Sunday, January 1, 2017

School Accountability

This was a guest post in another blog in October 2015. I repost it here as we need a closer look at school accountability.

School Accountability (Exposing the Lie)
One of the biggest arguments made for the regime of standardized assessment by the States, for the State, of the State’s people, is that we must have school accountability. Without the BS test (Big Standardized test, credit to Peter Greene, Curmudgucation, for coining the term), how will we know whether schools are any good?

We must have school accountability.

Without the test, there is no accountability.

Which must come as a great surprise to the accreditation agencies that have been reviewing schools since the mid-20th century and longer. Even the federal government keeps track and gives its “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” to the agencies that meet its demands. (http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html)

Unlike the school grading process inaugurated in Florida under then-Governor Jeb Bush, which relies mostly upon one standardized test result and a few other criteria constantly under revision, the purpose of which is to maintain whatever narrative the Florida Department of Education wants to trumpet to the media, the accreditation process takes place over months. At its culmination, a team of professional educators (unlike the amateurs consisting of politicians, do-gooder philanthropist businesspersons, and anyone else who thinks that having gone to school as a student makes them more of an expert than people who have actual experience teaching) visits each school to observe classes, meet with the administration, talk to teachers and students, review work, and assess the learning environment. Afterward, they review the evidence they acquired and determine whether to continue to give the school accreditation.

It is a serious process. Teams of stakeholders (admins, teachers, parents, and more) meet for months in advance of the visit to make sure everything is up to scratch. If not, corrections are made.

Accreditation is not automatic. In a decision that is still remembered today, Duval County Public Schools lost its accreditation in the 1960s: http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=544275

It was a galvanizing action. City leaders reacted, the loss was a major motivation behind the city/county consolidation, and after that became a reality, the schools received the necessary support and gained back the accreditation they needed.

Accreditation is a rigorous process.


We have school accountability through the accreditation process. We do not need a flawed, invalid, unreliable test manipulated by bureaucrats, politicians, and profiteers. We do not need a school report card like the one Florida inflicted upon the nation.