The University of Wyoming’s College of Education is taking issue with complaints made about the quality of its graduates.
Last week, at a UW Trustees’ meeting, Governor Mead’s education policy adviser Mary Kay Hill said that the most qualified K-12 teachers in the state “are not coming from UW.”
She pointed to a 2011 report that shows nearly 70 percent of new school district hires in Wyoming came from institutions outside of the state. That’s up from 50 percent in 2000.
The College of Education’s Associate Dean, Leslie Rush, says that reflects changes in the labor market, not necessarily the quality of UW graduates.
“I interpreted that report a little bit differently,” says Rush. “As a result of the increased salaries in Wyoming and the cuts in salaries elsewhere, the students that graduate from the School of Education are seeing increased competition for teaching positions.”
The report’s author, Montana State University professor Christiana Stoddard, says her report does not show that out-of-state teachers taking jobs in Wyoming have come from more selective schools—or are otherwise more qualified.
“They were coming from out of state, but not necessarily, kind of, top-notch institutions out of state,” Stoddard says.
Rush says the college has increased its requirements for entry and now requires a higher ACT score than the University as a whole.