Randi Weingarten and Linda Darling-Hammond have co-authored a major new statement on accountability.

They write that:

“If we assume that the goal of accountability should be better education, the test-and-punish approach must be replaced by a support-and-improve model. A new approach should ensure that students get what they really need: 1) curriculum, teaching, and assessment focused on meaningful learning, 2) adequate resources that are spent wisely, and 3) professional capacity, so that teachers and school leaders develop the knowledge and skills they need to teach much more challenging content in much more effective ways.”

They add:

“Implementing the standards well will not be accomplished by targets and sanctions. It will require more adequate and equitable resources and greater investments in professional capacity, especially for currently underfunded schools that serve the highest-need students.

“Raising standards in ways that punish children and educators for not meeting them produces the wrong responses from schools. Evidence shows that, rather than improve learning, sanctions tend to tamp down innovation, incentivize schools to boost scores by keeping or driving out struggling students, hasten the flight of thoughtful educators from the profession, and disrupt learning for students whose local schools are shut down.”

They use Néw York as an example of how do accountability wrong, and California as an example of how to do it right.

There are some very good ideas in their statement. I would add my two cents: when some children and families live in such desperate circunstance, not even the best standards, curriculum, assessments, and professional development will be enough to create equality of opportunity. Some kids have tooany strikes against them, and that is a societal failure.