School Accountability – Backwards and Forwards

The original idea behind school accountability has its roots in the work of Demming and forward thinking stewards of Public Education, such as Rod Paige, Bob Brezina, Sonny Donaldson and Shirley Neeley. They believed that if we are hard-working, deep thinking professionals, we ought to have processes that allow us to maximize outcomes while efficiently using resources. An interesting side note: These education leaders all led at-risk districts and recognized that their students faced considerable adversity. 

 

These above listed educational leaders had measurable success in their pursuits.  This success led to two outcomes. 1. Politicians recognized that school performance was a hot button issue and co-opted the process for different aims. 2. Most educators had zero desire to admit that they were not already maximizing outcomes and efficiently using resources.  As such, they aggressively shunned all accountability discussions. This has led to state public school accountability systems that are actually designed to marginalize Public Schools.

 

Faced with punitively designed accountability systems, many educators will try to make the case that schools were great before accountability and the only viable solution to the mess that we currently find ourselves in is to abandon all accountability standards and processes.

 

Yes, ending school accountability would be a stress reducing concept for adults. But it would also be a horrible solution for students.

 

As professional educators we must recognize and admit that schools without accountability really aren’t that good for kids. Without school accountability we allowed and encouraged students to drop out. We quickly tracked students into limiting educational pathways. We allowed bad instructional practices to become common instructional practices.  We had acceptable failure rates for most courses. And we consistently blamed the students for their lack of success.

 

We may be good people, but even good people need standards.

 

The push to dismantle school accountability is unprofessional and sacrifices student outcomes for adult comfort.

 

Instead, we need to lead the school accountability discussion. We are hard working, deep thinking professionals. We need to design and embrace the processes that allow us to maximize outcomes while efficiently using resources.

 

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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