Sandy Kress has spoken and written for years and throughout the country on the importance of accountability in education to achieving learning gains for our nation's students. "The academic achievement of our students as measured on the National Assessment of Educational Progress," Kress said, "has improved in the era of accountability at a faster and stronger pace than in any previous period."
Yet, Sandy Kress worries: "There's not a day that goes by, it seems, when education bureaucrats who seem to want to get out from under the pressure of accountability come up with a new means of weakening that very accountability."
Sandy Kress writes: "In Texas, we've seen yet another unbelievably sad trick to game the reasonable expectations of the new accountability system. Texas has set a new and noble goal of trying to graduate more students from high school ready for college or career. Yet, instead of supporting accountability for success to this goal, some bureaucrats are now proposing that schools be deemed satisfactory if their students merely pass one exam at a high level of proficiency, even if it's in a freshman course. So, even though a student gets a score on a single test that is in no way predictive of postsecondary success, the school would be credited as if it did."
Sandy Kress concludes: "This sort of cynical idea gives accountability a bad name. But, worse, it utterly fails at the main purpose of accountability, that is, to prod the system to reach the precise goals we've set for our young people. For whatever reason this and similar ideas to dilute accountability are being promoted, they threaten the hard won gains in student achievement. Further, the prospect of reaching the new goals we've set for our young people is seriously diminished by these ill-advised ideas. We must be prepared to push back on them."