In Georgia, a statewide initiative is under way to measure school effectiveness far beyond state-mandated test scores or A-F rankings. It it is called “True Accountability” and it is being led by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Propelling this cutting-edge initiative is the belief that true accountability must provide a thorough accounting of school quality to the students, families, and communities for whom educators and schools exist. Current education policy, however, assumes that a thorough accounting isn’t possible, and therefore, tiny windows ― standardized test scores ― into the complex matrix of teaching and learning are the primary performance measures upon which we must rely. The education community largely views these tiny windows and the destructive labeling to which they all-too-often lead – failing students, failing teachers, failing schools – as incomplete, distorted, and highly ineffective. In late August, I will be traveling to Atlanta to see up close and personally what Georgia’s “True Accountability” initiative looks like and the progress being made to turn it into a reality.
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