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Reports from Policy Analysts

Town Hall Meetings Give Wyoming Residents Voice on ESSA implementation

Submitted On: Monday, September 5, 2016

Analyst: Rehbein, Tiffany

Public comment on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation in Wyoming was accepted through an online form through September 1, 2016. Additionally, a series of virtual town hall meetings was held to provide information and gather input on five topics related to ESSA implementation. Final results of the meetings will be available later this year.

The following topics were discussed:

·         Standards & Assessment

·         Teacher & Leader Quality

·         School Improvement

·         Accountability

·         Federal Funds

According to the Wyoming State Department of Education website, ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to create a long-term, stable federal policy that gives states additional flexibility and encourages innovation, while at the same time holding us accountable for results.

  • Limits power of federal government to set education policy for states
  • Increases state flexibility to design accountability systems, interventions and student supports
  • Increases state and local flexibility in the use of federal funds
  • Gives states flexibility to work with local stakeholders to develop educator evaluation and support systems
  • Maintains annual assessments for grades 3-8 and high school

As a state, Wyoming is held accountable at both a state and federal level. The Wyoming Accountability in Education Act of 2013 (WAEA) – the state accountability law – takes into account measures specifically related to educational goals in Wyoming. Federal accountability is transitioning from the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to a locally controlled Wyoming accountability system that meets federal guidelines defined in the recently passed ESSA.

ESSA allows for an 18-month transition period for states to align their accountability systems to the new requirements. The law will be fully implemented for the 2017-18 school year, but some changes are already being implemented.

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