RED ALERT! WE MUST STOP HR5 – Masquerading as the “Student Success Act” or NCLB Reauthorization!


Our US Congressional Leadership is pushing HR5, the 600 page Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and have rebranded it the “Student Success Act” – DO NOT BE FOOLED!  It’s NOT going to bring Student Success!

This is happening with lightning speed! PLEASE contact our US Reps: Here is their contact information:

Click on each name to be taken to their contact pages:

Senator Mike Enzi

Senator John Barrasso

Representative Cynthia Lummis

Why VOTE NO on HR5?

1. HR5 Denigrates Parental Rights and Seizes State Sovereignty

  • No program shall “operate within a State, unless the legislature of that State shall have . . . waived the State’s rights and authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance.” (Sec. 6561) (emphasis added).
  • Federal requirements will trump the rights “reserved to the States and individual Americans by the United States Constitution” to lead in the education of their child. (Sec. 6564)
  • Requires states to change laws and regulations to “conform” to HR5. (Sec. 1403)
  • Alters the governance structures of states by requiring them to form “Committees of Practitioners” to whom the state must submit rules and regulations. (Sec. 1403)

2. HR5 Does Nothing to Relieve Children From No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB’s) Oppressive Testing Requirements.

3. Feds Will Effectively Direct State Education Policy through Enhanced Continuation of Heavy-Handed NCLB Policies

  • Requires states to demonstrate to the federal government that their standards, assessments, and state accountability systems meet the goal of “prepar[ing] all students to graduate high school for postsecondary education or the workforce.” (Sec. 1001)
  • Requires states to submit comprehensive state plans, which the Secretary can disapprove. (Sec. 1111)
  • States had to make the same showing and meet the same definitional goal to receive NCLB waivers and Race to the Top grants.. HR5 allows for a Common Core “rebrand.”  (Sec. 1001) and (Sec. 1111(3)(A))
  • Prohibitions against the Secretary forcing states into adopting Common Core are meaningless.

4. Increases Federal Data Collection To Control Curriculum

  • Empowers the Department of Education to request individual student and teacher data from State and Local Education Agencies.
  • Authorizes substantial new funding to use this data to evaluate whether schools are using “effective” instructional methods.  (Sec. 2111(b)(1)(A)) and (Sec. 2132)

The above information is originally from the Parents Against the Common Core website.

The 5th concern that I am adding, is in my opinion, the MOST IMPORTANT CONCERN!

5.   It Mandates, for Private Schools, NON-Religious Programs, Counselors, Technologies

“Student for Success Act: HR5” can be found here: Bill Text: Student Success Act

Posted below is the letter I wrote to my US representatives:  Please feel free to use this to get a jump start on yours!  Time is of the essence!  I chose to focus on the religious freedom aspect.  Please write what you feel is most important or include all of the issues from the 5 points above.

Dear Mike Enzi, Cynthia Lummis, and John Barrasso,

HR5, the Student Success Act, hurts religious liberty.

Hidden deep in the 600 page bill are affronts to parental rights, state rights, and private schools’ rights, including the right to promote religion to children. This is the bottom line for me — the reason to vote no on this bill. It is true that the marketing of “reduce the federal footprint” and the bill’s opening pages  are very enticing to a conservative’s ears.

However,  HR5 mandates that PRIVATE SCHOOLS: “ensure that teachers and families of the children participate, on an equitable basis, in services and activities… SECULAR, NEUTRAL, NONIDEOLOGICAL.— Such educational services or other benefits, including materials and equipment, shall be secular, neutral and non-ideological.” See pdf of bill, pages 78-82.

The bill says that the government will enforce this and other regulations, in PRIVATE schools, thus: “The State educational agency involved shall designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements.” On page 82 the bill states that the LEA (school district) must consult with private school officials and must transmit results of their “agreement” to this state-paid ombudsman.

