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Ten Reasons Accountability Matters
School accountability. In some circles, the term has become a dirty word. But here are 10 reasons that the fundamentals of accountability -- raising academic standards, testing students regularly to see if they grasp them, and assigning some consequence to the results -- still matter.
These points come from education leaders who participated in interviews this year for The A Word: Accountability--The Dirty Word of Today's School Reform. You can read those full conversations at this Bush Center link.
Why Accountability Matters
- The fundamental responsibility of schools is to kids, and you can’t help kids and schools improve if you can’t diagnose a problem. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/10/a-word-spellings.html
- Before accountability, schools could hide low-achieving students, especially poor and minority kids. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/10/a-word-john-king.html
- Without accountability systems identifying a problem, states and districts don't have to get low-performing schools adequate resources. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/10/a-word-spellings.html
- Accountability is about helping schools meet goals – and getting support to meet those goals. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/11/a-word-boasberg.html
- Accountability can lead to the restoration or replacement of a school that is not serving its students well over time and shows no signs of improving with the right supports. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/11/a-word-boasberg.html
- Accountability is a way to drive results for kids who have no voice, especially for students with learning disabilities or whose native language is not English. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/11/a-word-tavenner.html
- Students and their families need to know if they are receiving a good education that will put them on the path to the middle class. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/10/a-word-skandera.html
- Accountability leads to quality educators being rewarded and low-level teachers leaving the system. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/11/a-word-huffman.html
- Accountability keeps a spotlight on rural districts that are often overshadowed by urban districts. http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/11/a-word-smith.html
- Who wants to be on a team where no one is accountable? http://www.bushcenter.org/publications/articles/2017/11/a-word-boasberg.html
William McKenzie is editorial director for the George W. Bush Institute, where he also serves as editor of The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute.
Active in education issues, he co-teaches an education policy class at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. He also participates in the Bush Institute’s school accountability project.
Before joining the Bush Institute, the Fort Worth native served 22 years as an editorial columnist for the Dallas Morning News and led the newspaper’s Texas Faith blog. The University of Texas graduate’s columns appeared nationwide and he has won a Pulitzer Prize and commentary awards from the Education Writers Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Texas Headliners Foundation, among other organizations. He still contributes columns and essays for the Morning News and The Weekly Standard.
Before joining the News in 1991, he earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at Arlington and spent a dozen years in Washington, D.C. During that time, he edited the Ripon Forum.
McKenzie has served as a Pulitzer Prize juror, on the board of a homeless organization, and on governing committees of a Dallas public school. He also is an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Dallas, where he lives with his wife and their twin children.Full Bio
Preparing All Kids for an Unpredictable Future
This essay, which draws from remarks that Bush Institute Education Reform Director Anne Wicks gave at the Bush Center's Forum on Leadership, appeared last week on The 74.
Forget the Edu-Wonks. NAEP Scores Should Get the Attention of Workforce Development Leaders
There is no shortage of buzz in the education policy world about the scores from the 2017 NAEP exam. But the people who really ought to be thinking about the results from the so-called “Nation’s Report Card” are the ones in charge of developing the workforce in a state or community.
Accountability Systems Need to be Simple Enough for Parents and the Public to Understand and Act Upon
What we need is a constant balancing of fairness and simplicity. This should be a primary goal for states like Texas now that the new Every Student Succeeds Act gives them more responsibility for holding schools accountable for their results.