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Establishing accountability for educational institutions

Updated on September 24, 2014

Accountability is a term which has been loosely applied to various aspects of society including our political system. Accountability within our public and private educational institutions is lacking the proper perspective and criteria. The methods employed or required to measure the success of any specific schools in comparison to others need to be revamped.

In the past there was less involvement within our educational system than what it is now. At one time there was not even a Department of Education and in some respects it was needed. The Department of Education was established and operational on May 4, 1980. This does not mean that the actions of this department or any for that matter always make the right decisions for the area of society for which they have responsibility. Every individual has the expectation of receiving a good education which will prepare them to become a viable addition to society. The criteria used to measure the success or failure of any specific school is not consistent with true accountability.

The mission of this department is provided below:

“to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.”

Our schools need not only to provide a quality education for all students but they need to provide accurate and complete information especially with regards to the history of our country. In respect to the content of textbooks changes have been made to make them more politically correct than discussing the issues and events and why they occurred. Textbooks have clearly taken a new approach to educating students and this approach is altering the view many receive about the history of our country. This is wrong.

Another aspect in need of accountability is the philosophy teachers/instructors present to those who are in their charge to educate. Today our educational system is more about laws and regulations than about teaching. It is more difficult to teach today than at any time in the past.

Some may say that this department does not get involved with the curriculum to be taught in our schools and to that end I refer to the philosophy of core curriculum which not only identifies what should be taught but in many respects the content to be included. The Department of Education generates regulations and/or guidelines with respect to what school curriculum should involve. The latest is called common core. This philosophy is not the only impediment to providing the education to all students but especially grade school, high school and in some respects college.

Accountability does not just apply to teachers and school administrators but it applies to government entities, the laws and the regulations that are created. Too much regulation and overreach of the government in our world of education is hampering the true purpose of educating the leaders of tomorrow. Involvement of the federal government more so than state governments has a purpose and that purpose should be of a limited nature not to the scope it is today.

The control of the content in school curriculum should be at the state and local level not the federal government. Individuals make decisions all the time about what various segments of our society should do without any real understanding of the real world. A unique concept would be to have individuals who have the experience of the real world making decisions in the areas they impact. This would be true accountability. In addition they should listen to individuals in the various aspects of society before making decisions which would have a negative impact not a positive one.

There should be accountability from the top down in our education system. The federal government can serve a useful purpose by collecting best practices from educational institutions and provide the information to them to make their own decisions. Collecting the data and making decisions through laws or regulations involving educational needs is an overreach of government in educating the leaders of tomorrow. All politicians should be held accountable for the decisions they make. Our education system is a critical aspect of society and bad decisions by government at the federal level will have an impact for years. The federal government should get out of dictating what our education needs. Each institution has their own successes and failures and it should be up to them to take the action to fix their failures not the federal government. The philosophy of one size fits all does not work in our education system or any system which is controlled or impacted by federal government decisions.


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