I break today's discussion into two areas: the measurement of teacher and school quality and the process by which teachers and schools are held accountable.
Instead of implementing more of the same, I am, perhaps naively, optimistic that there are opportunities for researchers, policymakers, practitioners, parents, and other stakeholders to come together to design an accountability model that is valid, fair, reliable, and trustworthy. The research community is just starting to understand how school-level accountability policies impact students, teachers, and so on, and now we're talking about holding universities and teacher programs accountable. For all the issues listed above, there is a positive role that accountability policies can play in the future of U.S. public education. We just need to slow down, work together, ...
It is clear that the policy landscape (e.g., the ESEA waivers) has quickly moved past asking "Should we hold teachers accountable?" to "How should we hold teachers and school accountable?" Yet, it appears that all too often we do not start with the two most important questions: What qualities and practices characterize the ideal teacher? What are the skills and knowledge we want students to obtain from our schools?
ReSchool Colorado is a multi-year effort to design a new, public, state education system where learning is reimagined and students are equipped to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
If one cannot tweak the current K-12 education system (by adding more mandates), then you must consider re-designing it. And this is the bold work we're embarking upon: to rethink the key drivers and to create a new and parallel space for students, families, and educators to do their work. We know this will not be a perfect utopia, but we firmly believe that creating student-centered, welcoming, and dynamic learning environments, through a fundamental re-design of the system, is the only way to create the quality we seek in a scalable way.
Why Gus the Truck, a 1949 Chevrolet light duty truck, is an appropriate metaphor for today's K-12 system.
The 60th anniversary of the landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education provides us with a chance to reevaluate what has happened in the time since. In 1954, the argument was that the student's access to resources was unfair and therefore unconstitutional. That underlying problem has not been solved today.
All students, regardless of race, socio-economic status, county, or side of town, deserve an education that will set them up for success in life. Funding equity in Connecticut is an integral part of making this vision a reality for all students. Then, science "on a cart" might just become an urban legend.
The School Climate Bill of Rights was an important first step in raising awareness around the critical role school environment plays in the pursuit of higher academic achievement. The next step is making sure we're using the data and other outcomes it created to actually help students.
Our ability to close the teaching quality gap is one of the most important steps towards closing the opportunity gap for low-income students of color.