The attack on private schools’ religious freedoms is really the heart of this matter for me.  There are many home school statutes across the nation and often times they are considered a form of private school.  Also, I am the Co-owner and Education Director for the Glenn J. Kimber Academy, Sweetwater, LLC in Green River, Wyoming.  I fear that this bill will greatly affect what I do for my own children and our students.

Please, stand up AGAINST this bill FOR FREEDOM, especially religious freedom.

Thank you,

Christy Hooley

Co-Owner/Educational Director GJK Academy, Sweetwater, WY LLC Green River, WY




Additional reasons to vote NO on HR5:

It represents a federal takeover of private school benefits funding:

On page 535, the bill slashes freedom by mandating equity for private and public schools. “Benefits provided under this section for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel shall be equitable in comparison to services and other benefits for public school children, teachers, and other educational personnel”. The government has no right to command a private school to give more benefits, nor to withhold benefits, from private school teachers, staff or children. The same page states: “Expenditures for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other service personnel shall be equal to the expenditures for participating public school children.” The ombudsman’s job, according to page 80, is to “monitor and enforce” such “equity for private school children”.

The bill increases data collection. See 2. SEC. 1138:


It makes state rights conditional. See page 564 Subpart 4, Section 6561:

“STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE” –How will a state “expressly waive” its authorities and rights? –Answer from the bill: simply by having a state legislature accept federal money. A state that acts “inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary as a condition of receiving that assistance” will waive its authority because the legislature of that state would have “expressly approved that [federal] program”. If a state’s or a parent’s rights conflicted with a requirement, too bad: the federal bill claims authority to enforce obedience from states because the states take the money.

It makes parents’ rights conditional. See page 567, Section 6564: “…Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.” By tying inalienable parental rights to the receipt of funds and federal “obligations,” the bill just claimed authority to take parental rights away, under conditions it has just defined. Even in the statement of purpose on page 11, the bill minimizes parents and maximizes itself, by “affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”. To reduce parents to a recipient of government-granted “opportunities to participate in” the education of a child is de-parenting. It’s far, far different from Utah’s legal code, which states in multiple places that: “A student’s parent or guardian is the primary person responsible for the education of the student, and the state is in a secondary and supportive role to the parent or guardian.”


I’d like to thank Christal Swasey and her blog Common Core: Education without Representation for all of the hard work she has put into informing her readers and our neighboring state of Utah!

Is Your Local School Board Representing YOU or an Association Concerning Common Core? Insist they LISTEN to YOU!


Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core have recently been made aware that the Wyoming Association of School Administrators (WASA) is in the process of sending a letter to all of the local school boards, encouraging them to sign it and send on to legislators as part of an effort to lobby for moving ahead with education reform many parents do NOT want (Common Core, Smarter Balanced, and so on).  This effort could have tremendous influence with legislature if parents do not take action.

There are many new school board members and even experienced ones who could feel pressured to sign on and desperately need to hear both sides of what WASA is advocating for before making this decision.

We have printed the WASA’s letter to legislators below, and immediately after it appears our rebuttal, which addresses each of the five numbered points in detail for your reference and for that of school board members.

At the very least, please send a copy of the WASA letter along with our rebuttal to your local school board and ask them to consider these facts and your opposition before they decide to sign on. Also please consider using the points we’ve provided in a letter to both the Governor and the State Superintendent of Instruction. Links are provided for your convenience below.

Letter from WASA to our local school boards:

November 24, 2014


On behalf of the Wyoming Association of School Administrators (WASA), we would like to offer our sincere thanks for your work as our local legislature. As leaders of local school districts we look forward to working with you and the legislature to make this state a national leader in education.

Many of us involved in district leadership feel that the last few years comprised numerous missed opportunities to involve superintendents, board members and experts in our respective constituencies to make critical decisions affecting all of us. We have been adversely affected by a lack of consistency and direction from state leaders, which has led to ongoing confusion for districts regarding standards, assessment and accountability as a whole. As a consequence, many districts have relied upon their own interpretations and judgments regarding these important matters.

