Friday, November 14, 2008
The Cost of Accountability
Leonie Haimson has a great wrapup on the costs of accountability, money drained from use in the classroom. Yes, the accountability movement - let's spend gobs of money to measure kids, teachers, schools, principals - for exactly what purpose? Leonie will probably put it up on the NYC parent blog but right now I have it at Norms Notes and it is a must read.
The idea of bottom line accountability makes sense in the business world. Measure success and failure by the numbers. Applying the idea to the education world however, has created an immense dislocation of resources out of the classroom, while at the same time diverting teachers from their real teaching mission. Many people have pointed out that every minute spent evaluating is a minute lost to instruction. You know, that "using data to inform instruction" crap.
See Steve Krashen We Must Be a NUT (No Unnecessary Testing) at Ed Notes.
Teachers have always used data they accumulated from testing and observation to inform their instruction.
The obscenity here is that teachers are not to be trusted - the anti-educator, no nothing mood currently dominating the educational debate in this country, as exemplified by Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee.
So let's hire people at enormous expense to provide data to teachers, data they often have little time to address. But so what if the reality of the daily teaching grind leaves little room to use this data? Just use the data to punish and reward and close down entire sections of school systems instead of trying to fix what's wrong. See CLASS SIZE MATTERS at Leonie's site.
Also see another one of Leonie's posts Would national testing really improve our schools?
And if you have some time, chack out another post at Norms Notes that expose the destructive policies of BloomKlein. Is there anything these guys get right?