Necessary, but not sufficient part 85,346

Sam Dillon turns in a good NYTimes piece on the immediate reactions of the national teachers unions to the ESEA reauthorization blueprint.  Here’s Randi Weingarten on turnaround:

“Teachers alone cannot turn around struggling schools, and the administration’s plans put 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers.”

So, she’s right on the first point and wrong on the second.  Of course teachers alone can’t fix struggling schools, but nobody in the Obama administration is expecting them to.  Concretely, in the four options for failing schools, there is very clear accountability for principals and paths to creating accountability for outside partners.  Teachers are a part of the solution, and teacher quality is a huge challenge when fixing failing schools.  But assigning accountability is different from assigning blame, and this statement conflates the two.

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2 Responses to Necessary, but not sufficient part 85,346

  1. Real world, there will be education leaders who hold to your distinction, but real world assigning accountability is often no different than assigning blame.

    That was the major point of NCLB and it was heard loud and clear. Fundamentally, the real purpose of accountability is being able to repeatedly use the word “Accountability,” thus sounding tough. That was true a generation before NCLB and its still true now.

    You know that. To get things done we have play the game and that means using tough-guy words, but we also need real understanding, and explicit guarantees.

    You write “but nobody in the Obama administration is expecting them to …”

    That’s the point. Obama himself won’t be implementing the plans. Thousands of systems across the nation will be acting on his words. The message that many or most will hear is that the easiet path for us is to continue to “put 100 percent of the responsibility on teachers.”

  2. steve trubow says:

    Any measure of the effectiveness of teachers and schools on student’s individual growth must include the influence of non-school related individual, peer, family and community risk factors which are outside of the teacher and school’s control. Most struggling schools have an unproductive separation between staff focused directly on instruction and those concerned with student support for behavioral issues. Teachers cannot be expected to deal with both instruction and student support issues that are outside of their control and scope of responsibility.

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