Columnist Dan Walters wrote a great piece this past week outlining what’s at stake as state officials make decisions on how to hold schools accountable.

Accountability Battle Looms

For the past decade, everyone from state regulators to parents to realtors have looked to the State of California’s Academic Performance Index (API) to assess how schools are doing. With the transition to a new state testing system, California hasn’t calculated nor released an API score for schools for the past two years, and it looks like there won’t be an API this year, either.

But what will come next?

For years, the API has provided California families with one measure of quality that they could use to compare public schools in their community and across the state. While the API was certainly not perfect, it was the most useful measure available for families to gauge how schools were doing in preparing students forstudents_matter_api_testing grade-level work. Without this kind of easy-to-understand measure, many families will be left in the dark about the quality of the schools in their community. Unfortunately, many powerful entities in Sacramento aren’t that interested in making sure families have this critical information. There’s a lot of discussion about using multiple measures for evaluating schools, which is great for informing state leaders and educators. But don’t lose sight of the kind of easy-to-understand data that families need.

All schools are not equal. Parents know that. So let’s make sure that the state makes it as clear and simple as possible how each of our schools is actually doing.

From the Sacramento Bee

Rating California schools is a big battle (en Español)

by Dan Walters