Nov 15, 2012 - By Bob Moen, The Associated PressThe Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction sharply rejected the conclusions of a report criticizing her department's performance, accusing her critics of ulterior motives.
CHEYENNE -- Consultants hired by the Legislature gave the Wyoming Department of Education poor marks in implementing state education reforms, saying the agency failed in some of its responsibilities and hindered other entities involved in the state's initiative to better prepare students for college and careers.
Their report presented Wednesday to the Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability blames much of the agency's failings on the loss of too many key personnel in the last two years.
State schools Superintendent Cindy Hill, who was elected two years ago, told the committee the report contained much misinformation but declined to respond in detail before the committee. She said she would like to do so when the panel meets in December.
Over her objection, the committee then approved drafting legislation to reassign some duties from her agency to other boards and committees involved in the effort.
After the meeting, Hill criticized the consultants' work and said there was an agenda other than school reform involved.
"This isn't about children," Hill said. "This is about making this superintendent's position an appointed position. It's pure and simple. And let me tell you the good ol' boys are at work and they're pretty, pretty nasty."
Sen. Hank Coe, co-chairman of the committee, noted that two separate consultants came to the same conclusions about the department's performance.
"Clearly, I think we have some incompetencies taking place within the Department of Education," the Cody Republican said.
Legislative liaisons were hired by the Legislature to monitor the department's work. Their 26-page report documented a host of problems with, and mismanagement of, tasks the agency was charged with undertaking by an education reform law passed this year.
Among other findings, it said the department issued flawed results for grading school performance under the federal No Child Left Behind law, and had offered no detailed plans to implement new state curriculum standards.
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