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Event Education Pre K-12

America's Education-Accountability Movement: Progress or Retreat?

Wednesday September 2016


Jeb Bush 43rd Governor of Florida
Marcus A. Winters Senior Fellow @MarcusAWinters
Howard Husock Contributing Editor, City Journal

No Child Left Behind, signed by George W. Bush in 2002, promised more education accountability in return for more federal spending. Spending did indeed rise but academic achievement lagged. States watered down standards; later, the Obama administration issued blanket waivers—but only if states adopted Washington's heavy-handed prescriptions.

Now NCLB has itself been left behind. Its successor, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed by Congress in December 2015, was backed both by teachers unions, which want less accountability, and conservatives, who desire less federal control of education. Gone are NCLB's proficiency benchmarks and mandated federal interventions, though ESSA retains annual testing requirements for students from third to eighth grade.

Testing is crucial: it measures progress and ensures accountability; defenders of the educational status quo fiercely opposite it. Consider New York City, where Mayor Bill de Blasio has steadily dismantled Michael Bloomberg's successful school letter-grades system. Today, student achievement is merely one of seven criteria used to rate NYC schools. The others—such as “supportive environment” and “effective school leadership”—are subjective metrics that are easily gamed. Little wonder that most of the 200 NYC elementary and middle schools in which fewer than 10% of students pass state tests still receive favorable reviews from the city.

Is America's education-accountability movement gaining speed—or in retreat?

On September 29th, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush joined us for an education synposium and discussed education policy with MI senior fellow Marcus Winters and moderated by Howard Husock.

12:00 - 12:15 PM Reception
12:15 - 12:45 PM Lunch
12:45 - 12:50 PM Opening Remarks
Howard Husock, Vice President, Research & Publications, MI
12:50 - 1:00 PM Presentation: “School Accountability in NYC under de Blasio”
Marcus Winters, Senior Fellow, MI
1:00 - 1:40 PM Panel: “New Opportunities for School Accountability”
Michael Magee, CEO, Chiefs for Change
Morgan Polikoff, Associate Professor of Education, University of Southern California
Marcus Winters, MI
Moderator: Matt Barnum, Senior Staff Writer, The 74
1:40 - 1:55 PM Audience/Panel Q&A
1:55 - 2:30 PM Keynote Conversation: “Choice and Accountability in Education”
Jeb Bush, 43rd Governor of Florida
Marcus Winters, MI
Moderator: Howard Husock, MI