, because you share the principles of fiscal responsibility and local governance. In furtherance of those principles, we call on you to return control of education standards and assessments to the state of Wyoming. We further call on you to appoint individuals to the Wyoming State Board of Education who share this philosophy.
We implore you to advise the appointed State Board of Education not to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards at their January meeting. These particular standards are under federal litigation, have received a mediocre ‘C’ grade, were the only standards reviewed for Wyoming science and do not represent Wyoming values. Furthermore, the NGSS review committee was not an adequate representation of all 48 school districts and post-secondary educators, nor did it include adequate input from non-educator parents and business people. Governor Mead, the adoption of these standards will be detrimental to our children. Therefore, we the people cannot support any gubernatorial candidate that endorses the continued adoption of national standards.
We ask that you provide the bold leadership that is needed to return control of Wyoming’s schools back to the state, teachers and parents, where it belongs. We are raising our voices so that our message is clear and that you are assured that we are determined to return control to its proper place. Thank you for your service to the state of Wyoming.