Let's Put Together Good Ideas to Improve How We Hold K-12 Schools Accountable

More than 10 years after Washington, D.C., gave us the No Child Left Behind era, the issue of educational accountability is returning to the forefront. How do we measure and attribute school success (or failure)? Who should be held accountable, and how should that accountability be shared? What should be the consequences, both positive and negative, and how will they be implemented and enforced? What role, if any, should the federal government play?

The New York Times is hosting a forum with some of the brightest minds in education policy chiming in on the question: “Can School Performance Be Measured Fairly?” Now look, I’m not really fond of the way the question is framed. The obvious answer is Yes, just as obvious as the answer to the question “Can School Performance Be Measured Perfectly?” is No.

That being said, some of the points respondents have made are significant, and deserve serious attention in policy debates:

Taken together, I think all these points highlighted above would generate improvements to our current school accountability system. What say you? What would it take to enact and implement such a system? Could we reprioritize to make it happen with existing funds? Should we? How important is it to know how well our schools are doing to help students learn and achieve?