This isn’t the week for a detailed examination of Ohio’s accountability system; but this is a good time to comment on last week’s posting of the state report cards and the anticipated drop in grades.
This whole school accountability thing isn’t working out as its champions intended. Public schools were supposed to be exposed as not measuring up, and private alternatives were expected to shine. In most cases, just the opposite happened. So, since too many students passed the tests, Ohio politicians (supported by contributions from charter-school moguls) decided to “raise the bar.” From the beginning, it was expected that grades would drop under the new system, and we shouldn’t be surprised that they did.
The state’s accountability scheme, including the school report cards, is well-designed to measure a subset of things that are important in school. The tests give the impression of scientific precision. But because they measure only the things that are relatively easy to measure, no one–not even the proponents of school accountability–pretends that test scores are the whole story.
Voters in low-graded school districts (including the one where I began my teaching career) shouldn’t despair, and high-graded districts (including the one where I spent most of my teaching years) shouldn’t pat themselves on the back. Superintendents and local boards of education should analyze what went into those scores. Teachers should go into their classrooms and do what they know is right for their kids, and their principals and unions alike should support them.
This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education, http://bill4board.us.