Evers said he had hoped WEAC would be full participants in the Accountability Design Team initiative and will continue to work with the group to make sure it’s included.
“Teachers should absolutely have a voice in the important discussions around student and school accountability,” Evers said. “While WEAC has indicated that they will not be participating in the formal group which will begin meeting next week, I will continue seeking their input as this process moves forward.”
No Child Left Behind requires schools to meet 41 benchmarks for student achievement. A school’s annual yearly progress toward improvement is calculated based on statistics that include test participation, academic achievement and graduation rates. Every few years, the percentage of students who must pass state tests increases.
By 2014, 100 percent of students are required to be proficient in both math and reading. That is a target no one expects schools to meet, which is helping to motivate the push to come up with alternatives.
Walker and Evers envisioned working with a team of education leaders to develop a new accountability system with the goal of creating a system that measures the effectiveness of schools using a variety of tools, including a new statewide test.
The system will identify high and low-performing schools, and Evers said deciding on the penalty to impose on those schools that fail to meet the state’s new standards will be a part of the group’s work.
That alone wasn’t enough for the teachers union to join.
“Just being invited to be a member of that team does not mean that our voices would be heard at that table,” Bell said. “We have absolutely no evidence from our experience with this governor or those particular legislative representatives that the voice of educators–even if we said at the table what we believed–would be heard.”