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Accountability: A National Responsibility

Article by Kerri L. Briggs and Patrick Kobler August 7, 2013 //   3 minute read







Education policy is a civil rights issue.”

-President George W. Bush on accountability’s role in student achievement  

It has been almost 12 years since the implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  Significant advances in student achievement – especially for minority and low-income children –have been demonstrable, but there is still much work to be done.  Today’s students will mature into a highly competitive global economy where currently even our wealthiest districts perform behind nearly half of their international peers.  Now is not the time to favor short-term political convenience over long-term national stability.  It is the time to advance responsible systems of accountability and support those who have the courage to advocate for these systems that help our students.

Margaret Spellings, former US Secretary of Education and newly appointed President of the Bush Foundation recently described  accountability as globally competitive academic standards, meaningful annual assessment, thoughtful data collection, and a student-centered culture, where we are transparent about what needs improvement and willing to do what it is necessary to make those improvements.  At a time when half our minority children do not graduate high school on time, notes Spellings, such responsibility is needed to ensure students reach adulthood “college and work ready.” 

The Bush Institute believes these pillars of student achievement are vital to our national interests and, thus, we have been working with key reform leaders to shape strategies for how to best advance systems of accountability in the coming months and years. 

Central to our work is the fact assessment, data, and the courage to pursue educational improvements, work for our kids. Since NCLB infused these into the way we teach our children, all student populations have demonstrated high academic growth.[1] These gains have been especially strong for low-income and minority children who have narrowed the gap in academic achievement with their peers by 21 percent. 

At the Bush Institute, we convene leaders to take action and fight for the continuation of these trends because there are few greater national responsibilities than properly educating our children. To quote President Bush, this is “a civil rights issue.”

Though we and our partners understand that there are key questions to answer on how to best advance the pillars of an accountable education – among them Congress’ 6-year delay on reauthorizing NCLB – we will continue to advocate for student interests over special interests, support those who have the courage to do the same and hold firm on proven systems that have produced a higher number of graduates prepared to succeed in college, career and community over the past 12 years. 

[1] As measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)


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