Why Accountability in Education Matters

(As we prepare to release the 2017 School Quality Reports on November 8, we’re taking the week to celebrate accountability in education. Read posts by parents, school leaders, and education stakeholders who explain why accountability matters in education.  The first in our series is written by Jo Baker. She was the Founding Chair and former Executive Director of the DC Public Charter School Board. )

Before we talk about accountability in education, we should give some thought to why we support the education of our children. In most societies there is the desire to pass down to the heirs of the society the “mores and folkways of the society;” in our nation we support the concept that it is important that we support our children in acquiring the skills needed to become responsible, contributing members of society. There is a firm belief that this is necessary if we are to maintain our democratic society.

If this is our goal, then accountability in education is essential in supporting the belief system of our nation. Students are valued and are nurtured to become critical thinkers; this accountability requires that education prepare students for their future participation in our democratic process and requires that education develop skills which give options in life. The skills to be contributing, responsible members of their communities support the continuation of the value system of our nation.

If educational systems are held accountable for learning, these systems and teachers will develop instructional programs that provide for constructive decision making in the classroom. Constructive decision making will provide the opportunity for students to develop the skills that translate into full participating adults in our American democracy.

- Jo Baker

Baker was recently featured in the above video by the 74 for their "Reinventing America’s Schools" series about Washington, DC.  

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