State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow is again misleading the Wyoming people, throwing the weight of the Wyoming Department of Education behind a poorly written bill with no understanding of education.
Let’s look at one point. It would require school boards to publish “a list of the learning materials and activities that were used for student instruction.” Activities are guest lectures. Learning materials, though, are “all textbooks, reading material, videos, digital materials, websites, assessments and other online applications.”
Since Superintendent Balow does not understand public instruction, let’s break down one high school English class. A standard unit is 4 weeks long. In a 36-week year, that’s 8 units. For a unit with one central text, it’s easy. But, to teach that one text, an English teacher could bring in the following: historical documents, historical readings, texts written around the same time (short stories, poems), contemporary texts dealing with a similar theme (song lyrics, poems, short stories), biographies of the author, video biographies of the author or author’s era, graphic representations around the theme, clips from relevant movies (adaptations of the novel). For one unit, a good English teacher could have 10 supplemental texts, and that doesn’t count formative or summative assessments.
But, an English teacher does that at least eight times, or 88 texts. And, most English teachers have at least two preps, so 176 texts. And, in the three Cheyenne high schools, there are maybe 10 English teachers in each building, so 5,280 texts.
Now add social studies, math, science, art and more. That’s just in high school.
This bill would ask school boards to post lists of tens of thousands of texts – for high school. And for junior high school. And more for elementary.
In other words, this bill is written by people who have not spent time in schools, watching teachers teach. It was written by people who do not know about schools or education.
Superintendent Balow endorsing this bill only shows that she cares more about the next office she is running for than the schools she is supposedly leading. This is an embarrassment for Wyoming education.