To avoid these issues in the future, we strongly recommend the following in the spirit of collaboration and cooperation.

1. Apply for the federal NCLB waiver to eliminate duplicate reporting which results in unwarranted frustration and spending for the state and districts.  The waiver would allow our state the flexibility to implement and redesign an effective accountability system that would meet the needs of Wyoming students, educators and taxpayers. We believe the federal accountability system has reached its logical conclusions and impact.

2. Support districts to fully implement the adopted Wyoming State Standards (WSS) as written. Thousands of dollars and hours have been spent by districts in efforts to align curricula, procure resources, and train staff to embed the WSS in effective instruction on a daily basis. Your department could provide expertise and support to ensure that all districts are implementing the standards efficaciously. We fear that rewriting the state standards would put our state back at least five years and create more confusion and anxiety.

3. Advocate for the immediate adoption of Smarter Balanced Assessments as Wyoming’s accountability measure. Our legislative accountability consultants use the aphorism, “if you want to measure change, don’t change the measure.” Smarter Balanced is the best available measure that is fully aligned to the WSS. Its adoption could save the state as much as $7.5 million per year if used in lieu of current tools. The Smarter Balanced Assessment suite would provide timely formative feedback that could be used to impact teaching and learning immediately. It would also provide summative feedback that would reveal how Wyoming compares with the states around us so the legislature can see what the people of Wyoming are getting for the highest-per-capita student spending in the nation.

4. Reestablish the importance of the work that was done from 2011-2014 on state level accountability systems.  Again, this lack of emphasis has led to confusion and impact of this legislation. We must move our state forward toward a balanced accountability system that allows districts to design their own frameworks for other necessary skills and knowledge necessary for the 21st century.  These next generation of accountability systems, like those being developed in states like New Hampshire, move more toward more personalized modes of education for students and highly involves districts in the design of their own accountability system in conjunction with state parameters.

5. Finally, we urge that you create an advisory group made up of superintendents and curriculum directors to help develop the state system of supports. The capacity to move our state to become a national leader is a major element that has been lacking in response in the recent accountability discussions. Many ideas have been offered, but nothing has come from these efforts to date.  We also urge that national thought leaders in this area be used to help foster this design. In sum, WASA and all of our members truly believe that we can once again become partners with the governor’s office, WDE and the legislature for the benefit of our students and communities.

Thank you in advance for your time, and we look forward to working with you for the benefit of all the students in Wyoming.


Superintendent Board Chair

WASA Letter to Boards (Printable Version)

Our Rebuttal, Point by Point:

1.  NCLB – It is widely acknowledged that NCLB is poor policy and yet, through a waiver system not passed by Congress, the current administration has used NCLB as one of the main clubs to ultimately force states down the path that eliminates local control and parents’ ability to have a meaningful say in education policy. Sadly, WASA is endorsing these very ideas, such as the NCLB waiver.

  • The waiver does not come free and obligates us to keep the CCSS, which is completely controlled by people unaccountable to us.
  • WASA wants it because they don’t want a bifurcated accountability system where it must report results two ways based on separate state and federal requirements, and these two reports could potentially conflict with each other.
  • This double reporting is another symptom of the disease of federal and state control over education.
  • We do not support any attempt by Wyoming to obtain a waiver.
  • We do support Wyoming giving the education system back to local communities and allowing parents the authority to hold our local school districts accountable.

2.  CCSS – Educators are being urged to refer to the Common Core as “Wyoming State Standards” for messaging purposes, as evidenced by meeting summary notes from WEA’s Education Coalition.

