Accountability: A side issue

November 6, 2007 at 5:21 am Leave a comment

November 6, 2007 <!–fm44–>Edit

busb-accountability-report-card-nclb.jpg     Accountability is the term used to express the fact that people must be accounted for their actions. The term arose in recent years when the hoi polloi began to grumble about the pols and their affairs. There were those in the public who wanted the politicians to be accountable to their constituency. The next election the pols began the banter that the major concern in the precinct, ward, municipality, county and state was the decline in the quality of education. “Look at these kids today!” The pols ranted. “They are failing and falling far behind the pupils of the world.” The clamor grew and the mob was turned toward what the mob leaders told them. “Schools are failing! Our kinds are in danger!” Noted educators and prominent citizens picked up the battle cry. “Save our schools!” The pols smiled and continued on.

Soon accountability became the buzzword of political races and school reform issues. NCLB legislation forces schools into an accountability crisis. Since the beginning of the formal school, accountability has always been the overseer of teachers. In the 1800’s , teachers had to abide by certain rules regarding morality, dress and work conditions. Teachers were expected to bring their own coal to heat their classroom. After the children left teachers had to clean up and do what ever chores were needed to maintain the school or its environ. Those were the days! As the 20th Century unfolded, expectations of teachers  increased. A college education was expected. Then Teachers had to become certified in what state they taught in. Teachers are evaluated by other professionals. Teachers have always been accountable for the grades they give children and what they teach children in and out of the classroom.

Each year the number of pupils required to attain acceptable levels increase with the idea that all pupils should eventually achieve the level of minimum standard. Well of course!! Any dope knows that. All kids should achieve a certain minimum level in order to graduate. This not the argument. The problem comes when we hold the same standard for all kids. Not all children are the same! A parent with more than one child knows that! Billy is so good at keeping his room neat and clean while Sally uses her floor like a dresser. Sally is a whiz at math and Billy can draw like Rembrandt. No two people (kids or not) are the same. Standardized testing is great when used wisely and judiciously.

Each and every one of us are accountable to someone or in some way. Accountability is a way of life. Pupils are accountability to teachers and that is reflected on a report card. The grades on the report card opens the door for teachers to be accountable to parents. Teachers are also evaluated once a year or, perhaps, every other year by superintendents or principals. School administrators are help accountable to school boards who are in turn help responsible to the citizens of the school district. Accountability is a way of life in education and has been for a long time.

There is nothing wrong with accountability. The problem is when everyone is held accountable to some standard that does not fit everyone. There are no two people on this planet that are identical. Even twins bare differences. Our children in school should be able to read, write, do arithmetic and have a few other skills. But are all the children going to read at the same rate or to the same degree? Some pupils are great readers while other s are plausible readers.  Does this mean that the mediocre readers “does not meet the standard” and faces the consequences as does his school?

Shouldn’t every pupil work to their fullest potential. The problem is that standardized testing does not provide for the varying potentials.


Entry filed under: NCLB.

The School: Part 3 Testing Part 4: The Standardized Test

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