Monday, October 16, 2006

Loss of local control

One of the biggest advantages of small town schools is the autonomy they have enjoyed. All the parents know all the teachers - they can talk with the teachers every day. The principal comes out to the parking lot to talk every day at pick-up time. Our school has been accountable to parents since before the newfangled idea of accountability was invented. The school shares a regional high school with several other towns, but the district superintendent has traditionally delegated responsibility to the principle and to local control.

No Child Left Behind shifts accountability. Administrators must comply with federal mandates as interepreted by state bureaucrats, and if they don't, they can be fired. This goes for staffing, for curriculum, and for complying with mandated standardized test scores. In particular, if a district fails to make "adequate yearly progress", as most schools in Massachustts inevitably will, any administrators that haven't following the mandates of state and federal bureaucrats are likely to lose their jobs in the 4th or 5th year. Same goes for teachers.

So, now the superintendent is actively intervening in local affairs - saying the state made him do it - out of fear of losing his job.

We want the state and federal government to get out of the way and let our local school continue to do its job. Local accountability is more important than accountability to federal and state bureaucrats.


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