Wyoming Board Of Education Meets, Debates Issues

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Education is a hot topic in Wyoming and today members of the state board of education gather to discuss unmet expectations.

News 13's Lauren Wells was at the meeting and learned about some of the expectations school administrators want to see.

Members spent the day in Casper debating on everything from parents' role in education to local control.

"We can always do better. So even though we are seeing improved NAEP scores. We are seeing some improved scores across the state on other measures, all districts want to improve our practice," says Paige Hughes, State Board Coordinator.

State board members say the school system is not performing. Their aim is to try to fix it by starting with what the coordinator says is the biggest issue to date.

Hughes continues, "Just the issue of clarifying targets so districts understand very clearly what is expected of them and then they are able to find their work and set plans in place to move those targets."

Some school districts don't have plans in place to reach set standards. Hughes says clarifying these targets does just that and helps solve other issues as well.

She says, "We hear this a lot in Wyoming: That we are spending all of this money on Education and we may not be getting our bang for our buck. That really goes back to having clear targets."

Clear targets will help members like Hughes determine if their money is being well spent or should be used somewhere else.

"Once we determine what they are for districts, than we will be able to make sure that we are meeting those targets. Then we will know. If we are meeting those targets than we are getting the bang for our buck. But when we move the targets and that's unclear to districts, it's hard to measure that for sure," Hughes continues.

Other state board members agree, saying everyone will benefit from letting school districts know the requirements.

"There's an interest in folks continuing to improve and see success and these are pretty critical components or foundational pieces that need to be established in order for this to happen. For this framework to take that into account, it allows us to do more responsible and targeted work as well," says Walt Wilcox.

Hughes says even once this problem is solved, board members will always keep trying to improve the education system.

She also says another issue is parent accountability and attendance.

State board members want to work with school administrators to make sure parents are creating a healthy learning environment for their kids and ensure students are actually attending.

The board will continue meeting over the next few weeks to continue addressing these issues.

All meetings are open to the public.