As Long As We’re Holding People Accountable
The blog is getting an unusually high amount of traffic today. As someone who writes when I can (and still misses quite a few good blogging opportunities), I appreciate the fact that what I’m doing finds an audience. Take my post yesterday, for example. I was mad, and something needed to be said on behalf of the countless people impacted by the SDE’s failure to effectively procure training for one of their cornerstone reform efforts. While I didn’t think it was my best work, today has been my highest traffic day since starting the blog a little over two months ago.
So before I go on, I want to say thank you for the people who come back to read okeducationtruths, and also that I appreciate all the sharing that seems to be happening. I wouldn’t describe readership as viral, but it’s already more than I ever expected. And to my readers in Canada, Japan, France, and the UK today…WOW! That was truly unexpected!
And since I have your attention, I want to point out that the State Board of Education will be meeting Thursday morning at 9:30. At this time, the agenda for the meeting is still not posted. When it is, you’ll find the link here. And when I have a chance tomorrow, I’ll write more about it.
UPDATE: The agenda for tomorrow is now posted and under the hyperlink above.
One thing that is certain to be discussed is the way student graduation appeals were handled at the June 5th board meeting. I wrote about that at the time, aghast that the SDE would publish student records – including special education records – online with their board documentation.
I wasn’t the only one who wrote about that. So did Diane Ravitch. So did Parents Across America. And Education News. Their actions also bothered at least one legislator from Superintendent Barresi’s own party. There’s no other way to say it: releasing student records publicly has disgraced the SDE.
Here we are three weeks later, and people are still mad about it. They should be! I know some members of the board have already asked questions, and I expect they will continue to. Barresi is one of a breed of education reformers who like to extol the virtue of accountability. Well somebody needs to be held accountable for what happened. Whether through design or incompetence, the public forum created by the legislature for students to appeal for a high school diploma turned into an embarrassing circus. Students were bullied. Excuses were made. And somewhere, in the time and distance, nobody forgot that any of this happened!
This agency, under Barresi’s direction, squanders opportunity after opportunity to lead. Rather than capitalizing on the momentum from the 2010 election and effectively pursuing the agenda that got her elected in the first place, she – along with her top staff – insist upon steering the ship directly into the iceberg. Regardless of whether you’re for her or against her – embracing her reforms or resisting them – you have to admit that the performance of the SDE has been consistently disappointing.
Make sure the state board knows how you feel. They may surprise us all this Thursday.