What’s wrong with this headline speaks to what’s wrong with a lot of the debate about school reform today. The problem is the indiscriminate and inaccurate use of the word “accountability.”While politicians and the media continue to pound at one nail—teacher quality—almost no one confronts the nearly universal lack of credibility or expertise among those politicians and much of the media—both of which remain, somehow, above the accountability they constantly call for impacting others, specifically teachers.
I invite you all to read two pieces of mine addressing this misuse of the term "accountability":
Accountability without Autonomy Is Tyranny
Hasty and misleading reactions to research that confirms the corporate narrative and even moderate pleas for compromise, such as Goldstein's, are equally inexcusable because they all fail to confront that accountability without autonomy is tyranny.
We are a people tragically enamored with data to the exclusion of humanity, dignity, and the very ideals we claim to be at center of our country—individual autonomy.
And we have sold our souls to capitalism, blind to the reality that the only thing free about the market is that our consumer culture is free of any ethics, free of any commitment to social justice.
Of course teacher quality matters, of course every child deserves a quality teacher. But that isn't something we can measure and force to happen as if students and teachers are cogs in a machine.
So ultimately every second spent crunching data about VAM is wasted time; every moment and penny spent on more standards and testing, also wasted time.
Teaching, learning, and human autonomy are complicated and beyond metrics, but they must become the ideals we put into practice. All else is tyrannyThe Teaching Profession?: Of License, Compulsion, and Autonomy
Educators are essential to fulfilling the promise of universal public education, but not the way corporate reformers claim and never as the result of Compulsion.
Public education needs to honor student and teacher Autonomy as the only form of accountability that can build democracy, human agency, and freedom.
Otherwise, our schools will continue to perpetuate the inequity of License and Compulsion that has created the Corporate States of America—the land of the 1% practicing their License on the backs the 99%'s Compulsion.