By: Massachusetts PIE President Michael Gendre, Michigan PIE President Melanie Kurdys, and USPIE Director of Communications April Few.
So far, sixteen states plus the District of Columbia have submitted their ESSA accountability plans to the U.S. Department of Education.
The Fordham Institute just published an analysis of these 17 plans, and some of them with poor metric performance.
“This analysis prescribes a trio of objectives that we believe states ought to fulfill when designing their school accountability systems,” the analysis reads.
“In our view, three of the most important improvements that states can make are to ensure that their accountability systems:
Assign annual ratings to schools that are clear and intuitive for parents, educators, and the public;
Encourage schools to focus on all students, not just their low performers; and
Fairly measure and judge all schools, including those with high rates of poverty.”
Clearly, if a state deviates from Fordham’s definition of the right answer, they are rated poorly or as in Michigan, N/A.
Fordham sounds prone to empty talk (let’s have a “good to great” rating). The empty talk is premised on the comparability of all schools–but then Fordham adds for good measure a consideration of economic status (called “poverty” — not very politically correct or astute or even qualifying as a proper metric).
Instead of the flawed Fordham proposal we should argue not for “high poverty” as a school’s defining characteristic but “average reading level” by grade. And we demand an educational factor as the basic comparison/trait. Failing that the “fairness to all students” is a stretchable objective that accommodates bloated interventionism and escapes the proper focus on educational excellence and accountability.
We are simply puzzled by the fact that Fordham is obsessed with poverty and fairness, when the basic issue since 1965 is low reading level among low achievers. When are Fordham and the USED going to demand accountability from states on what qualifies a teacher for teaching reading in the elementary school and who are these Title I teachers that Title I money is used for? Can they teach beginning reading? These really basic questions seemingly elude Fordham and USED.
United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) is fighting to return local control of education and end ALL federal education mandates.
Visit uspie.org and Join the Movement to Stop Fed Ed.