UNTIL RECENTLY, teachers, administrators and politicians did their best to improve schools, but only politicians were openly accountable for failed efforts in the form of losing an election. Accountability mandates that educators, too, must be responsible for the actions (or inaction). Rewards and punishments are given to those as a response to changes in student achievement. In Kentucky, for example, the state supreme court mandated sweeping system change in the school system. One of the major components of the plan was to make educator accountable as of 1994. Because of this legislation, teachers and administrators may receive bonuses as high as 30% of their salaries when student achievement goes up. But if statistics show that achievement drops or remains the same, they are subject to a variety of punishments, from loss of tenure and bonuses to offering parents the right to transfer their children to more successful schools.
In sum, choice advocates an eclectic mix of reforms, many of which can be found in other policy methods. Overall, though, the main goals of choice remain simple: moving decision making from state bureaucracies to local leaders and from politicians to educators, as well as the accountability of teachers and the empowerment of parents.
I'd like to examine other reform styles.
EdWeb: Exploring Technology and School Reform, by Andy Carvin. All rights reserved.