Ambitious goals, greater transparency and better tests are among the recommendations of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence for the state’s new accountability system. The statewide citizens group said the accountability system should be a major driver of education excellence for all students no matter their background or the barriers they face to success.
Noting that a steering committee led by the Kentucky Board of Education is working to design a new accountability system, Prichard Executive Director Brigitte Blom Ramsey urges lawmakers, “to consider legislation to give greater prominence to three elements we find essential to achieving a brighter future for our students and for the competitiveness of our state.”
Those elements are:
● An ambitious and achievable statewide goal for student performance that is specific and measurable and establishes a clear timeline and expectations.
● Policies that ensure transparency by making comparable education information at the state, district and school levels far more understandable, accessible and timely for parents, students and the public; accountability ratings should take into account the performance of each group of students.
● Tests that measure the depth of knowledge expected in higher standards, including what students should know and be able to do to compete in the economy of the future.
Ramsey describes the elements as representing the next essential steps to ensure Kentucky delivers a world-class education for each student. “These steps build on a long tradition of leadership from the General Assembly. … It is because of this strong leadership and shared commitment that we find ourselves now ready to fully embrace the next giant leap.”
Accountability and transparency for student results have long been high priorities for the Prichard Committee, which believes the system should serve the following four essential purposes:
● Provide information about student performance to parents, policymakers and the broader public that they can act upon to make improvements.
● Sustain a sense of urgency to improve student learning, including identifying schools and districts that need special support to better serve students.
● Communicate priority focus areas for statewide improvement.
● Illuminate the return on investments in Kentucky’s public education system.
“Above all, the accountability system must drive high and consistent expectations for all students, schools and districts,” Ramsey said. “This is the key education issue facing the 2017 General Assembly.”