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Mon Sep 9, 2013, 07:56 AM

An Alternative to Accountability Based Education Reform

Since we are talking about alternative ways to respond to problems, this seems timely. Actual educators have known all along what really drives poor academic performance. Of course, who listens to actual educators? They are the enemy. Our schools are bad because of all those bad teachers, right?

Here's an article that addresses the SOURCE: social and economic inequality. It starts by pointing out that "the U.S. currently has one of the highest childhood poverty rates among nations against which U.S. schools are commonly compared." It goes on to suggest that "Education reform must be built on policies that directly address the rising social inequity in the U.S. The essential shift away from accountability, then, must begin with social reform that addresses inequity."

Eleven different policy changes for social reform are offered; here are a few:

End accountability based on standards and high-stakes testing: A growing body of research has shown that the accountability era has failed: “the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by itself” (Mathis, 2012). A first and essential step to a new vision of education reform is to end the accountability era by shifting away from focusing on outcomes and toward attending to the conditions of teaching and learning—with an emphasis on equity of opportunity.

Honor school and teacher autonomy: Individual schools and classrooms vary dramatically across the U.S. School autonomy and teacher professionalism are the greatest sources of understanding what populations of students need. The current move toward national standards and tests is inherently a flawed concept since student needs in Orangeburg, SC, are dramatically different than student needs in Seattle, WA.

Address wide range of issues impacting equity—funding, class size, technology, facilities: Moving away from accountability and toward equity is a shift in the goals and then standards against which education policy is evaluated. Issues of funding, class size, technology, and facilities must be addressed to assure all children experience an equity of opportunities in every school.

More: http://www.publicschoolshakedown.org/alternative-to-education-reform

It's time we, as a nation, started looking at more constructive solutions to all of our problems. I think our domestic problems should be at the top of our priority list; that's where our focus and resources should be. This one is particularly crucial. To me, yes, because I'm a teacher and am tired of the relentless efforts to degrade my profession and destroy public education. To everyone, because public education is a keystone in a free, democratic society. Probably why the efforts of the 1% to destroy it have been so persistent, so pervasive, and so devastating.

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Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply An Alternative to Accountability Based Education Reform (Original post)
LWolf Sep 2013 OP
hunter Sep 2013 #1
LWolf Sep 2013 #3
liberal_at_heart Sep 2013 #2
LWolf Sep 2013 #4
LWolf Sep 2013 #5

Response to LWolf (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2013, 10:59 AM

1. Kids who live in violence and poverty ought to have schools that are positive places.

Schools ought to be places where kids are never hungry, where they are safe, and where adults have time to look after them individually, according to each kid's need, to demonstrate the joys of learning.

Schools ought to be places where kids graduate literate because they've discovered things they love to read, and numerate because they've discovered things they love to measure. They ought to graduate well aware of the world beyond their sometimes oppressive, dangerous, and impoverished communities.

Schools should not be factories turning out kids who can properly fill in the bubbles on standardized tests.

I was a public school science teacher in urban Los Angeles. It was the most difficult job I've ever had. Substitute teachers would sometimes sign out of our school in tears and never come back. I felt like that some days. Classes were large, the kids stressed and uncomfortable, and I had to be an authoritarian to keep order. I hated that.

There are a few teachers who can carve out a refuge for children in a place like that. Our school had some like that. My wife was such a teacher and her sister still is. These teachers ought to be treasured and paid very well no matter how their students score on standardized tests because they are the teachers who end up with the kids the other teachers "can't control."

I had kids who never did any homework, kids who would stare blankly at quizzes and tests, who couldn't even be bothered to write their name on a paper. Sometimes I could get their parents or guardians in to school for "mandatory" conferences with the school counselor and myself, but usually not. Some of the stories I heard then were horrible and fully explained why the kid was like that.

People who haven't been there really have no idea...

The middle and high school I attended were overcrowded and underfunded. I never felt safe there. I quit high school for college. I thought I could change things, at least a little by becoming a teacher. I couldn't.

These "accountability initiatives" have failed, just as "trickle down" economics has failed, just as national "austerity" measures have failed. Unless, of course, the purpose all along was to make the very wealthy even wealthier, and the politically powerful more powerful. I'm cynical now. I believe that's the case.

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Response to hunter (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 9, 2013, 09:54 PM

3. I understand.

That's why I am thrilled to see this article; somebody actually putting into print the realities that hold our students back: inequalities.

I'm still, after all these years, an idealist. We can make our public school system healthy, vibrant, and positive for all of our students, if we have the desire and determination to do so.

It will take kicking the current powers that be to the curb, to be sure.

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Mon Sep 9, 2013, 11:53 AM

2. well said LWolf. We must make a dramatic shift in our approach.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 9, 2013, 09:56 PM

4. What's good for all students

is good for all people and for the future of our nation and the planet.

We need to take our public systems back from the corporate "reformers."

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Response to LWolf (Original post)

Tue Sep 10, 2013, 07:28 AM

5. Kick

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