The NYT's "Room for Debate" is featuring a conversation between Patricia Levesque from the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Kevin Welner of the National Education Policy Center. Here's an excerpt from Levesque's reply to Welner on the value of test-based accountability:
Successful policies include school choice for parents, accountability for every child, early-grade literacy, elimination of archaic teacher tenure policies and adoption of college-and-career ready standards measured with quality assessments.
Kevin, those on your side, including teachers unions, fight vigorously to block such reforms and then argue accountability is not working. They don’t want it to work. Instead they give us repackaged arguments for more money backed by vague assurances of results. Just don’t hold them to it.
That is why many civil rights groups support annual testing and accountability. They know a child whose progress is not monitored, whose results don’t matter, is a child likely to fall through the cracks.
"Deeper, broader learning" is something we all support. But a child who cannot read a science book cannot learn biology. A child who cannot write cannot create poetry. A child who cannot work with fractions cannot pass algebra. With no foundation in the basics, there will be no deeper, broader learning.
Accountability is hard. But it is necessary if we are to expand opportunity to all children.