What's at Stake?
The knowledge and skills students are learning in our schools today struggle to keep pace with the rapidly evolving demands of a 21st Century workforce, and as a result, systemic changes are needed to better equip our students. This calls for engaging business leaders in state-level education policy and advocacy – working collaboratively with K-12 and higher education to close the skills gap.
Wyoming Excels is the state’s leading force for mobilizing the business sector to improve schools. The business community has the obligation, opportunity, and capacity to transform the public education system.
Increasing the Graduation Rate is Good Business
In 2015, Wyoming had 5,450 high school graduates. If Wyoming's high school graduation rate had been 90%, the State would have had 730 additional graduates. Of those graduates, 58% likely would have enrolled in higher education. The additional income they would have generated would have increased money flowing into State and Local economies leading to greater opportunity for Wyoming.
14 Schools in Wyoming had graduation rates of 90% or higher!
Wyoming is Facing a Growing Skills Gap
As business leaders, we believe the ultimate goal of education should be to create an educated and skilled citizenry that can be employed in Wyoming. Unfortunately, that goal is not being realized in Wyoming and the state is experiencing a growing skills gap.
By 2020, 65% of jobs in Wyoming will require some postsecondary education.
In 2016, 63.2% of adults in Wyoming ages 25 or older had some postsecondary education.
In 2016, only 36.7% of adults ages 25 and older had an associate degree or higher in Wyoming.
ACT l Mathematics l 2017
The Percentage of Students that met ACT Mathematics Benchmarks
ACT l Reading l 2017
The Percentage of Students that met ACT Reading Benchmarks
Wyoming can close the aspirational gap!
While 84% of Wyoming’s 2016 ACT-tested graduating class aspired to enroll in postsecondary education, only 48% actually did enroll. If we fully closed the aspirational gap, an additional 2,232 of the 2016 ACT-tested graduates from Wyoming would have enrolled in postsecondary education.
In 2017, 82% of Wyoming’s 2017 ACT-tested graduates aspired to postsecondary education.
From: The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017. ACT
Wyoming is Struggling to Move from Good to Great on NAEP Exam
The average score of fourth-grade students in Wyoming was higher in every subject than the average score nationally. As business leaders, we want Wyoming schools to be the best in the country. We need to focus on the types of improvements that will take this state from good to great.
In 2017, the average score in mathematics of Wyoming fourth-grade students was 248. This was higher than the average score of 239 for public school students in the nation.
In 2017, the average score in reading of Wyoming fourth-grade students was 227. This was higher than the average score of 221 for public school students in the nation.
In 2017, the average score in mathematics of Wyoming eighth-grade students was 282. This was higher than the average score of 282 for public school students in the nation.
In 2017, the average score in reading of Wyoming eighth-grade students was 269. This was higher than the average score of 265 for public school students in the nation.
From: The Nation's Report Card
Students who don't read proficiently by third grade are four times likelier to drop out of high school and two out of three students who don't read proficiently by fourth grade are likely to end up in jail or on welfare.
After the 2016-2017 school year, the PAWS examine, which was administered to students in grades 3-8, will be replaced with WY-TOPP. The Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) is a system of interim, modular on-demand, and summative assessments in English language art, mathematics, and science.
2016-2017 8th Grade PAWS & WY-ALT Results: State Aggregate
Wyoming Must Provide Support for High-Needs Students
As business leaders, we know that high-needs students are at risk of educational failure and we believe that all students should be provided with the assistance and support that they need to be successful.