Thursday, January 8, 2015

A New Paradigm for Accountability

                                                   Edited from Diane Ravitch  Blog

Now that we have endured more than a dozen long years of No Child Left Behind and five fruitless, punitive years of Race to the Top, it is clear that they both failed. They relied on carrots and sticks and ignored intrinsic motivation. They crushed children’s curiosity instead of cultivating it.* They demoralized schools. They disrupted schools and communities without improving children’s education.
We did not leave no child behind. The same children who were left behind in 2001-02 are still left behind. Similarly, Race to the Top is a flop. The Common Core tests are failing most students, and we are nowhere near whatever the “Top” is. The Race turns out to be NCLB with a mask. NCLB on steroids. NCLB 2.0.
Whatever you call it, RTTT has hurt children, demoralized teachers, closed community schools, fragmented communities, increased privatization, and doubled down on testing.
I have an idea for a new accountability system that relies on different metrics. We begin by dropping standardized test scores as measures of quality or effectiveness. We stop labeling, ranking, and rating children, teachers, snd schools. We use tests only when needed for diagnostic purposes, not for comparing children to their peers, not to find winners and losers. We rely on teachers to test their students, not corporations.
The new accountability system would be called No Child Left Out. The measures would be these:
How many children had the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument?
How many children had the chance to play in the school band or orchestra?
How many children participated in singing, either individually or in the chorus? 
How many public performances did the school offer?
How many children participated in dramatics?
How many children produced documentaries or videos?
How many children engaged in science experiments? 
How many children learned robotics?
How many children wrote stories, whether fiction or nonfiction?
How often did children have the chance to draw, paint, make videos, or sculpt?
How many children wrote poetry? 
How many children performed service in their community to help others?
Can you imagine an accountability system whose purpose is to encourage and recognize creativity, imagination, originality, and innovation? Isn’t this what we need more of ?