Repeal of ESSA Accountability Regs

Dear Superintendents,

There are memos this week worthy of your review and attention. First, an update on legislative action at the federal and state level:

Congressional Review Act (CRA)

As of yesterday, both the U.S. House and Senate voted to repeal ESSA accountability regulations. President Trump is expected to sign the repeal. I submitted comments during the rulemaking process and was mostly comfortable with the final regs that were repealed. I am equally comfortable without the regulations. ESSA provides a great deal of flexibility (authority) for states and the congressional intent of ESSA is clear. Wyoming will proceed with implementation of the law as planned. Here are a couple of related articles:

WASHINGTON POST with Wyoming-specific quotes

WYOMING PUBLIC RADIO

Bills Signed into Law

Governor Mead held the last formal bill-signing yesterday. He will continue to act on bills informally, including HB236. Among bills signed at the formal ceremony were SF35, Virtual Education and HB76, Indian Education for All. The room was packed for both bill signings. We look forward to working with schools, communities, and tribal members to implement the laws.

Supporters of SF35 with State Senator Stephan Pappas, WDE staff, State Superintendent Jillian Balow and Governor Matt Mead at the bill signing.
SF35 sets a framework for virtual education in Wyoming and is based on recommendations from a WDE-led task force
Members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes attend the signing of HB76 with Governor Matt Mead and State Superintendent Jillian Balow.
Members of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes attend the signing of HB76
State Superintendent Jillian Balow with Wyoming's Poet Laureate Eugene Gagliano.
Eugene Gagliano is a retired elementary teacher and Wyoming’s Poet Laureate. He recited poetry and helped present awards to students at the Poetry Out Loud competition this week.

There are a number of memos this week worthy of your review and time.

Title II-A and Hold Harmless

We have communicated with all district business managers about the calculation changes and we recognize the poor timing of these changes. In an effort to mitigate the impacts on some Wyoming schools, WDE inquired about an exception from the USDoE for our state–to no avail. Please review the allocation changes for your district.

Data Collections

As we implement ESSA, there will be changes to various data collections. One goal of the law is to reduce the federal reporting burden on states.

Stakeholder Opportunities

A follow-up set of meetings to streamline and align CTE in Wyoming is about to commence. During the last set of meetings, 22 districts, higher ed, and BOCES participated. Please consider requesting district personnel to participate, via webinar, in these follow-up meetings. As CTE becomes a more pronounced component a well-rounded education, we want to ensure rigor and quality across the state and can only do that through participation of stakeholders.

The MATH STANDARDS REVIEW/DEVELOPMENT/ADOPTION process is about to get underway. We are looking to fill out a review committee with quality teachers, administrators, parents, business/industry representatives, higher education faculty, and others. Please consider passing this week’s memo or the link below onto educators, board members, parents, and community members:

Call for Participants–2017 MATH Standards Review Committee

As with Science, I expect the standards work to culminate with a set of nationally recognized and Wyoming-specific math standards. In particular:

  • UW President Laurie Nichols, Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose, and I have been working together to ensure better articulation between high school and college math. Standards articulation and a “2+2+2” mindset are where this begins. Currently, over 40% of incoming freshmen who attend community college or UW have to take remedial courses–math has the largest proportion of students.
  • Crosscutting with STEM subjects and applied math should be more evident in new math standards. Crosscutting standards with multiple subjects began with science. The committee will work to determine how rigourous math standards set forth a framework success in CTE pathway classes and other STEM subjects. Some Wyoming schools have figured this out and we will be counting on their lessons learned and input.
  • Computational thinking, coding, and discrete math skills will likely play a larger role in the math standards as foundational skills for all students.
  • Extended (Special Education) math standards may be reviewed simultaneously or separately depending on the scope of work determined by the committee.

Memos to be released Monday, March 13:

 

Jillian