Exposing the Accountability Scam in Education Reform
So much ‘accountability,’ so little improvement…
When it comes to education today, the drumbeat is constant: accountability, accountability, accountability.
Private foundations, institutes, and policy centers continually think up “new” ways we can achieve accountability.
Education-based businesses rush to create “new” standards, curricula, assessments, and teacher training programs to facilitate accountability.
Federal and state legislators, governors, and state superintendents and boards of education regularly seek more stringent ways to impose accountability.
Yet, oddly, no amount of increased accountability seems to change a single thing—except to further centralize, standardize, and compromise education.
What’s happening here?
Quite simply, accountability has become part of the crooked word game that is education reform. Standards, testing, rigor, competency, personalized learning, college- and career-ready—these are just a few of myriad words and phrases that reformers in government and private enterprise have quietly redefined in order to circumvent public outcry.
Of the terms assigned new meaning, “accountability” merits special note. In fact, maintaining its deceptive veneer has become crucial to ensuring compliance with an entire program of measures and practices that harm students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers alike.
How does ‘accountability’ deceive the public?
Accountability tends to have positive connotations bound up with responsibility. In fact, most of us make at least four key assumptions when the term is applied to education. While those assumptions are now entirely false, reformers rely on us making them:
Assumption #1: Accountability is local
Today, where it still exists at all, local control—and the local accountability that should accompany it—is increasingly a fiction. In point of fact, centralization and standardization drive the education reform agenda. Federal mandates and initiatives—mirrored and entrenched by state-level policy—have robbed parents and local taxpayers of their proper claim to accountability. Students, teachers, schools, and districts are instead accountable to federal and state governments and preferred partners in private industry.
Assumption #2: Accountability is based on valid measures
The standardized assessments in which federal (and, in turn, state) government roots accountability have zero proven validity. Utah-based clinician Dr. Gary Thompson and others have clearly demonstrated the experimental and potentially damaging nature of Common Core-aligned assessments—though neither the creators nor the administrators of these measures have Exposing the Accountability Scam in Education Reform | Western Free Press: