- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - The University of Wyoming would have a non-voting position on the board that establishes public education policy in the state, under a legislative proposal.

The Legislature’s Joint Education Interim Committee is sponsoring a bill in the next legislative session to add an ex-officio member from UW to the Wyoming State Board of Education. The position would be similar to current board ex-officio members, such as Jim Rose, executive director of the Wyoming Community College Commission.

Board of Education chairman Pete Gosar said the board was interested in having a UW representative to help craft better education policy in the state. “I think ultimately the idea is to do things as well as can be done, and (the board) thought the university is a critical piece to crafting that policy,” Gosar said.

In trying to develop effective policies, the board thinks its focus should expand to pre- and post-K-12 education, Gosar said.

Public education policies, such as science standards, affect how students perform when they enter higher education institutions, so it’s important to look at how they’re taught in Wyoming’s public schools, Gosar said.

“Those seniors go somewhere, and hopefully, it will be to the community colleges or to the university, so it does matter what’s taught in K-12, and it’s important what’s taught in pre-K for kindergarten teachers and getting kids ready,” he told the Laramie Boomerang (https://bit.ly/2gDQP66). “I think this is just a collaborative hope from the board to make better policy and be a more effective board.”

Because many of the teachers in Wyoming schools graduate from UW, Gosar said effective communication between public schools and the university could return better results that last through students’ entire educational careers.

Rep. David Northrup, co-chairman of the Joint Education Committee, said he thinks the bill has many positive attributes that would make a strong case to state lawmakers. “I think the bill will really increase the education quality in Wyoming by getting everybody to talk and communicate, and therefore we can get everyone on the same page,” said Northrup, R-Powell.

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Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com

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