Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reciprocal Accountability

I think the idea of "reciprocal accountability" is a breath of fresh air.

I think educators should go further and set up reciprocal accountability at a local, state and national level.  For example,  teacher effectiveness should be correlated to a range of factors that are informed by students' SES.  What is society doing (via a local, state or national infrastructures) to foster the conditions that will help teachers be more effective?  Suggestions include:
  1. Children are well-rested and well-fed.
  2. Children have opportunities for quiet-time to reflect about their learning and/or do homework.
  3. Children have safe and numerous opportunities to play/participate in recreation outside of the school environment.
  4. Children have access to fully-funded libraries with fully-supported technology.
  5. Children have access to school facilities and programs, via public funding, that reflect those in wealthy independent schools.
  6. Teacher:student ratios reflect those of highly successful independent schools (after all, if it's good enough for wealthy kids, it should be good enough for poor kids).
  7. Children have access to full healthcare.
  8. Children's families have access to home ownership and job counseling.
Susan Moore Johnson, John Papay, Randi Weingarten and W. James Popham all refer to the acute impact of SES on effective teaching.  Give urban or very rural teachers these pre-conditions and we will reciprocate!

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