A Beneficial Standard – the Common Core Standards in Wyoming

In comparison to the other states of the US, Wyoming only just joined the Common Core movement, officially adopting it as policy on June 16, 2012. In the state, it is officially known as the Wyoming Content and Performance Standards and is to be officially fully implemented by the 2014-2015 school year. While there is always opposition to bills that expand government control, Wyoming has actually found Common Core to be more beneficial than others.

Wyoming’s Common Core Progress

As some would paint it, Common Core is a federal plot to infiltrate the minds of the young, slowly taking control of the states that way. In truth, they’re simply standards every child should grasp during their time in school to guarantee a better future. As Jim McBride, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, sees it, it’s a better way. Previously, the No Child Left Behind bill forced every state to spend time and money submitting their state standards to the government for approval, leaving many states to call out for another way. Common Core is the government’s answer.

In 2008, the state was up for their annual state standards review with only minimal changes made. The following year, Common Core started showing up more and more in discussions at the same moment Wyoming was finding members of a new committee that would lead a standards overhaul. Once put together, it was clear that the majority favored Common Core. In its favor was the fact that the new standards had a set of basic concepts everyone could agree children need to learn in addition to the stipulation that the state could then add their own concepts on top of the ones in place.

Major opponents declared the government put pressure on each state to adopt, however, this is not how it happened. While the promise of more funding through adoption was appealing, the US Department of Education never once forced the adoption, as evinced by other states, such as Texas, refusing the adoption.

To further distance Common Core from a government conspiracy, Wyoming has a lot of control over the entire process. To start with, a committee was formed to review the standards. On top of this, the public was always in the know. During a period of time, they had a chance to comment on the standards, some emailed, some written. There were also 13 public hearings throughout the state. To take this further, each Wyoming district gets full control over their curriculum. So long as the standards are adhered to, Wyoming teachers can build any kind of curriculum they want, meaning students will reap the benefits.

Wyoming’s Core Future

Review of the process in Wyoming won’t start until 2017, so it’s hard to say just what kind of impact Common Core is making. At the moment, however, it’s in full play across the state. Even so, groups against the federally mandated standards are anything if not vocal. Including the Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core and the Wyoming Liberty Group, these anti-Core groups are calling for repeal and revision immediately. Even legislation is seeing a few bills trying to pass that would halt the process altogether.

Yet in light of this, the vast majority of school districts have already fully implemented the change. There are still quite a few that need more time to complete total integration, however all should have at least a basic framework in play by the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Designed as a way to get American students up to par no matter the school district while upping their educational global competitiveness, Common Core seeks to revolutionize the rather shaky structure of the current American school system. While opponents are quick to point out all the bad things that could happen, nothing is for certain until we see the generation of students successfully graduate.