Thompson: The Teacher Accountability Pipe Dream
Stanford's Larry Cuban continues to present a historical view that illustrates the flaws inherent in data-driven "reform." In "The Puzzle of Student Responsibility for Learning," Cuban writes "For more than a quarter-century, federal and state policymakers, major donors, and business leaders have built a reform-driven political machine that places responsibility for student learning squarely on teachers." Cuban notes that in all other helping professions, we assume a "two-way street." For instance, doctors and therapists share responsibility with their patients and clients for their outcomes; the failure of a patient to quit smoking is not dumped entirely at the door of his health care provider. In education, however, the idea that teachers are completely accountable for whether their students learn is the "super-glue that holds disparate reform-minded groups together." It would be nice if we could magically create an accountability system that could identify the value-added of all professionals who work with human beings and our foibles. It would be the cheapest way to fix our medical systems, social safety nets, and our educational systems. Only with teachers, however, do we pretend that such a pipe dream is possible."-JT (@drjohnthompson)image via.