Finally, in his letter to the Globe editor Glenn talks of districts balancing
the state’s largest educational regulatory burden — a 14-tiered system of accountability, assessments, and accreditations — against severely restricted local budgets.
He goes on with the preposterous:
Pioneer cheerlead[s] for the bureaucracy that burdens the nation’s most overregulated public schools.
As everyone knows, generally (though not always) Pioneer agrees with the view that micromanagement of localities should not be the state’s first course of action. There are too many mandates on the use of state funding (on HMOs, on businesses, etc.).
Pioneer supports a single accountability system: the independent, district-wide and school-based accountability assessments performed by the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (EQA). This morning we will read the autopsy report on what the Senate and House hath wrought on the accountability system during conference committee.
Rather than bemoan the passing of EQA, at this point, to be productive, we must find a new way to ensure that we are not simply shoveling money to districts without any accountability. One way to do that is to establish a system that uses a small amount of Chapter 70 school aid to reward localities for improvements in drop-out rates, attendance rates, and student achievement assessments (MCAS). See my paper on this.
In exchange, the state would stop with most of the mandates, letting the districts figure out their own solutions. They are the closest to the ground and know the unique challenges they face.
All that said, districts have to be held accountable. Since 1993, the state and localities have spent upwards of $80 Billion (that warrants a Big B) on education. We are now spending about $10,000 a child, all in. That is, to put it mildly, a lot of money.
Wasn’t the $15 billion (small b) “big Dig” enough to teach us that, when you are dealing with public dollars, you have to watch the hen house?