Amid a highly polarized debate on reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), two different "camps" on school reform have found common ground on how to address the law's approach to educational accountability.
In summer 2014, two separate groups of scholars and policy experts held meetings to rethink accountability. Both groups were motivated by concerns that NCLB's approach has increasingly undermined school improvement and quality. The conclusions drawn from those separate meetings were surprisingly similar on many important points. This paper presents those areas of agreement on the goals of accountability and its role at each level of the public education system—the school, district, state, and federal government. The authors than lay out five guiding principles that should inform congressional action on NCLB to produce greater equity and excellence in our education system, with less federal overreach.
This report was prepared in consultation with:
Anthony Bryk, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Richard Carranza, San Francisco Unified School District
Robin Lake, Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington Bothell
Paul Leather, New Hampshire Department of Education
James Liebman, Columbia Law School
Jal Mehta, Harvard University
Charmaine Mercer, Alliance for Excellent Education
Rick Miller, Center for Organizational Reform of Education
Linda Pittenger, National Center for Innovation in Education, University of Kentucky
Morgan Polikoff, University of Southern California
David Steiner, Hunter College of Education
Richard Wenning, BeFoundation
Gene Wilhoit, National Center for Innovation in Education, University of Kentucky
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.