A Refresher: What is Community-Based Accountability?

How can we banish No Child Left Behind’s top-down and narrow paradigm? Local control has been a bedrock principle of public schooling in America since its inception. NCLB sent us in the opposite direction of this traditional notion. A return to a traditional locally based educational policy can be again realized via a multiple measures approach to accountability that is democratically decided on the community level.

Community-Based Accountability (CBA) involves a process where superintendents, school boards, school staff, parents, students and community stakeholders create a plan based on set short-term and long-term goals based on their local priorities.

  • CBA strategic plan developed at the local level would serve as alternatives to NCLB’s intense focus on a top-down, one-size-fits-all policy. It would enable local communities to focus on the outcomes that really matter in addition to test scores (i.e. career readiness, college readiness, safety).
  • This new form of accountability would allow for communities to drive a locally based approach that focuses on a set of measures of educational quality for their one-year, five-year, and ten-year goals.
  • State and federal government role would be to calculate baselines, growth, and yearly ratings (Recognized, Low-Performing etc.) for a set of goals that communities selected in a democratic process.

Policymakers from Texas to California are either taking notice of CBA, and/or they are thinking on the same wavelength. The first positive sign in Texas was that the High Performance Coalition of 20 districts in Texas empowered by SB 1557 were seeking to adopt a Community-Based Accountability and Assessment plan. Unfortunately, TEA Commissioner Michael Williams rejected the HPC plan. However, Governor Jerry Brown introduced Local Accountability for the entire state of California.

Here are Community-Based Accountability Executive Summary and Key Features. Please forward and circulate widely. 

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Community-Based Accountability click here.

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Please blame Siri for any typos.

p.s. Check out my “TED-style” talk about Community-Based Accountability on PBS in the post New Community-Based Approach to Accountability Featured on PBS-TV EdTalk


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