Parents in Los Angeles are getting some new transparency about their children’s schools this week. The Los Angeles Times recently released the names of 6,000 elementary teachers and data showing how much each teacher’s students improved on standardized tests.
The strong message is that public schools and their teachers should be accountable to parents and other taxpayers. That’s a stark contrast to the status quo, in which education policy is most responsive to decisions of those who hold the government purse strings and the power of union collective bargaining.
The L.A. Times’ release of the evaluation data has education unions fuming. Their ostensible criticism is that the method used to compare the scores is questionable. But their historical reluctance to embrace accountability to parents belies other motives.
Measures like those in L.A. that increase transparency and accountability to parents are positive developments and welcome alternatives to initiatives like the national standards that the Obama administration is promoting. With hardly any public debate, states are signing on to the plan that will make schools more accountable to bureaucrats in Washington, and decrease their responsiveness to the parents whose children they teach.