The "A" Word: Why Accountability Matters and How to Improve It

Learn more about William McKenzie.
William McKenzie
Senior Editorial Advisor
George W. Bush Institute

The Bush Institute publishes The "A" Word: Accountability-The Dirty Word of Today's School Reform

Throughout this year, the Bush Institute has interviewed education leaders at length about what school accountability means to them. The result is the launch this week of The “A” Word: Accountability–The Dirty Word of Education Reform.

Throughout this interview series, these recognized leaders identify why accountability practices matter and how they have used them. They also provide an honest analysis of how states, school districts, and local campuses can improve those practices.

The “A” Word will run with fresh installments through November 14, and is also being published at The 74, a non-partisan news site covering education in America. The series will conclude with a set of recommendations for accountability’s future.

The timing of this series couldn’t be more important. The accountability movement has a proud parentage, including bipartisan leadership from Republicans George W. Bush and John Boehner to Democrats Robert Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. But the meaning of the term in education has become so twisted and polarizing that it is now the equivalent to a dirty word.

As with all polarizing issues, the truth is nuanced and requires us to look beyond the sounds bites. The “A” Word seeks to do that through conversations with former U.S. education secretaries, state education chiefs, school superintendents, and charter school leaders.

Their answers will take you into the inner workings of schools, the intricacies of the politics of education, and the ways in which campuses can better serve students.