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Tribune Staff

It's time for the state to rethink student assessment

NCS Pearson, the company that administers Wyoming's student assessment — the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students, or PAWS — is running a public apology for technical glitches that rendered many students' test scores unusable this year.

Due to the widespread nature of the test problems, the state has requested that some scores be thrown out. And, according to an Associated Press report, the state Department of Education estimates the problems cost the state about $9.5 million in damages.

In addition, the colossal waste of teacher and student time can't be ignored. In an attempt to meet mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act, instructors spend months teaching to statewide assessment tests. Students feel the pressure to perform, and valuable class time is spent preparing for and taking the PAWS test.

NCS Pearson certainly owes the education department, teachers, students and parents an apology, as well as financial restitution, for its ineptitude — but it's time for the state to question its relationship with the company and to move forward in evaluating and rethinking its assessment process.

The State Superindent of Public Instruction oversees the Department of Education — the person who wins that race in the November elections should make a revamp of student assessment a top priority, and NCS Pearson should not figure into the equation.

(Jan. 10, 1947 - July 15, 2010)

Fred Prestly Riddle, 63, of Gillette, died July 15, 2010, doing what he loved, driving truck.

Rosario “Rosie” V. Bustos, 94, died at St. John's Care Center in Billings on Tuesday, July 20, 2010.


Fire consumes a pickup inside a garage on Dick and Lois Asher's property on Shoshone Street. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson

Cause of Shoshone Street blaze unknown

A garage behind the home of Dick and Lois Asher on Shoshone Street was fully engulfed in flames at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday when neighbor John Wasden banged on their front door to warn them of the danger.

Frightened by the late-night, insistent banging, Lois Asher said she hesitated to answer the door at first — then she saw the light from the flames behind the house and realized what was happening.

A bill authorizing a study to determine if the site of the former Heart Mountain Relocation Center should be managed by the National Park Service passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

The bill, H.R. 3989, passed the House on a voice vote on July 13, and now will move to the Senate for consideration.

A new back-country fire near Beach Lake in Yellowstone National Park was estimated at 150 acres in size with zero percent containment Monday afternoon by the National Park Service.

The Beach Lake Fire, discovered Sunday morning, is seven miles southwest of Bridge Bay campground and two miles south of Beach Lake in Yellowstone's interior.


The baseball eludes Powell Pioneer second baseman Dallas Robirds while attempting to make a play against a Cody Cubs baserunner during the Pioneers' 13-1 victory in Cody last week. Tribune photo by Ben Wetzel

Pioneers finish undefeated run through Northwest Conference

The Powell Pioneers used a revolving door philosophy on Sunday to sweep a doubleheader from Jackson in the final regular-season games of the summer for Post 26. The Pioneers' wins came by final scores of 15-8 and 14-4.

The victories also placed the final touches on an undefeated conference campaign. Powell was 12-0 against its fellow Northwest Conference members this year and carries a 37-12-2 mark into district tournament play this week in Cody.

All-stars get a shot to defend state title

The Powell Babe Ruth all-stars squad shut down a trio of Big Horn Basin teams to capture the Wyoming District 4 Babe Ruth title over the weekend. Powell knocked off Cody, Lovell and Worland to win the tournament in Worland.

Powell opened tournament play with a 10-2 victory over Cody, thanks to a strong start in the game. Powell sent 10 players to bat in the first inning, scoring five runs to take control of the game early.

Panthers to host personal development guru

Shane Warwick, a personal workout instructor with 15 years of combined high school and collegiate head coaching experience, will be the featured clinician at an advanced offensive basketball camp next week. Powell High School head boys' basketball coach Mike Heny announced the camp, which is geared toward those entering grades 4-12.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for kids to work on the offensive elements of their game,” said Heny.

The clinic is designed to give campers an introduction to post and perimeter moves currently in use among college and professional players. Shooting instruction, footwork and shot preparation, live and dead ball moves, ball handling, face-up and drop-step power moves will be among the focal points of the clinic.

“The goal of the workout is to provide athletes with a high-intensity workout and skill sets needed to make their individual workouts more productive, thereby enhancing the athlete's game,” notes Warwick.

As a player, Warwick was a two-time all-conference performer at South Dakota's Northern State University. He has nine years of college coaching experience and has twice been named South Dakota's collegiate coach of the year. He has four conference championships to his credit and has been called the nation's best personal workout instructor by Reggie Brown of Priority Sports in Chicago.

The clinic in Powell will be organized into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session will run from 9 a.m.-noon on Monday, July 26, and 8-11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27. It is geared toward those entering grades 8-12.

Afternoon sessions will run from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, July 26 and noon-2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 27. The afternoon session is for those entering grades 4-7.

The cost for the morning session is $105. Afternoon session cost is $85. Athletes receive a t-shirt and shorts with their registration.

For more information about the camp or to register, contact Heny at 271-7073 or (307) 202-1410.

With 28 days remaining until the Aug. 17 primary election, candidates will amplify campaign efforts in the coming weeks as voters make their final decisions.

The primary election promises to be telling in several races — four major gubernatorial candidates are vying for the GOP nomination, and a dozen Republican hopefuls are competing for three available seats on the Park County Commission. In the local House District 25 legislative race, three Republicans are seeking the seat, but no Democrats filed.

For certain races, it's quite likely that those who win in August will be our next elected officials.

Given the importance of next month's primary election, voters must be ready to make informed decisions — and the more they know about each candidate, the better prepared they are. Transparency is key in the weeks ahead.

It's encouraging to see some candidates take the lead.

Last week, GOP candidate Rita Meyer disclosed her campaign finance figures, detailing the $306,525 she has raised in her quest for the governor's office.

Wyoming Secretary of State Max Maxfield, who is seeking re-election, has been posting a steady stream of finance reports since January, months ahead of the filing date.

By Wyoming law, campaign finance reports must be filed by Aug. 10 — just a week ahead of the primary election.

That doesn't allow a lot time for media to report extensively on campaign finances, nor does it give voters very much time to digest the details. It's also likely that by Aug. 10, many voters will have made up their minds.

Money and politics make strange bedfellows, and you never know what a campaign finance report may reveal.

Voters and media have a responsibility to get to know candidates, and they can follow money trails easier when candidates are transparent and forthcoming.

As Meyer said in a release last week, “… Wyoming voters have the right to know who they are electing.

Transparency is about being accountable to the citizens of Wyoming.”

Meyer's and Maxfield's voluntary, early release of financial reports is commendable — and we challenge other candidates to follow suit.

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