  • This is subterfuge that insults the intelligence of parents and voters. We must call them what they are…Common Core State Standards.
  • The districts that are claiming they spent thousands of dollars did much of that ahead of the actual adoption of CCSS.
  • Since parents first learned about Common Core and became alarmed, we have demanded a cost analysis, which has never materialized.
  • We keep being assured that there’s no significant additional cost and that the tests will actually be less expensive. It’s time that a full accounting of monies spent needs to be given to the legislature.
  • The accounting should include the cost the implementing the Common Core State Standards fully. 

3.  SBAC – WY spends roughly $1.5 billion on education. $7.5 million is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the total cost of education and thus not worth mentioning when discussing the question of quality education and assessments, which is what parents are concerned about.

  • To claim that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is aligned to the Wyoming State Standards is deliberately misleading.
  • The SBAC is definitely aligned to the CCSS for English Language Arts and Math.
  • WASA is speaking against itself when it says, “if you want to measure change, don’t change the measure.” You are changing the measure by bringing SBAC. If you don’t want to change the measure then you should be advocating for continuing the PAWS.
  • WASA claims SBAC will help schools compare student progress to students in other states. SBAC is a computer adaptive test and PARCC is a fixed test…even if we undertook the risks of adopting SBAC, we still can’t get a perfectly accurate comparison to students in other states.
  • Parents want the cult of comparability to end as this leads to more and more testing.
  • Wyoming parents want Wyoming teachers to be at the heart of the creation of any tests given to their schoolchildren, not multistate consortium where Wyoming barely has a vote. We want autonomy with our tests.
  • Parents’ legitimate concerns over data collection and privacy have still not been addressed. It is no longer enough to “FERPA Compliant” because FERPA was quietly gutted and no longer protects our family information adequately.
  • Developing an SLDS that is compatible with every other state’s while feeding data into it with the intention of sharing with the federal government and others (not clearly defined and therefore open to abuse) has created by fiat what will be an illegal national database for personal and educational information. Parents say no to this.
  • The WASA letter states, “We have been adversely affected by a lack of consistency and direction from state leaders, which has led to ongoing confusion for districts regarding standards, assessment and accountability as a whole,” and yet WASA continues to push for the adoption of the SBAC as Wyoming’s assessment. We can only believe that WASA is unaware of the current lawsuit in the state of Missouri where a circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order on the payment of membership fees to SBAC on the grounds that the consortium is an illegal interstate compact under the Compact Clause of the US Constitution. This makes the stability of the federal consortium (SBAC) questionable.   

4.  Accountability systems – From parents’ perspective, we just want an accountability system that holds the district accountable to us, not to the state. Parents are the chief consumers of the education system and the only ones truly capable of holding it accountable.

  • Creating more government accountability simply perpetuates more government control, which is a noose that is tightening around the freedom and creativity of our classrooms.
  • WASA’s position on the merits of accountability would be stronger if they were to put themselves on the same level as teachers in the Wyoming Accountability Act. In the last accountability bill (p. 7) there was a motion to remove a major portion of the bill in which the districts’ ability to immediately fire school principals was removed.
  • Since WASA is so interested in NCLB Waivers, keeping the Common Core, and acquiring SBAC against the wishes of parents, then the administrators should be put back in and be held accountable as well. There is something wrong in advocating for all these things and then being let off the hook when the axes start to fall for the teachers.
  • Meanwhile, it is Wyoming families and their children that pay the price of lost privacy, stress and anxiety, as their schools becomes a miserable place, focused almost solely on testing.

5.  Advisory Group – This is another illustration that shows how out of control education is.

  • So many education elitists now think the only way we can improve education is by turning away from local communities and relying on small clubs of high level bureaucrats to organize solutions based on great-sounding ideas gleaned from “national thought leaders”, rather than just letting educational laboratories do their work and select from the highest performing programs based on evidence.
  • Parents want legitimate involvement in the major educational decisions, and this idea of WASA’s would circumvent that.
  • Parents cringe at the words of “national thought leaders”, because this is the thinking that delivered CCSS, SBAC and NGSS to our door and forces us to cry out for what we should have had in place before: a proper local process that genuinely involves non-educator parents and other stakeholders.
  • We would like to see WASA partner with parents in local communities, and not just the WDE and legislature.

