January 20, 2010

Choice Is the Best Accountability

Justin Katz

In Julia Steiny's second article about the Laborers Construction Career Academy charter school in Cranston, she focuses on the difficulty of measuring such schools according to standardized criteria:

But the work that [Executive Director Paul] Silvia and his team do is not captured by data in the state's accountability system. EQ [i.e., emotional adjustment], to use Silvia's term, can make or break a kid and his academic career. Currently, accountability systems take no notice of which schools actually support their kids and their parents. They should. The state could develop and publish indicators on par with the almighty test scores to hold schools accountable for supporting the kids' social and emotional success. If it did, communities would have far fewer unsuccessful kids, fewer dropouts, fewer lost 20-year-olds.

I'm not sure it's possible to measure such intangibles in a standardized way without the potential for fudging that winds up capturing nothing and protecting incompetence. The fact that subjective criteria are important can only adequately be answered through a system of choice. Parents will know whether their children are doing better in a particular school than they would elsewhere, even if scores don't compete well on statewide standards.

To quote a song, those who strive for a government hand in all judgments and decisions are trying to catch the wind, and in the meantime, generations are failing to acquire necessary knowledge and academic habits.

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Yes. This is the reason I am suspicious, and therefore oppose, the RTTT application. We will open the door, allowing the government hand to reach even further.

Posted by: mikeinri at January 20, 2010 6:49 AM
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