I found Illinois’ accountability plan woefully inadequate and full of holes–especially when it comes to protecting vulnerable groups of students–so imagine my surprise when my state was awarded a “perfect score” by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Fordham analyzed the plans submitted by all fifty states and the District of Columbia under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). and scored them… Read more →
Last week, I wrote broadly about Illinois’ new accountability plan, where the goals promised “a focus on equity and excellence for all students” but where the details appear to fall far, far short of that. Understanding this plan is not yet cast in stone, let’s look at one area where Illinois seeks to break new ground but only clears a… Read more →
I know we’re all supposed to be on the “local control” bandwagon when it comes to setting school accountability standards, but a recent report made it crystal clear why this is going to be a hot mess. Achieve–an independent education nonprofit focused on high standards and raising graduation standards–set out to measure how well students are doing nationwide when it… Read more →
States and districts now get to decide if low-income students get a break on AP and IB exams: Will they make the right call?
In my home state of Illinois, more than 112,000 high school students took at least one Advanced Placement course last school year, and more than a fourth of those students are from low-income families. An even greater proportion of low-income students were able to to access International Baccalaureate last year–of the 4,500 students taking IB classes, more than two-thirds are low-income.… Read more →
There’s no place like home, right? When Dorothy clicked her heels three times, she was immediately transported to familiar ground—her home in Kansas. For many of us, the same sentiment applies to how we make decisions about our schools. Decision-making at the state and local level—home—is important, and many parents and educators have advocated tirelessly for this. With the passage… Read more →
Ask any public school parent—including me—about what happens when your child is in the earliest elementary grades, and you may get an earful about what is missing from their classroom experiences. Our current school accountability policies encourage school leaders to invest in grades that are tested, leaving the leftovers for the early, untested grades. In some schools, it’s an open… Read more →
When ESSA, The Every Student Succeeds Act, passed and the president signed it, we knew it would happen: States would take the flexibility now afforded to them under federal statute to backslide on accountability. But—maybe naively—I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly, before the rule-making around ESSA’s accountability provisions have even been finalized. We’re seeing it across the country,… Read more →