WCOCC Rebuttal Letter (Printable Version)


Again, we are asking that you take several actions to help make known your feelings concerning this form letter

1) Contact your local school board (HERE) and ask them to consider not signing a form letter that was pre-written on their behalf. For their reference, provide each member a copy of WASA’s letter (in case they’ve not yet seen it) and the rebuttal and make clear in your own words your opposition to the Board signing WASA’s letter appealing to legislators. (Printable versions are available in this post above)

2) Contact your legislators and tell them that you disagree with this form letter. ==>HERE

3) Contact the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and let her know that you disagree with this form letter at as well as our Superintendent Elect, Jillian Balow at 

4) Contact the Governor and let him know that you disagree wit this form letter at

I’m Voting for Jillian Balow: Here’s Why


I am thrilled to say that these past 6 months I have enjoyed getting to know Jillian Balow.  I feel confident she is the right person to represent teachers and parents in the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Some of you may be surprised, as I was one of her harshest critics during the primary election, that I am giving my endorsement with confidence.

Working with parents and teachers fighting common core across our state, I have found it is vital that we have an open dialogue with our state superintendent of public instruction.  THIS is why I am endorsing Jillian.  She reached out to those who were her critics and has shown a true desire to understand the issues that surround the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  It is clear she wants to represent EVERYONE, not just those in government education bureaucracy.

Jillian Balow is a genuine, hard working mother that hit the campaign trail seeking to understand parents.  She has come to realize it is a majority of citizens that are fighting to retain local control and removal of common core.  She is also a strong believer in local control.  She believes that Common Core is not right for Wyoming because it was adopted even though parents and teachers had NO input.  She also knows that it takes away the ability of communities to make important decisions about the education of their children.

Jillian recently stated she disagreed with the Attorney General’s opinion that parents cannot opt children out of high stakes standardized testing.  Her democrat opponent took the opposite view, agreeing with the AG, that parents do not have that right to opt out of standardized testing. (Sign the petition HERE if you haven’t already).

Jillian’s opponent also, as evidenced at a forum I saw the two interact, has a disturbing lack of education expertise and knowledge of government agency management. He is also under the impression that those fighting common core are misguided and stated he will not engage with us and should be ignored!  We cannot afford to lose this open dialogue with our only representative in education!

Jillian Balow has ten years of teaching experience, eight years in state government leadership, is a fifth generation Wyomingite, and mother of two children currently enrolled in Wyoming schools.

Jillian is a Wyoming educator and strong leader in Wyoming government; unlike her opponent who has zero teaching experience.  She is also very concerned about national special interests and the federal government encroaching on Wyoming’s ability to control the education of its youth.  Her opponent will run education like a corporation, and is embracing the national and federal encroachment that comes along with the Common Core States Standards Initiative (testing, evaluations, data mining, and workforce training).

Please join me in supporting Jillian Balow for Superintendent of Public Instruction because she is not only the best choice, but she will continue to engage with parents and teachers that have spoken out against education reform.  Vote tomorrow with me and support Jillian Balow for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Common Core Hot Topic in HD48 Forum Tonight: Rep. Mark Baker gets My Endorsement


Tonight I attended the candidate forum for House District 48 (Rock Springs) with candidates Representative Mark Baker (R) and Joe Bartuto (D). I was pleased that my question concerning the AG’s recent statement on parental right to opt out of testing was selected. I asked, “What is your stance on parental rights and education and your opinion concerning the Attorney General’s statement on opting out of standardized testing?” Baker was quick to point out that parents have the right to direct the education of their children and believes that parents have the right to opt out. He was familiar with the AG’s statement and says he disagrees with it. Barbuto was not familiar with the AG’s statement but stated he wants less testing so that teachers can “just teach”. I found Barbuto’s statement to be rather ironic given the fact that he clearly supports the Common Core State Standards. He made statements in rebuttal to Baker’s comments that Common Core is clearly a top down approach to education and that parents and teachers were left out of the process. Barbuto said, “Common Core is not a federal take over of education and states had input.” I would LOVE to see the proof that Barbuto has that Wyoming was involved or any other state for that matter.

