At a meeting last week in Casper the SBE took action to use the ESSA plan as the foundation for the state’s accountability system though there still remains some minor discrepancies in accountability. The alignment with federal accountability requirements came as a result of new legislation passed in the most recent legislative session that made refinements to the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act (WAEA).
ESSA legislation replaces previous federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, and 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 will now 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.