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An A for Accountability?

Mrs. Mimi's Chalk Talks

AnAfter several weeks of being taunted by various office-supply commercials filled with joyous parents skipping through the school supply aisle, it is finally, officially the beginning of the school year. I know some of you out there have been back at it for weeks and others just began after this last long weekend. Regardless, I think it’s safe to say that we are all in it, all back to the grind, all wondering how our summers went by so quickly.


Seriously, it’s like the blink of an eye and we’re suddenly out of our bathing suits and into our scrubby shorts and oversized T-shirts cleaning desks and rearranging furniture. Before we know it, we are torn from our leisurely lunches and find ourselves instead packing a PB&J to choke down while furiously grading homework.


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So, after acknowledging all of this, I’m curious. How are we all feeling?


Are you feeling tired?
Are you feeling exhilarated after meeting your new friends?
Are you feeling like you never had a vacation?


And the million-dollar question: Are you feeling accountable???


Where's the Accountability?

Ah, yes. Good old accountability. Gotta love a good buzzword, no? It seems like everyone’s two cents includes a tirade on the subject of teacher accountability. Phrases such as “teachers need to be held accountable for their results” and “teachers must be accountable for their students’ test scores” fill the air. These days, “Where’s the accountability?” has potentially replaced “Where’s the beef?” as America’s number one catch phrase.


If I wasn’t so sick of hearing these words, I might turn them into a T-shirt and retire a millionaire.


People...and by people I mean those outside of the classroom, love to throw around the word accountability, or nod their heads enthusiastically when listening to the most recent aren’t-those-teachers-lazy-and-shouldn’t-they-be-held-accountable themed rant.


Give Teachers the Freedom to Be Successful

You know what the funny thing is? I have never come across a teacher who would say, “I don’t think I should be held accountable for my work.” I mean, is that the most ridiculous idea or what? Show me the teachers who are refusing to be held accountable, who are fueling these rants, who are ruining it for the rest of us.


Maybe they do exist. I don’t know. What I DO know, is that most teachers I have come in contact with have no problem being held accountable for their work. What they have a problem with is being held accountable for their work when their hands (and minds!) are simultaneously tied behind their backs.


What do I mean?


  • I mean, if the Powers That Be continue to remain largely non-educators who insist on endorsing “scientifically-proven,” scripted curricula that “guarantees” all children are receiving exposure to given set of skills, it is ridiculous to subsequently hold teachers accountable for work that does not represent their choices or expertise.


  • I mean, we need to stop ragging on educators who dedicate their lives (and wallets!) to their classrooms and have endured an unbelievable amount of unnecessary and unproductive negativity.


  • I mean, if we want to hold teachers accountable for the incredibly difficult work of educating our nation’s children, then we also need to give them the respect, resources and freedom to actually do that work rather than read from a script.


  • And to the Powers That Be, I mean if you are so dead set on waving the Accountability Flag, perhaps, just for a moment, you should turn a very public mirror on yourselves to see how you measure up as well.


How do you feel about the call for teacher accountability? Do you think teachers are being judged fairly? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


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