High-Stakes Reform: The Politics of Educational Accountability
In her new book, Kathryn A. McDermott of the University of Massachusetts tackles the complicated theory and history of educational accountability. According to McDermott, our increasingly centralized system has been shaped by the push for educational equality, going back to desegregation and continuing with performance-based accountability today. To make her case, McDermott showcases the rise of accountability structures in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and the growth in federal involvement. Perhaps most interesting are the lessons McDermott draws from these case studies—relevant to other public-policy sectors as well. Notably, to design a smart accountability system, policymakers must first ensure that they have the capacity to operate it. Else accountability creates perverse incentives (like cheating on high-stakes testing). As federal policymakers contemplate handing accountability back to the states, it will be smart to remember whence and why our current model originated. This book shines a light onto that past.
Kathryn A. McDermott, High-Stakes Reform: The Politics of Educational Accountability (Georgetown University Press, Washington, D.C., 2011).
Category: Standards, Testing, & Accountability
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