Entering the fray on education accountability
The Gateway Cities Journal
Recently MassINC convened education leaders from across New England for a dialogue on redesigning state accountability frameworks to comply with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We’ll be bringing this group together for several dialogues focused on how states should approach accountability with particular attention to Gateway Cities.
The arguments are compelling: small-to-midsize urban districts in New England educate a very disproportionate share of the vulnerable students federal accountability law aims to protect. And the way states measure learning outcomes to determine how schools are performing has powerful consequences, not only for the well-being of these students, but also more broadly for the health of city neighborhoods and regional economies.
Over the past two decades, researchers have carefully examined the impact of accountability on urban districts. We now have a better grasp of the strengths and limitations of the first generation model advanced by the No Child Left Behind law. These lessons deserve careful consideration as we develop new approaches under ESSA.
Coming together for thoughtful reflection is critical. The window to implement the new law is short, resources are limited, the political environment in unstable, and accountability has become highly charged. For positive change to occur under these difficult conditions, Gateway City leaders must be fully engaged.
When we developed the Gateway Cities Education Vision in 2013, a major objective was to have more influence over policy matters that deeply affect Gateway Cities by unifying our voices. New accountability frameworks are a major opportunity for cross-city collaboration. While the table is small for the group meetings we are hosting this summer, all of the presentations and materials will be available on our website so that you can join us in a virtual dialogue. Whether your role is as an educator or a professional with some other connection to Gateway City community and economic development, we urge you to engage in this critical conversation.
— Ben Forman
Housing and Economic Development
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Health & Wellness
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