Mark Kleiman: (Un)accountability:
What does a Republican charter-school enthusiast who believes in school-level accountability for educational results do when a charter school run by a big Republican donor gets a lousy evaluation score? Why, he cheats, of course. Tony Bennett, former head education honcho in Indiana and current head education honcho in Florida, to his chief of staff: "Anything less than an A for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work." Bennett to the official in charge of the grading system for schools: "I hope we come to the meeting today with solutions and not excuses and/or explanations for me to wiggle myself out of the repeated lies I have told over the past six months." Somehow, magically, the score for Christel House went from 2.9 (C+) to 3.75 (a solid A).
Look: I believe in outcomes measurement. I believe in accountability. I even believe in school choice. (After all, I live in the jurisdiction of the LA Mummified School District.) What I don’t believe is that the current testing/accountability/choice con artists and racketeering enterprises are going to make things better rather than worse. The cheating is so pervasive that I now see no basis for believing any claimed good result. That’s why Diane Ravitch has switched sides.
You’d have thought that charter schools, like private prisons, could hardly have done worse than their big, clumsy, bureaucratic, union-dominated public competition. But you would have been wrong, twice.