School Accountability and Testing

The Broader, Bolder Approach coalition formed in 2008, issued its first task force report on June 25, 2009. The subject?  School Accountability -- A Broader, Bolder Approach. Or as most understood it to mean -- what we and the public need to replace NCLB? The diverse coalition that included undersecretaries of education from the Clinton and both Bush administrations, representatives from the NEA and AFT, and individuals leading a broad aray of education advocacy groups came together around a bold new direction. The report calls for use of an expanded version of the NAEP tests for federal accountability coupled with a system of intensive school inspections, undertaaken by the states, that capture the subtleties of school climate and the quality of instruction in a qualitative assesment of schools. Leaders of the group, Tom Paysant, Christopher Cross, and Richard Rothstein met early on with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, because Duncan had been a signer of the Broader, Bolder Approach coalition manifesto. Unmoved, Duncan and his US Department of education doubled down on test driven reform.

Three and a half years later the reform agenda has continued, but teachers and principals are growing more and more unified in thier opposition. This school year, 2012-13, a principal in NY State wrote a letter showing how use of value-added test scores in teacher evaluation hurts students. Fifteen hundred principals in NY State signed on to the letter. Valerie Strauss printed the principal's letter in her Washington Post column and you can read it here.