Where are the current holes in accountability in our district?
- Customer Satisfaction Assessment - The district is not asking students, parents, and citizens to discuss their level of satisfaction in a way these customers of our district feel free to share. There are parents who will not share problems because of fear of retribution. I have personally spoken with some of them. Earlier this summer, I asked the board and superintendent to routinely ask students, parents, and citizens how things are going. The only answer I received was that no one should be afraid to say anything. When I suggested a satisfaction survey, the response was that those usually just draw negative responses. While this may be true in part, we are choosing to throw the baby out with the bath water and ignore the wisdom of our customers.
- Follow-Up on Action Items - After the board takes action on an item, there is little talk of follow-up. It is natural to assume that what has been decided will be followed through, but this is often not the case. When I recently brought an issue before a school board member, this member was surprised to hear that what had been told to the board actually was not happening across the district. When I asked how the board knows whether what they are told is happening is actually happening, the response was that they assume it is happening unless they get complaints.
- Leadership Development and Accountability – In nearly every workplace in our country, employees are accountable for their actions. In service-related fields, every employee is accountable to both customers and management. Search on “accountability in education” on the web, and you will find thousands of articles about No Child Left Behind, and basing accountability on test scores, but there is more to it. Just as we desire the education of our children to be for the whole child, accountability for our leaders should be more than test scores. District leaders (district administration and principals) need accountability and support in other areas as well. How unified are their teams? How well are issues resolved? What are their strengths? What tools do they need to grow as leaders? Are they always walking in integrity?