Opportunities to learn: Beyond access to engagement
Chapter 5 in Democratic School Accountability A Model for School Improvement, edited by Ken Jones.
For what, to whom, and by what means should schools be held accountable? What are the purposes and goals of schooling in a democratic society? What can serve as a fair system of quality assurance for schools in a world of change and complexity? Democratic School Accountability addresses such concerns by defining and describing an alternate vision for school accountability. Working from a model adapted from the world of business, the contributors depict dimensions for school accountability based on democratic values and local empowerment. The central premise is that schools, districts, and states should together be accountable for student learning, but also for providing opportunities to learn, being responsive to students, parents, and communities, and developing organizational capacity for high performance.
The system described in this book is built on high-resolution information gathering, not high-stakes testing. It proposes and shows examples of using local and multiple methods for assessing student learning, cultivating and sustaining the professional knowledge and skills of teachers, engaging the community in meaningful and empowered decision-making, organizing schools for greater performance, and conducting self-studies and external visitations for monitoring and fostering high quality schooling within the local context. This book encourages readers to step out of the box of the current approach to school accountability and to reframe the very concept of accountability so that it may truly serve as a positive force for school improvement and renewal. It is a hopeful expression of what could be.
Rowman & Littlefield Education
Whitney, J. (2006). Opportunities to learn: Beyond access to engagement. In K. Jones, (Ed.), Democratic school accountability: A model for school improvement (pp. 55-78). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.