Teacher Accountability Bill is Working Through the House

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Local control over schools in Wyoming districts are on the horizon.
Wyoming lawmakers consider a bill which looks to align Wyoming education standards closer to the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The Teacher Accountability Bill is to focus more on student growth, rather than test scores.

Representative Debbie Bovee commented,
“The district will now be in charge of deciding what works best for them.”

She continued to share under No Child Left Behind; teachers were rated on their student's test scores.

Now that the Every Students Succeeds Act is in place, Wyoming lawmakers want to judge teachers on student growth. That means putting control in local school districts to determine how their students should perform.

Representative Bovee continued,
“I taught for many years in Torrington and then in Casper. What the needs are in those two communities are very different and so I think that's what it is important so it fits where the needs are there.”

Under the Teacher Accountability Bill a teacher will be evaluated each year by the local board of trustees. Once that teacher maintains an effective rating for two consecutive years, they will be rated at least once every three years.

Representative Mark Kinner shared,
“Let's get away from grading people on the tests that their students take and on the quality of that work that they're doing in the classrooms.”

If a teacher isn't living up to district standards, they could be suspended or fired.

Many representatives like allowing local districts control over their students, including Representative David Northrup.

“Local control is what Wyoming has always been about. There was a time period where we started taking it away, local control, and now we're starting to push local control back into the districts,” said Representative Northrup.

There was an amendment debated Tuesday on the house floor to allow the State Board of Education to develop rules for those local districts, yet it was defeated in a narrow vote.

Currently, that bill is now moving to the House and the representatives spoke with News 13 and said they'll have to take a long look at that bill, as they value local control.

The Teacher Accountability Bill passed the second reading in the House and the third reading will take place today in Cheyenne. The bill will then move to the Senate if passed.

Lawmakers will go through the same process of passing the bill before it lands on Governor Mead's desk.