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Teacher Representation On State Board Of Education, Stands Out Nationally

Wyoming State Board of Education

Most states don’t require teacher representation on the State Board of Education. But Wyoming is among the few that do, and give those teachers voting rights. That’s according to Education Weekly, which published preliminary research from the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Eight states appoint teachers, and just four — Wyoming, Arizona, Tennessee and Mississippi — give teachers voting rights with their appointment.

State Boards of Education are responsible for approving standards and assessment tools, as well as holding schools accountable. Those decisions affect what’s taught and how educational outcomes are measured, which directly impacts teachers.

Wyoming Education Association President, Kathy Vetter, said teachers’ voting rights help to ensure standards align with student needs. “And I think that’s one of the reasons we’re a leader in education across the nation.”

Vetter added, “What it really says is that Wyoming through its constitution, through its State Board of Education, through all of our documents show that we truly believe that education is of great importance in Wyoming.”

The governor appoints one teacher to serve on the 13 member board for a six-year term. According to a spokesperson with the Wyoming Legislative Services Office, the policy went into effect in 1967.

Tennessee -- despite what the name might make you think -- was born and raised in the Northeast. She most recently called Vermont home. For the last 15 years she's been making radio -- as a youth radio educator, documentary producer, and now reporter. Her work has aired on Reveal, The Heart, LatinoUSA, Across Women's Lives from PRI, and American RadioWorks. One of her ongoing creative projects is co-producing Wage/Working (a jukebox-based oral history project about workers and income inequality). When she's not reporting, Tennessee likes to go on exploratory running adventures with her mutt Murray.
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