December 23, 2015

By Chris Steinhauser

For too long in California and in other states, we have been having the wrong conversation about public education.

Driven by the narrow and rigid mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind law, we established new standards and requirements for performance without providing additional resources, then blamed educators when they did not achieve them.

The result was an accountability system that did not provide any meaningful information about how we might help kids learn, and that made teachers and school administrators feel like scapegoats. In many education circles, “accountability” has become a bad word.

The passage by Congress of the new Every Student Succeeds Act offers a chance to change that conversation. Returning power and responsibility for student learning to the states, the legislation ends some of the more onerous requirements of No Child

Left Behind but still requires states to develop systems to measure student learning in meaningful ways.

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