Arbeit Macht Frei: Teaching in the World of the Accountability Police

The core of the Klein/Bloomberg world of education is accountability.

Develop a transparent formula  that produces a specific metric – a numerical grade for each and every school based on “average pupil growth.” The results of the accountability metric, placed on a bell curve, produces a numerical score and a letter grade. Five percent of schools will receives an A or an F, ten percent a B or a D and the remainder a C.

Each of the 1400 plus schools will in effect be ranked from number 1 to number 1450.

Consequences: bonuses to some and dismissal for others.

 ARIS  will enable the Department of Education to track individual pupil achievement by teacher. The goal of the DOE: either in the next set of contract negotiations or through the use of private grant money is to create a merit pay system for teachers.

The accountability system is not linked to teaching and learning support.

All principals (principals can consult with the school community, or not, the decision is solely that of the principal) must chose a support organization, either one of four theme-based organizations headed by a current regional superintendent, one of the yet to be announced partnership organizations or empowerment, which basically means laissez-faire: support only if the school choses to ask for it.

On the accountability side new, yet to be selected accountability superintendents will function as the accountability police, monitoring the School Progress Report metric system, and, ultimately deciding upon the future of principals, and, perhaps their staffs.

Will the threat of dismissal or the promise of a bonus make principals work harder or smarter?

Will the goal of a merit bonus make teachers work harder?

Will the “carrot” and the “stick” produce higher achieving schools?

I’ve never met a principal or a teacher who didn’t want to succeed … who didn’t try to succeed. Success is determined by innate abilities, effective coaching/mentoring and a climate of collaboration.

Merit pay programs  are not new, and the history of prior programs is not encouraging.

The current plutocracy ignores history, after all, they are convinced that they are right.

In spite of an avalanche of opposition, criticism and protest Tweed and Gracie Mansion shrug off the “slings and arrows” and push on: after all, they possess the miter.

Successful schools are characterized by collaboration among stakeholders: chancellors, superintendents, teachers, parents and the community, working together: assessing data, data driving resources, midcourse corrections and yes, ultimately being held accountable.

The current administration has no patience and cannot dirty their hands dealing with “ordinary folk,” parents and teachers, they are the new age tyrants playing with the schools until they move on to their next game.


2 responses to “Arbeit Macht Frei: Teaching in the World of the Accountability Police

  1. A REALLY BAD Title for a very good essay. There is no “work program” connected to the “reforms”. Hence, equating Tweed with Auschwitz is gratuitously unfair and frankly odious.

    BTW, if memory serves, the city official who inadvertently (and inappropriately) used the slogan “Work will make you free” was the Commissioner for the Human Resources Administration under Guilliani, NOT Bloomberg.


  2. bad title, yes
    equating tweed with auschwitz unfair, yet surely unintended

    the administration official? who cares

    tweed as odious? an adjective not even close to being strong enough.


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