Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A different report card . . .

One of the words we continue to hear from Olympia is accountability, especially from the Senate and echoed in multiple Seattle Times editorials such as yesterday's focused on Governor Inslee's budget.  Though the title suggests alignment between the Governor and the editorial board there is some concern that new money is not tied to increased accountability.

New money for education ought to rest on a solid foundation of accountability. The state Senate has passed thoughtful reforms that help the money make a difference.

In this March 5th editorial one of those reforms, SB 5328 is identified as a positive step forward.  The focus of the bill is to assign letter grades to individual schools based upon the state's achievement index. In the spirit of accountability I thought I would share a different accountability measure.  This one is from the League of Education Voters and is the Citizens' Report Card on Washington State Education.  This one doesn't grade individual schools, it grades progress on 32 indicators across five categories and the results are not good.  In four of the five categories the grades are lower than the last report card two years ago and in the fifth the grade is the same.

This report card deserves the same exposure as that of the proposed Senate reforms since it is also a measure of how well the policy makers have or have not done to support attainment of these five categories. The Funding and Accountability grade is certainly one that is at the door step of the legislature.  Once again, it is time to fund and support the reforms already in place not add new reforms and additional accountability. We need support and flexibility, not one size fits all solutions driven by systems not experiencing the same level of success that we and many others are achieving.

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