Striving for Student Success: A Model of Shared Accountability
Coordinated social-service programs are gaining steam—after Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone, think Obama’s new Promise Neighborhoods and the AFT’s proposed initiative in rural West Virginia. These “cradle-to-career” partnerships link myriad groups and programs in order to provide wraparound services (from prenatal care run by a neighborhood clinic to mentoring coordinated through the local United Way chapter). But questions of accountability loom large. (As the saying goes, when everyone is accountable, no one is.) This brief from Ed Sector profiles the Strive Partnership of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky, a program that does a pretty good job of managing this shared accountability, and distills recommendations for others looking to initiate similar wraparound-service partnerships. To ensure quality, the brief states, programs of this kind must have metrics and performance targets in place (for each program partner as well as the whole) and a system for collecting and reporting data. (Other things, like strong and sustained leadership, are also helpful.) Most importantly, there must be a ringleader—an “intermediary organization” charged with overseeing the whole program, tracking the efficacy of each of the program’s components, and defunding those that don’t work. In the case of the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky initiative, the Strive Partnership (itself a professionally staffed organization) serves that purpose. As more and more cities implement their own versions of “strive partnerships” and “promise neighborhoods,” these questions of accountability will mushroom. Ed Sector deserves credit for starting the discussion.
Kelly Bathgate, Richard Lee Colvin, and Elena Silva, Striving for Student Success: A Model of Shared Accountability (Washington, D.C.: Education Sector, 2011).
Category: Standards, Testing, & Accountability
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