Accountability in Public Education: An Overview and Analysis


Since a Nation at Risk was published in 1983, U.S. presidents, congress, governors, legislators, business people, parents and educators have been debating, passing laws, revising curriculum, raising graduation requirements, and testing students in hopes of improving the performance of the nation’s public school children. During this period of reform, school accountability became a popular term. Many reformers argue that improvement in public education cannot be expected unless schools and students are held accountable. A well-designed accountability program could be instrumental in ensuring that students leave Utah’s public education system with the basic skills necessary to participate successfully in society. If an accountability program is to be successful in Utah, all participants in the program and the public at large must understand the goals and objectives of the program and be confident that the costs (both fiscal and educational) are acceptable.

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