This week Alisa and I spoke in Star Valley, Wyoming at the Afton Civic Center. The event was filmed and I’ll post it when receive it.
What I learned:
Wyoming is in great shape to reclaim educational liberty and control. I’m almost jealous of the state’s position. Why?
1) Wyoming could walk away from the temptation of federal monies easily because it has strong education funding through state royalties.
“Each biennium, Wyoming gets about $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in federal mineral royalty payments (FMRs), which account for a sizable portion of the state’s entire two-year $8.9 billion budget. More FMRs flow to Wyoming than any other state, largely because of extensive coal mining on federal land” – WyoFile.
2) Wyoming only recently (1 year ago) formally adopted Common Core. The amount of wasted money, time, teacher development and other Common Core-related waste that is happening in other states, has not happened there yet. It will be so easy to cut bait and walk away, because there’s not a lot of bait to cut.
3) Wyoming has an enviable state school board.
The Wyoming state school board only voted 8 to 4 to adopt Common Core. That means that a good chunk of the school board was opposed to it from day one. Enviable! (In supposedly conservative Utah each of the board members adore the Obama-pushed Common Core.)
Perhaps best of all, the Wyoming state superintendent, Cindy Hill, really gets it– she fights for local control of educational quality and liberty. She recently gave a speech to her state legislature about the foolishness of being federal-compliance-focused rather than having a “laser-like focus” on academic excellence.
Hill had refused to throw her state under the national testing bus and was severely punished for her wisdom. She was recently pushed aside and relieved of virtually all her powers and duties except for ceremonial and paperwork duties, because she opposed the federal-compliance mentality of the majority of the Wyoming School Board. Hill’s powers were reassigned –not by a vote, but by an appointment– to the new position: Director of Education, one who would dance the dance of federal compliance more cheerfully.
But Wyoming citizens rose up in protest, getting thousands and thousands of citizens to sign a petition to vote on the issue and to get Cindy Hill reinstated with her full powers.
4) Wyoming has strong, devoted people who value local control and are not willing to give it away.
Wyoming, we love you. Go, Fight, Win!
Sign the Wyoming Petition to STOP COMMON CORE here.