Mark Baker made it clear that it only takes a little research to know the facts on how Common Core was brought to our state and mentioned that there were experts in attendance that would be happy to discuss it. Barbuto mocked this and said he hoped that Baker meant all the teachers in attendance. What I have observed is that teachers and parents claim Wyoming had input because they have been TOLD they had input, NOT due to actually participating in the creation of them. Public comment period does not equate true input or being “state led”. I was teaching in the public school system and I had NO notice, no opportunity, no request to comment on something that would have a major impact on my career.  The only notice I had was when training was available on the newly adopted standards. Again, were is the proof made by those still pushing the “state led” talking point? How is it state led when Bill Gates says he is funding CCSS so that he will have a uniform base of customers, after all the curriculum and testing is aligned? I’d like to see evidence of states actually collaborating to create standards!

Off of my rant…

This is WHY you need to support Mark Baker! Not only is he on the right side of the Common Core fight and education – he is a TRUE conservative that will protect our freedoms. Please take a moment to read his opening and closing statements from tonight’s forum.


“I would like to thank the individuals and organizations involved for the opportunity to present the differences between my opponent and me. I would also like to thank those individuals that are participating in the crowd here and listening live on the radio. And thank the millions in our military and law enforcement that serve every day to ensure we have free speech.
I am running for re-election because I believe that principles of government must be fought for and protected. Our lifestyle and legacy are critical. I believe I share common principles with the majority of house district 48.
I was raised and went to school here in Rock Springs. I graduated from Rock Springs High and continued onto WWCC where I received two associate’s degrees. While there I served as a senator and the student body president. I then continued my education in Laramie at the University of Wyoming where I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts.
My life experience is broad. I have owned four small businesses. Contrary to Hilary Clinton’s recent statements, businesses do create jobs and as a legislator I have fought hard for continuing an atmosphere where the free market can prosper. As a business owner, I have created jobs. I am convinced the free market is the solution to many of our economic troubles.
I have been a part of various organizations in our community. I spent three years as a volunteer firefighter and worked as a substitute teacher. During the past decade, I have driven truck commercially including delivering hazardous materials in the oil field. I have real life experience with the oil and gas industries and I will continue to fight for an environment that allows our industries to flourish despite President Obama’s attempt to hamper our responsible growth.
As legislators, every vote we cast counts and is subject to criticism. That’s why I feel it is important to disclose that in 2008 and 2012 I did not vote for President Obama. In 2016, I will not vote for Hilary Clinton. Many of the policies we will discuss tonight are linked to the failed policies of our current president. He has continued to force a top down, cookie cutter approach. It is troubling that a federal judge or an appointed administrative position tells us how to manage wolves, grizzly bears, the city boundaries of Riverton, how to define marriage. We continue to see legislation that, “we have to pass to know what is in it”. We need strong voices in Cheyenne that will stand for what is right in the face of political correctness. We cannot elect officials that will just go along to get along. We must support individuals that will stand up on principle and will fight for what is right. There is much more to legislating than glad handing at evening cocktail events and entertaining. Our legislators make decisions that affect all aspects of our lives.
There are fundamental differences between us on policy, experience, morals and approach. As the evening progresses, I know these differences will be evident. And I am looking forward to discussing the issues and taking questions.

My opponent has spent the campaign repeating rhetoric that is strikingly similar to many of the democrat candidates throughout the state. He has hired consultants to design his materials and make phone calls for him and sent other people knocking on the doors of constituents. During this campaign, one theme remains true. My opponent has four sessions of votes that do not reflect the political views of the majority of people in this district.

