State To Align With Feds On Education Accountability

The Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) met last week in Casper to review elements of the federal accountability system required as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). During this past legislative session, refinements were made to the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act (WAEA) to align it more closely with the federal accountability requirements. Although minor differences in the accountability systems exist, the SBE took action to use the ESSA plan as the foundation for the state’s accountability system.

The ESSA legislation that replaces previous federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, requires the state superintendent of public instruction to develop the details of the federal accountability system. Per House Enrolled Act 61, Wyoming’s state legislature also requires the state board to create a parallel system for school district accountability. State Superintendent Jillian Balow and state board chairman Walt Wilcox agreed that the two systems should work towards “convergence” so that school districts have clear direction when meeting accountability requirements.

Both the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and the SBE must also develop metrics for the accountability system through consultative processes with the public. The WDE released its draft ESSA plan for further public review and input on April 24. The WDE will convene the Advisory Committee and work with the SBE to convene the Professional Judgment Panel to refine the indicators that will meet the requirements for both accountability models.

In other action, the SBE delayed action on the meeting schedule for next year to see whether there were technological options to reduce travel expenditures, while still providing public access to the meetings.

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