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Senate Passes Teacher Accountability Bill

Wyoming LSO

For years local school districts argued that they were the ones who should determine how good a job a teacher was doing. Under a bill approved by the Wyoming Senate, they will now have that power.

Senate Education Chairman Hank Coe had pushed for state oversight in the past, but local school officials convinced him that they've been successful in overseeing teaching themselves. So during the summer and fall he changed his mind.

"I felt we were dumbing down accountability a little and I wanted to continue to pursue how best we can tie student achievement to teacher-administrator performance, that's the real key in the accountability process. And I was convinced that at the local level that there's a lot of accountability going on," said Coe.

Under legislation approved by both the House and Senate local districts will oversee teaching in the classroom while the state will monitor education statewide. Coe said it's hard to argue with the results.

"And we are starting to see some improvement in our NAPE scores in particular, our graduation rates are improving. So that's what swayed me. But I think we're going to have to continue to monitor that though."

Representatives of the Wyoming education community said that when lawmakers started talking about accountability, they looked for ways to improve outcomes in their own districts.

The House and Senate may need to iron out a couple of minor differences in their versions of the bill before it goes to the governor for his consideration.

Bob Beck retired from Wyoming Public Media after serving as News Director of Wyoming Public Radio for 34 years. During his time as News Director WPR has won over 100 national, regional and state news awards.

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