Test-based accountability is “doing untold damage to the profession of teaching,” Marc S. Tucker argues in Fixing Our National Accountability System. And it’s not improving student performance, Tucker tells New York Times columnist Frank Bruni. Instead, we need to do what works in high-performing countries: Treat teachers as professionals.
That means that teachers are as well paid as other professionals, that they have a career ladder, that they go to elite schools where they learn their craft, and that they are among the top quartile of college graduates instead of the bottom quartile.
In high-performing countries, tests are used to hold the students accountable, rather than the teachers, says Tucker.
Meanwhile, he writes, “in most of these countries, the primary form of accountability for the school and its staff is high-profile publication of the average scores for the exams for each school, often front-page news.”
When a school falls short, instead of looking to fire teachers, the high-performing countries “use the data to decide which schools will receive visits from teams of expert school inspectors. These inspectors are highly regarded educators.”
Tucker envisions teachers “holding each other accountable for the quality of their work, as professionals everywhere do.” Teachers would help colleagues improve and get rid of those who didn’t cut the mustard.
And the teacher’s unions? I keep looking for flying pigs.