Accountability Breeds Response-Ability

(As we prepare for our 2017 School Quality Reports release on November 8th, we’re taking the week to celebrate accountability in education. We are publishing thoughts from parents, school leaders, and education stakeholders as they explain why accountability matters in education. Our blog series has already published pieces by Jo Baker, Patricia A. BrantleyRamona H. Edelin, and Andrea Jones. The following is authored by Jay Donaldson, parent of two students at Lee Montessori PCS.)

Our education system offers more accountability than ever before. Data is all the rage these days, and the education realm is certainly no exception. However, data is only valuable when it is analyzed and presented in a digestible manor. When presented properly, performance levels of every institution can be measured, graded, and compared to its peers. A clear picture helps leaders and administrators in the school system identify opportunities for improvements and best practices, and it helps families make better school choices for their children.

Here in DC, we are blessed with a variety of choices to fit our children’s needs including both traditional public schools and public charter schools. Families know the needs of  their children better than anyone, and through utilizing the available data and resources to learn about the education opportunities through EdFest, School Quality Reports, and other sources, families can identify the best fit and culture for their child. Schools must create an environment of transparency and collaboration to ensure families are aware of their child’s educational development and feel empowered in the process. Creating this constructive and working relationship will ensure families know how their child’s education is progressing.

A system with everyone invested, engaged, and empowered generates powerful results. This starts with measuring school’s results and reporting those results out to the entire community. Families can make better-educated school selections for their children based on school performance and culture, and then families can develop strong, trusting relationships with their schools. The goal of this is to make students better learners, administrators and teachers better educators, and families better advocates. We are all responsible for the education of our youth, and as author, Stephen Covey said, “Accountability breeds response-ability.”

- Jay Donaldson

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