Let me take a moment and share one legislative ranking system. The Wyoming Liberty Group indexes legislators every year. After each session the group takes every bill and analysis it as to whether it is liberty friendly, unfriendly or neutral. Liberty can be defined as “freedom from unjust government.” Based on the analysis they rank legislators by assigning them a number with 1 being the most Liberty friendly legislator. During my opponent’s last two years he ranked 58th and 60th out of 61. In the last two years, I ranked 13th and 7th, illustrating one more difference between us.

During the session, I would spend evenings alone in the capitol, revising and timing my presentations so that the people of this district would receive the most benefit from the time I spent on the floor. I spent hours answering emails and phone calls from my constituents. I studied bills, and actively involved myself in committee meetings. My opponent sponsored bills, then didn’t show up to present them in committee.

There are fundamental differences between us on policy, experience, morals and approach and only a few of them have been discussed tonight. If you would like more information about me or this campaign, please contact me at 371-5113 or on Facebook at

Petition for Ensuring Right to OPT OUT of Testing: Reaction to AG’s Opinion


Wyoming Parents Take Note!  Your right to Opt out of Testing is in Jeopardy!  Please sign our petition provided BELOW to help ensure Governor Mead knows you demand he protect your right.  The right to direct the education of your child as YOU SEE FIT, regardless of our Attorney General’s opinion.


1) SIGN THE PETITION to OPT OUT HERE (Full  Petition Text Included)


Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core recently informed you about the letter published by our Attorney General, concerning his opinion on opting out of high stakes standardized testing.   They have sent the following letter (copied below) to ALL legislators.   They are asking that you join with other concerned parents standing up for their rights and send a similar letter.

Dear Legislator,

You likely know about the recent AG opinion that parents may not opt out of state tests.  Parents have numerous legitimate reasons to want to do this, especially the nationalized variety like Smarter Balanced.  Besides the concerns over data mining/sharing, data breaches and hacking which as yet have not been satisfactorily addressed, SBAC pilot tests made it clear that to be successful, teachers must teach using math strategies that are educationally controversial and unproven, making nonsense of the notion that districts still would have “control” over how they teach our students.  Further, parents may also determine that the process of taking the test and the stress involved for students in an “accountability” culture does more harm than good when taking the child’s individual needs and gifts into account.

There is already simmering resentment amongst parents in Wyoming when it comes to the quiet onset of the Common Core and the consortium tests intended to follow on its heels.  The Attorney General’s opinion, with its direct affront to parental rights, is very likely to fan the glowing embers in full flame.  The fact that penalties are not outlined in statute begs that the opinion be challenged…either by civil disobedience or lawsuit.  

To avoid this difficult outcome, concerned parents are very much in favor of a clear legislative statement being made in Wyoming about parental rights; you may expect an opportunity to do so this session.  We urge you to review the excellent case made for fundamental rights in this article and be ready to stand up for parental rights when this time comes:

You may also be interested to know that The Center for Education Reform ranks Wyoming 40th among states for “Parent Power”(  Will the AG opinion help or hurt Wyoming’s reputation for parental rights?

Thank you for your consideration and your service.  We wish you productivity as the interim continues and a fruitful legislative session, and personal blessing for you and your families.  


Concerned Citizen

Green River, WY

SBAC Common Core Testing Not Right for Wyoming: Letter to Select Commitee

Here is an exceptional letter written by Dan Brophy of Jackson Hole.  I have received permission to post it here for you to read.

Mr. Brophy addresses many concerns that surround the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core Testing.  This test is being strongly considered for adoption and replacement of the PAWS test in our state.  I hope that many people read this letter and also contact  those on the Select Committee on Education and Accountability.   This committee will be making a decision on SBAC during the upcoming session beginning January 13th of 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Select Committee:

I write to urge you to abandon consideration of adopting SBAC assessments in Wyoming schools.

