November 7, 2022

What Can Happen When Communities Turn to Benefits-Based Accountability

What Can Happen When Communities Turn to Benefits-Based Accountability

We’re all accustomed to talking about accountability in terms of grand metrics like test scores and graduation rates.

But do these tell the story of what actually happens in a school as well as a much simpler metric that countless students hear every day?

By asking “How was school today?” we can remove the judgment and compliance thinking that are inherent in standard accountability measures. Too often, those measures tell us more about family income levels in a given neighborhood or demographic makeup in a district than they do about students’ relationships with their educators, levels of trust within an educational community, learning progress, or other metrics that truly matter to the most important constituency: our children.

Author John Tanner argues that a “benefits-based approach to accountability” that uses simple language, formats, and designs to create a partnership between the school and the community is a better way to measure effectiveness in our educational organizations.

An approach like this can be the genesis for transformational change.

The Texas Association of School Administrators has convened a group of more than 60 public school districts that are focused on turning Tanner’s accountability theory into practice.

In a recent piece for the Fall 2022 issue of Insight, the professional journal of the Texas Association of School Administrators, Superintendent Quintin Shepherd of Victoria ISD and Superintendent Roland Toscano of East Central ISD explain this initiative from a transformational leadership perspective and share why the idea of benefits-based accountability has wide appeal around the country. Their piece starts on page 33.

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