The Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability met in Cheyenne on October 22-23rd for their routine meeting. A few of us from Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core were able to attend. Here is a report from the meeting items that are pertinent to the efforts against Common Core:
The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) gave a report and recommendation on the assessment options that Wyoming can use to test students on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The WDE presented the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) as their strongly recommended route for our state.
The SBAC is one of two federally funded groups that have developed the Common Core tests/assessments and Wyoming signed up with the consortium along with 24 other states. The test will be taken online, curriculum embedded, has an agreement with the US Dept of Education to have access to data collected at the state level and has five steps to exit, including exit approval from the US Department of Education. (Note: The SBAC has received federal funds to develop curriculum and they state curriculum will be included in parts of the assessments). Wyoming has not evaluated the cost of implementation of the SBAC.
Thankfully, the Select Committee decided NOT to accept the recommendation of the WDE and will not move forward at this time in the implementation of the SBAC. The Select Committee decided that Wyoming will move forward with our own state test and further evaluated the SBAC before considering implementation. It appeared from the meeting that this decision likely stalled the SBAC from being implemented for at least an additional year. Four Wyoming statutes have to be changed by an act of state legislature before the SBAC can be implemented, and the Select Committee has not written a bill to ask for these statutory changes.
The Select Committee requested that the WDE return for their December 10-11 meeting with more details on how Wyoming can move forward with our own assessment for the time being.
Three bills were reviewed by the committee. They decided not to take action on any of the three bills. We had previously expressed some concerns regarding these bills and were thankful that they were not hasty in their decisions. Constructive discussion took place and citizen concerns were mentioned in these discussions.
We learned that there is potential for robust data protection and security plans to be created and implemented with a collaborative group of people in the near future. We had asked that a task force involving citizens be included in the data security efforts, and although this has not officially been decided, it was discussed.
The Select Committee mentioned the “concerns of the constituents” and stated that they are committed to making right decisions, with caution, for Wyoming education.