Standing Up to Washington – Accountability Matters

If your child isn’t getting a great education, you don’t just shrug your shoulders. America shouldn’t either.

Last week, lawmakers in Washington proposed a compromise for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA – also known as No Child Left Behind). While we are encouraged by the bipartisan proposal’s backing of state-set standards, annual assessments, and transparency for important factors – including teaching quality – more work is need.

“What’s missing is a clear expectation that student progress toward college- and career- ready graduation matters most in the accountability system, coupled with a clear expectation that any school that is chronically low-performing or consistently underperforming for any group of students be identified for intervention and support,” said Kati Haycock, executive director of The Education Trust.

“Putting out data is not enough,” added Amber Arellano, executive director of The Education Trust-Midwest. “We have to hold schools accountable. When you’re serious about something, there’s accountability involved.”

Find out more about how you can make your voice heard at:

 A step backward: MDE waiver means less accountability

Last month, the Michigan Department of Education requested flexibility from some requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act through a waiver application to the U.S. Department of Education. Michigan has had flexibility from certain federal ESEA requirements since July 2012, and is one of 43 states currently with a waiver.

Unfortunately, Michigan’s new application would not hold schools accountable for certain groups of students or large achievement gaps within a school. As a result, schools could get high marks even if large groups of students – like students from low-income families – are systemically falling behind.

“As a result, we’re losing an important signal that achievement gaps matter, for all students, all the time, and can’t be ignored,” according to Sarah Lenhoff, director of policy and research at the Education Trust-Midwest. “This waiver request marks a major step backward in holding schools accountable.

On the Blog: Spring Tests Begin

This week, students across our state began taking Michigan’s new assessment – the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP). Read more here.

 Infographic: Greater Accountability = Greater Achievement

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