Initiating an urgent conversation on education accountability
The Gateway Cities Journal
We head to Worcester this week for the first of six community dialogues on education accountability. Over the next few months, Massachusetts will revise its accountability policies to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a major overhaul of federal education law signed by President Obama last December.
Anticipating this change, we spent a lot of time in 2016 speaking with Gateway City educators about lessons-learned over the past decade, a period in which Gateway City school districts faced increased pressure from state and federal education accountability polices.
We heard loud and clear that education accountability has done a lot of good for Gateway Cities, but we also learned that Gateway City leaders see significant room for improvement.
This is actually great news. If we act on this opportunity to make accountability better, educators believe Gateway City schools will be positioned to make another great leap forward, improving teaching and learning so that all students gain the complete set of skills necessary to succeed in life.
To get a better feel for the wide opening educators see, I strongly encourage you to watch the 30-minute presentation David Ruff, Director of the Great Schools Partnership, gave last month at our annual Gateway Cities Summit in Springfield. David is a leading thinker on how we design assessment and accountability so that all students in our inclusive urban schools thrive. His talk provides inspiration and direction as we think about the potential for change under ESSA.
It’s fitting that we begin this urgent conversation in Worcester. In 2013, Gateway City leaders came together in Worcester to develop a shared education vision. Four years later, this farsighted plan is still the best economic revitalization strategy that we have for these key cities and their regions.
To outline the promise ESSA implementation holds for advancing the Gateway Cities Vision in more detail, we’ve prepared a short primer. Please join us at one of our upcoming community conversations to talk through these ideas.
– Ben Forman
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