Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sexton Decries Early Death of Accountability

The Prichard Committee has been generally supportive (with reservations) of efforts in the House to produce an alternative to the Senate Bill 1. Today they are wondering what hit them.

Somewhere, Sharron Oxendine is smiling.

This from Bob Sexton:
CATS: What today's news stories missed?

In a surprise last minute move on legislation affecting testing and accountability (incorporated now in SB 1), the House amended the bill to "suspend" accountability in most subjects for at least 3 years starting this spring. The consequences will be highly disappointing for parents, students, and the public because these measures of school progress underpin Kentucky's push for improved student learning --- and support the case for adequate school funding.

But now it will be more difficult for parents, taxpayers and teachers to figure out how their schools are progressing in core subjects like writing, science, history, geography economics and civics, and there will be no measure of how they are doing overall (calculated by the index of all the subjects).

All they will know under "suspended" accountability is what No Child Left Behind testing in math and reading tells them, which isn’t enough. There’s a strong chance too that all the other subjects---the ones that "don't count"--- will get less attention in the classroom.

This is a hugely ironic outcome for the teachers who lobbied for this change. Teachers who have bitterly complained about NCLB now get nothing but NCLB! They also saw their best case for adequate funding --- evidence of making progress with children --- thrown in the garbage. Be careful what you wish for, as the old saying goes.

So with data on school results "suspended" what's next? Who knows. What information will school boards and superintendents use to push local schools to improve? Will we suspend aid for struggling schools and efforts to reduce achievement gaps? Will we suspend calls for adequate school funding?

Stay tuned --- schools and kids are in for a bumpy ride.

SOURCE: Prichard release

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