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Casper's students, educators and parents hash their vision for the future of education | Education

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Casper’s students, educators and parents shared their vision for the future of education in Wyoming during a listening session on Wednesday.

The session at Casper University was hosted by Governor Mark Gordon’s Rethinking and Innovation (RIDE) Advisory Group. Gordon established the RIDE Advisory Group in May. This group of volunteers aims to improve education from kindergarten to high school in Wyoming to a “national leadership position.” Listening sessions help advisory groups collect feedback on what people are experiencing and wanting to see in Wyoming education.

The advisory group recently published the results of an online poll conducted earlier this year. About 7,000 people participated, of which about 4,000 were parents and guardians and 2,600 were school district employees. Retired educators, current and former students and employers also responded.

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The topics covered most were class content and structure, life skills, STEM and standards, and standardized testing. Approximately 59% of participants said they do not believe that Wyoming’s current methods of educating children are prepared for the future.

About 25 people participated in the Casper session. Members of the Wyoming Education Association and the Wyoming Arts Alliance, school supervisors, parents, students, and retired educators. Some of them participated in the survey.

The RIDE Advisory Group has asked the group to consider some questions. What are the strengths of the school system you want to build? What should be improved? What are your ideas for the major and revolutionary changes in the Wyoming education system? Everyone got a card with the question printed on it. They wrote down their thoughts and then shared them with the group.

They thought, at least in the Natrona County School District, a strong arts and music department, educator involvement, many extracurricular activities, and the availability of different types of education (International Baccalaureate classes, bilingual imaging, collaborative education). It was a service committee). class). And at the state-wide level, a school funding model aimed at creating fairness throughout the school district, a fully funded special education program.

What they think they can improve: improve the coherence of educators’ voices, careers, skills and STEAM training in parliament, move away from relying on the energy industry to fund schools, and support and educate on mental health. Personnel training, life skills and financial availability literacy classes, diversity training, and provide a safer space for students.

Some ideas for big and innovative changes: give students credit for community learning, give every child the opportunity to go preschool, and offer more student-led electives to keep them attracted , Emphasize the creation of global citizens, move career preparation to junior high school, focus curriculum on career paths, teach social justice and sympathy, improve life skills classes on sexual education, global citizenship and financial literacy And improve.

One parent objected to the idea of ​​emphasizing global citizenship.

“As a parent, the idea of ​​teaching globalism scares me,” she said. “My kids are not global citizens. She is my kids, they are my kids. They don’t have to be global citizens, they need to be Americans. They are what America is. They need to understand what we represent and what we fought for. “

She was also concerned about teaching social justice and empathy at school.

“At any level, teaching children emotions is not an academic purpose,” she said. “I know you’re dealing with it, but that’s the purpose of the parents.”

Retired educators objected.

“We can lose humanity and connect with each other,” she said. “Be real. As educators, we spend a lot of time on our parents.”

“Isn’t it limited to teaching students about America?” Asked another attendee, a high school student. “Students have different backgrounds. Why are they limiting their learning?”