Panel endorses education reform measure

Mar 1, 2012 By Bob Moen, The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- The House Education Committee has endorsed a bill that continues education overhaul efforts in Wyoming's public schools.

The panel, which approved Senate File 57 Wednesday on a 9-0 vote, made some changes during more than two hours of discussion and work on the legislation, but nothing that would jeopardize the overall goal to make sure Wyoming high school graduates are better prepared for college and careers.

"We made some positive steps today, but there are many questions still to be asked and answered," committee member Rep. John Freeman, D-Green River, said after the meeting.

Lawmakers say the bill is another step in a long education reform process that will require additional work by the Legislature next year.

"This is a multi-year project," said Education Committee Chairman Rep. Matt Teeters, R-Lingle. "There are an awful lot of questions. We're going to take it slowly."

The bill likely will head next to the House Appropriations Committee for review of its spending provisions.

The proposal, which passed the state Senate on Monday, deals with everything from student testing to teacher and administrator evaluations. It sets up a process for measuring student performance and helping schools with poorly performing students improve -- a process that could include firing principals.

Students will be measured in reading, math, science, writing and language throughout their school career, beginning in third grade.

Schools will be judged on such things as student scores on annual statewide assessments and college entrance exams and graduation rates. Superintendents and principals would be held accountable for school performance.

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