Accountability Systems: Statewide, Federal and Local

Adopted in August 2016 – Education Commission

California State PTA believes that the primary goal of any accountability system is improved learning for every student. An effective accountability system should incorporate multiple measures, promote continuous improvement, rely on shared responsibility and coordination among all participants and governing bodies, and provide transparency and clarity.

Multiple Measures
California State PTA believes an accountability system should contain multiple measures which give a more
complete picture of a school’s/school district’s areas of strength, areas of weakness and areas of need. This
should be more than a single number. Such a system should include measurement of both performance and growth with established expectations for progress. Schools and school districts should be held directly accountable for:

  • students’ academic progress toward college and career readiness (including as measured by standardized test scores), as well as other student outcomes;
  • conditions that support equal access, student engagement, family engagement, positive school climate, civic participation, quality teaching, and capacity building; and
  • eliminating achievement and opportunity gaps as an explicit objective and specific strategies and resources
    for accomplishing that.

Continuous Improvement
California State PTA believes an accountability system must reinforce state and local commitments to continuous improvement; therefore, it should include:

  • regular evaluation of progress using reliable data;
  • interventions, strategies, and supports that lead toward improved teaching and increased learning and student success;
  • capacity-building at all levels of the system; and
  • procedures that lead to evaluation and improvement of the accountability system itself so that it grows more effective and meaningful over time.

Shared Responsibility
Accountability rests on the conviction that improving student learning is a responsibility shared by all
participants in the education system, including individuals (e.g. students, parents and families,
teachers) and organizations (e.g., schools, school districts, policy-making bodies), and also by the public
and all levels of government; therefore, California State

PTA believes that:

  1. State and federal accountability systems should be aligned in their data requirements, intervention
    strategies, and other features in order to promote coordination, efficiency of effort, and clarity of purpose;
  2. Local education agencies should be able to tailor their strategies to local needs and circumstances framed in the context of a set of state/national expectations that give local communities a broader societal context for determining their progress and success;
  3. The State of California bears responsibility for creating the conditions that make it possible for schools and
    school districts to accomplish the goals of the accountability system. In fact, the California Constitution requires the legislature to “provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be kept up and supported in each district;”
  4. The State of California has the responsibility to effectively oversee and manage data collection and reporting used in the accountability system to inform policy decisions and to improve on a continuous basis the conditions under which schools operate; and
  5. The State of California has the responsibility to provide schools sufficient funding and resources to
    achieve the goals set in the accountability system.

Transparency and Clarity
California State PTA believes that an accountability system must provide both transparency and clarity;
therefore, it should incorporate:

  1. Clear, meaningful communication of local and statewide accountability elements to all stakeholders and the public;
  2. A shared and commonly understood basis for measurement of all components of the accountability system;
  3. Transparency related to opportunity and achievement gaps;
  4. Transparency in results, progress measures and steps toward intervention; and
  5. Communication about the accountability system in languages and terminology that are understandable to students, families, and the public.

California State PTA believes that, across every facet of an effective accountability system, state and local leaders must both affirm and support the critical roles that parents play in improving student learning. Parents are their child’s first teachers, advocates for their child within the education system, supporters of their local schools, and concerned and highly-interested citizens who play a vital role in determining important school improvement strategies.

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