“Public” Is Not “Government”

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(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Andy Smarick is starting to have the most important realization about accountability – that the government school monopoly has corrupted not only our systems of accountability but even our conception of what accountability is. There is no need for a single, uniform accountability system in each geographic zone, and there is no need for accountability to be government-controlled.

Go read his post. Then remember that you read it here first. Not only the idea of families holding schools accountable but the idea that many other kinds of social organizations (think tanks, churches, civic groups, etc.) could help them do so by building family-driven structures of accountability.

My only complaint is that the title on his post reinforces the same error he is awakening from. The title is “Public Accountability vs. Consumer Accountability.” Since none of the language in the post itself reflects the extreme myopia we see in that title, I’m betting the title was composed by the smug technocrats at Fordham.

Welcome aboard, Andy! Soon enough you’ll realize these insights aren’t going to find an easy home at Fordham, but we’ll be here to welcome you as you pursue them.

Update: Ironically, I mispelled “error”!

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5 Responses to “Public” Is Not “Government”

  1. sstotsky says:

    There’s more to “accountability” than meets the eye. First of all, why should local schools be accountable to the federal government at all? Most of the money supporting the local schools comes from local and state taxes. The feds pay only about 10% of the cost of public education in K-12. And how did teachers get to be made accountable to the USED, when teacher salaries are paid by local and state governments, and almost no federal money is used for teacher salaries.

    Accountability should be to parents and local taxpayers–and to some extent to the state legislature if it gives over 50% of the costs of the schools to local districts. But the feds aren’t entitled to accountability in the form of tests scores and data on all kids. It can expect some accountability for the money it gives for low-income kids via ESEA. But how did that 10% mean that tests must be given all kids and all kids, schools, and teachers are accountable to the USED?

  2. matthewladner says:

  3. sstotsky says:

    Readers are left to interpret the lack of rational argument as they wish. Who is accountable to whom for what with respect to our public schools?

    • matthewladner says:

      If what you mean by “accountability” is people being held responsible for the quality of their efforts, then there is no spoon, er I mean there is very little actual accountability in the American public school system.

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