The Wyoming Department of Education will hold a meeting tonight in Laramie to inform the public of the draft Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan and gather public input.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Laramie Middle School and is the last in a series of meetings scheduled by the WDE on the draft.

Kari Eakins, WDE communications director, said ESSA, the replacement for No Child Left Behind, puts decisions about education closer to home, which is why it is important for the WDE to gather input from the public.

“One of the things we like the most about this new federal education law is that it puts those decisions in the hands of people who should be making them,” Eakins said. “For Wyoming’s case, that’s the people here in Wyoming – teachers, parents, school leaders – they’re the ones that know best how we should be measuring how well schools are doing and what goals schools should be aiming for.”

Eakins said one of the problems with No Child Left Behind was that schools were being evaluated by student’s college readiness, despite the fact that not all Wyoming students go to college.

“One of the things that is very exciting is that at the high school level, we are able to add a post-secondary readiness indicator or measure,” Eakins said. “One would be a measure of whether students are college-ready, one would be a measure of whether students are career-ready, one would be if students are military-ready.”

Eakins said if students meet any one of those they would be considered post-secondary ready, or ready for life after high school.

“In order to have a good comprehensive school, you have to be looking at how you are serving all your students, not just the ones who are looking to go to college.”

Eakins said those who aren’t able to make it to the meeting tonight can still submit comments online through June 8. She said Wyoming must submit its ESSA State Plan by Sept. 18 in order to receive federal funding.

“As we look at submitting this plan, it’s very important that we hear from schools and communities directly about what they want from their schools,” Eakins said “We need to make sure we have input from the people that this will affect.”

ESSA reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the principal federal law regarding K-12 education.