Wyoming Education Association

Winter 2016

Issue link: http://digital.copcomm.com/i/766038

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BACK TO SCHOOL | WEAnews 14 EA Action WEA Legislative Update The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) will necessitate several changes to the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act (WAEA), but Wyoming's system will require far fewer adjustments in order to be federally compliant than the accountability plans of most states. The Wyoming Advisory Committee to the Select Committee on Accountability was assigned the daunting task of determining the recommended necessary changes in policy and statute. The committee, comprised of educators and members of the public, has been meeting frequently with the Legislature's contractor, the Center for Assessment. It's difficult to find that line between meeting federal requirements, satisfying various stakeholders, and maintaining as much local control as possible. Paramount in everyone's mind is the need to maintain as much of the existing accountability system as possible, both so that all involved know what is expected of our schools and are able to work toward that end, and so that results can be compared from year to year. That said, there are several things that must be revised or established by fall 2017. The ESSA-required accountability system must be operational in the 2017-2018 school year. The state must continue to report assessment results for all required subgroups that were specified in the No Child Left Behind Act: race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, disability, and English language learners (ELLs). ESSA also adds three new subgroups for data reporting, but not for accountability purposes: homeless status, students with a parent in the military, and students in foster care. There is now a requirement for a non-academic "5 th indicator" of school success. That indicator can be different for different grade spans, but must be the same for all schools in that span in the state. The non- academic 5 th indicator is to be given less weight than the other four (academic) indicators in the accountability determination system. Another big project facing our state will be the identification of long-term and interim goals. The 100% proficiency requirement of NCLB is gone, but under ESSA, states must now establish their own long-term and interim goals for graduation rate, achievement, and for ELL students. One area of concern to the Advisory Committee is the quadruple-counting of the college-readiness assessment (currently, the ACT) in the existing accountability system. While this assessment will undoubtedly remain an important part of the system, the Committee is having extensive discussions about the possibility of recommending narrowing that to inclusion in two indicators instead of four. The Advisory Committee still has many decisions to finish ironing out, but because our fundamental accountability system meets most of the ESSA requirements, we are in good shape. Much will rest on the final ESSA regulations to come from the federal Department of Education, and possible additional changes that could result from the incoming federal administration. ESSA Affects Wyoming Accountability Requirements What's Next for Wyoming's Education System? Funding will be the number one issue facing Wyoming education this legislative session. On December 19 th , the Joint Education Committee met to address education funding shortfalls. The JEC decided to appoint a sub-committee to work on a bill to be voted on by the whole committee, potentially before the 2017 Wyoming Legislative Session. Please, visit the Legislature's website (legisweb.state.wy.us) to see any future bill drafts regarding education finance.

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