This is a multipart series of posts intended to help teachers grow their leadership practice and ignite conversations about education online and in person. The goal of a teacher leader is to improve the learning of all students through their efforts, collaboration, and influence. The 2014 Teacher Leadership Challenge is a weekly installment activity that poses a prompt on an educational topic or issue. Your challenge is to respond within one week to the prompt via a post you publish to your blog. Responses to the prompt that you publish to your own blog should be around 500 words or less. The aim is to get more teachers thinking globally about their classroom practice and their own connection to the wider education community. You can subscribe to this blog to get the weekly challenge sent automatically by email.
You can share your post to Twitter using #TLC2014 and spark conversation with educators. In addition to posting on your own blog, you can elect to include your post in the weekly collection showcase blog. To do this, simply email your completed response post to the showcase, at firstname.lastname@example.org Make sure that you include the title of your post with the week of the prompt for proper tagging (e.g., "My Post Title | September 6, 2013") in the subject line (without "re:") of your email, and the full post laid out in paragraphs in the body of the email. Posts are automatically published from sending the email. You can embed images and URLs into the body of your email, and the post will publish while maintaining your formatting and layout. Check out others' responses in the response collection or on Google+ each week, leave them your comments, and get the conversation rolling ahead for teacher leadership.
This Week's Challenge:
What do you believe should be the basis for accountability in education?
There has been a growing demand in the past decade for accountability in education. Policy makers, students, families, educators and taxpayers all want schools to be "held accountable." While these requests are akin to a teacher's request to hold students accountable for their homework or a project, there does not seem to be wide agreement about what accountability actually is for education.
There are varying elements of accountability familiar in the teaching profession and with each comes unique outcomes. There are levels of accountability that rely on standardized testing or adequate yearly progress, but there are also teacher evaluations, classroom observations and student growth. While there are other aspects of school or individual accountability in education, the currently prevailing model of accountability in many places relies on two main measures: student achievement on standardized tests and graduation rate. The basis for accountability is a highly discussed matter in education. Entire teams of educators and departments of state-level experts work regularly on assessment and accountability projects for schools. Many have their doubts as to whether our current measures are sufficient, but they also tend to believe that there is no reasonable way around the current accountability system of standardized test scores or graduation rates.
Whether or not you agree with the current accountability measures in your school or state, the intent of accountability remains an important one, but does the current "yard stick" of accountability (achievement and graduation) miss the mark? Are there other areas of education upon which accountability should be based? Do you agree with the current system of accountability going on for your school? Are the current measures enough, too much, or inadequate? Is it possible that there is one all-encompassing means of achieving accountability in education, or is there a certain combination of factors that must be considered?
Ultimately, education might have to maintain a basis for accountability, but what do you think the basis for accountability should be?
Image: "Technology to Support Instruction That Works" by Gary Abud, Jr.