As Herb Brock notes in Monday's column, educators are compelled to comply with and examine all assessment tools in the process of trying to identify strategies to improve learning. In fact, much of what we do is in response to data.
Reports released this week from the federal initiative No Child Left Behind understandably lead educators to closely scrutinize and question this system of accountability that will carry heavy consequences for schools. Educators want to do what is best for children, and we want accountability that makes sense and can be easily conveyed to the public. We criticize out of fundamental concerns for student learning and support for teachers, who want to do their best. The federal accountability system remains a work in need of revision.
In the face of increasing mandates for schools, however, most people acknowledge this truth about educators, that their focus is on kids. Countless times we hear, "I admire what you do" and "I don't think I could be a teacher."