Performance accountability has been the dominant trend in education
policy reform since the 1970s. State and federal policies set
standards for what students should learn; require students to take
"high-stakes" tests to measure what they have learned; and then
hold students, schools, and school districts accountable for their
performance. The goal of these policies is to push public school
districts to ensure that all students reach a common threshold of
knowledge and skills.
High-Stakes Reform analyzes the political processes and
historical context that led to the enactment of state-level
education accountability policies across the country. It also
situates the education accountability movement in the broader
context of public administration research, emphasizing the
relationships among equity, accountability, and intergovernmental
relations. The book then focuses on three in-depth case studies of
policy development in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Kathryn McDermott zeroes in on the most controversial and
politically charged forms of state performance accountability
sanctions, including graduation tests, direct state intervention in
or closing of schools, and state takeovers of school districts.
Public debate casts performance accountability as either a cure for
the problems of US public education or a destructive mistake.
Kathryn McDermott expertly navigates both sides of the debate
detailing why particular policies became popular, how the
assumptions behind the policies influenced the forms they took, and
what practitioners and scholars can learn from the successes and
failures of education accountability policies.
Subjects: Political Science
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