This Select Committee, the Governor and the Legislature cannot truthfully state that local control is maintained when Wyoming signs onto the SBAC consortium. Wyoming may be a member of the Executive Committee, but membership conveys no rights for our state to act on its own if it disagrees with test content or methodology, or finds any other problems with the SBAC test. Once you have committed Wyoming to the SBAC path, each of you individually and all of you collectively, as the government of this state, will be as helpless as parents to change anything without the permission of outside entities whose interests do not coincide with Wyoming interests. Not one of you can refute this fact.

Wyoming spends nearly $500 million/year on state community colleges and the University of Wyoming. Surely, within this vast fountain of spending, our state could find the academic expertise and persons to design its own, flexible but superior standards in order to improve, modify or replace PAWS. And why not invite parents into the process – who have basically been ignored?

Common Core is just that: common. By design, every student learns the same things at the same time, which means early-bloomers will end up frustrated and late-bloomers will end up characterized as academically deficient. Learning pace differs by individual, and always will. Applying a rigid standard, including SBAC tests, takes away the flexibility of individual teachers to tailor their learning plans to the pace, talent and interest of each student. The rigidity of Common Core will  unfairly systematize pre-judging of students who have different talents and learn at different paces. Common Core sets up standardized testing as the measure of success, but a student’s education is a much broader effort and accomplishment than test scores.

Do not adopt SBAC – this is not right for our students or their parents. Go back to work and find a Wyoming-designed, Wyoming-controlled testing regime that we can adapt and improve on our own.

Don’t forget this committee will be making a decision on SBAC during the upcoming session beginning January 13th of 2015.  Members on this committee can be found HERE.  PLEASE email them TODAY!   

Thank you!



Wyoming AG Assalts Parental Rights to Opt Out of High Stakes Testing!


Former director of the Wyoming Department of Education, Richard Crandall, was faced with several parental requests to opt their children out of statewide assessments. The Wyoming Department of Education initially attempted to answer this question on their own by stating that parents could not opt out. However, when parents challenged this position by asking for the Department to reference the specific Wyoming statute that prohibited parental opt out, no such statute could be provided. Therefore, former Director Crandall turned to the Wyoming Attorney General for an opinion. The letter requesting that opinion was dated April 2014.

Flash forward approximately 5 months. The Wyoming Attorney General issued his opinion to the Wyoming Department of Education. In this opinion dated August 27, 2014, the AG gives the following short answer regarding the parental right to opt out question:

“The rules of the State Board of Education require districts to assess all eligible students. This requirement is within the Board’s statutory authority. Accordingly, districts must assess all eligible students, and students may not opt out of assessment” See the entire letter HERE.

The reasoning given? He believes parental rights have been trumped by the Wyoming Education Accountability Act that was passed in 2011. The Attorney General emphasizes that this accountability system gathers information on students, teachers and schools. Schools are then categorized into one of four performance levels: exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, partially meeting expectations or not meeting expectations. In his interpretation of Wyoming statute, the AG has determined that the State Board of Education by rule, requires as part of district accreditation that ALL students in Wyoming public schools participate in state testing.

Interestingly, the AG does not comment on the lack of penalty language in Wyoming statute. The final statement made in his opinion is that districts may not allow students or their parents to opt out of assessments provided by law. However, what would happen if they did? The statute is not clear and no penalties are provided by law.

Did the Wyoming legislature indeed intend to force ALL students in Wyoming to take statewide assessments, regardless of whether or not parents feel it is appropriate for their child? To date, that question remains unanswered. We would encourage you to speak to your elected officials and ask them to consider addressing a provision for parental opt out in the upcoming 2015 Legislative session. It would take a significant amount of students opting out of statewide assessments to truly impact the federal funding that districts receive under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Watch a video with reaction and commentary concerning the AG’s opinion HERE.

Read the official document from the Wyoming Attorney General  HERE.

Contact the AG’s Department and let them know your how you feel concerning this decision HERE.