How Wyoming holds its teachers, principals and school district leaders accountable is up for discussion this legislative session. House Bill 37 amends how teachers are held accountable, while Senate File 36 focuses on administrator accountability.
Under the proposed accountability system, data reviewed by the state will tie student performance only to school buildings and districts, and not to individual teachers. Data connecting student performance to teacher performance will then only be evaluated at the local level.
The proposed amendments are largely in response to changes in guidelines at the federal level brought on by the recent Every Student Succeeds Act. President of the Wyoming Education Association, Kathy Vetter, said the proposed bills streamline accountability requirements for the state.
The Select Committee on Statewide Education Accountability, "Spent a lot of time going through all those parts of accountability to ensure that, number one they meet the requirements at the federal level," according to Vetter. "And that they meet the needs of Wyoming with our local control, so that our local school boards have control of the evaluation process of the people in their school district."
The Every Student Succeeds Act gave power back to the states to define assessment and evaluation, Vetter explained. Now that accountability standards are no longer prescriptive at the national level, Vetter said “Our state is choosing to give that power back to our school districts.”