Accountability for All
As our country and our state struggle to emerge from a global recession, it is natural to become cynical about the future. Parents and educators must work together to empower our young people in a manner that builds their senses of personal responsibility, competence and community.
Accountability has become an over-used buzz word in education in recent years. Too often this term is used inappropriately, by one person or group to assign blame to another person or group. No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001) was developed out of the notion that public education in the United States is failing many children in our country. Yet the legislation is written as if a simple mandate is all that isnecessary to improve outcomes. It holds public schools responsible for ensuring that 100% of all students meet standards in math and reading by 2014.
Personal responsibility is a fundamental virtue in a democracy like ours, but the goals of NCLB will never be met unless the focus is changed to “accountability for all.” In spite of our important and ongoing efforts to improve curriculum, instruction and assessment throughout the country, two facts will always remain incontrovertible:
1. It is not possible to teach someone who is an unwilling participant in his/her education
2. It is not possible to stop the education of someone who is determined to get it
As adults, we empower our children and prepare them for a positive future when we focus collectively on the attitudes and values that they will need to be successful in school. And this requires so much more of us than simply talking about it.