by Terry Heick

Rather than state or federal policy, make schools and communities accountable to one another.

This would require supporting those communities in various ways and supporting learners by expanding the definition of ‘academic’ success.

Among the benefits, the improved visibility of our collective, shared challenge to educate every learner every day for every standard regardless of background, literacy, learning habits, or scheme would be visible to everyone–kind of like opening the kitchen of a failing restaurant for the public to see; not to shame, but to clarify.

It’d be a mess at first, but the dogma in our curriculum and flaws in our collective practices as a society (not just as schools and classrooms) would be also exposed.

Parents would see our collective challenge as something whole and shared–or at least would have the chance to.

‘Accountability’ could become opportunity for all of us.

Parents aren’t experts? Then let’s build that capacity.

There are too few resources in communities? In schools? Let’s emphasize that.

The public doesn’t understand learning? That’s a problem that needs fixing–and schools can lead, yes?

Literacy is a problem at home, which is why it’s a problem in schools? So let’s work together to heal that.

They have no idea what’s happening in the classroom? Force their complete involvement.

That’d be more trouble than it’s worth? Let’s set some boundaries through a integration of schools and communities and not look back.

They don’t have time? Judging by our collective test scores, student apathy, teacher burnout statistics, graduation rates from high school to college, and general lack of widespread, genuinely inspirational teaching and learning, neither do we.