To the Editor:
I agree with Richard Rothstein on the importance of reforming accountability, but not only for the classroom (“Getting Accountability Right,” Commentary, Jan. 28, 2009). My life’s work has been trying to get educational accountability right for the family and community. President Barack Obama refers often to parental responsibilities—that’s true accountability.
We have to expect accountability from the entire education network: students, families, teachers, and the curriculum. We have to teach what we may have thought did not need to be taught any longer. It’s old-fashioned in the best sense. As President Obama said in his inaugural speech: "[H]onesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded, then, is a return to these truths.”
Yes, and it won’t be easy. We are tested on them every day, and not just in reading and math classes. I am encouraged by the expanding conversation on accountability, coming increasingly now from former basic-skills-only folks. They have seen the narrowness of that curriculum focus and are mending their ways, much to the benefit of real education. Mr. Rothstein has always been in the forefront of real education, and he continues to be so as he shares this vital and important message.
Home and School Institute
A version of this article appeared in the February 25, 2009 edition of Education Week as Parental Responsibilities—'That’s True Accountability’