Publication Date: December 14, 2008
Yes, we should hold public schools accountable for effectively spending the vast funds with which they have been entrusted. But accountability policies like No Child Left Behind, based exclusively on math and reading test scores, have narrowed the curriculum, misidentified both failing and successful schools, and established irresponsible expectations for what schools can accomplish.
Instead of just grading progress in one or two narrow subjects, we should hold schools accountable for the broad outcomes we expect from public education —basic knowledge and skills, critical thinking, an appreciation of the arts, physical and emotional health, and preparation for skilled employment —and then develop the means to measure and ensure schools’ success in achieving them. Grading Education describes a new kind of accountability plan for public education, one that relies on higher-quality testing, focuses on professional evaluation, and builds on capacities we already possess. This important resource:
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). He is the author of Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic, and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap. Rebecca Jacobsen is an assistant professor of teacher education and education policy at Michigan State University. Tamara Wilder is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
“A superb and provocative analysis of where we've gone wrong on accountability and what we need to do to fix it. The book is a must-read.”
—Susan B. Neuman, former Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education (2001–2003)
“With NCLB down for the count, Grading Education puts forth the most comprehensive analysis and set of reform proposals to date. It should be required reading for everyone on Capitol Hill and in state capitols as well.”
—Jacob Ludes, III, Executive Director/CEO, New England Association of Schools and Colleges
“If you want to understand how policymakers, often with the best of intentions, are narrowing children’s education and bollixing up school accountability—and if you want to learn about what could be done about that—Rothstein’s well-written and timely book is a must-read.”
—Bella Rosenberg, former Asst. to the President of the American Federation of Teachers