NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: EJ767843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
What Is Basic?
Rothstein, Richard; Jacobsen, Rebecca
Principal Leadership, v7 n4 p14-19 Dec 2006
Principals are increasingly held accountable for student achievement. Why shouldn't schools, like other institutions, be judged on how successfully they perform their mission? Yet school leaders have a good reason to resist contemporary accountability programs. Instead of articulating the mission of schools and then holding leaders accountable for accomplishing it, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and similar state programs redefine that mission as teaching students whatever happens to be easy to test. As a result, schools are given incentives to ignore outcomes that may be as important as basic skills in math and reading, but more difficult to assess. Further, the students most likely to be harmed by these curricular shifts are economically and socially disadvantaged, leading to widening outcome gaps in areas less easily tested. In this article, NCLB's exclusive emphasis on basic academic outcomes is explored. There have been previous efforts to assert the primacy of academic training, but most U.S. citizens have usually wanted both the academic focus "and" the social outcomes. But how should an accountability system balance these many goals? In 2005, the authors synthesized the descriptions of goals for public education, established through 250 years of U.S. history, into eight broad categories that seemed to be prominent in each era, although certainly emphases have changed from generation to generation. They then presented these eight goal areas to representative samples of adults, school board members, state legislators, and school superintendents, asking respondents to assign a relative importance to each of the goal areas. Average responses of all adults, board members, legislators, and superintendents were very similar. The results articulate the goals of state legislators and school board members, public officials who, in the last two decades, have established school accountability systems that expect performance only in basic skills. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001