Lead. Learn. Change.

John Tanner - Accountability is About the Future

Episode Summary

Brave-ed.com (formerly TestSense.com) founder John Tanner reframes the idea of accountability. John’s refreshing and pragmatic approach focuses on the contrast between forward-facing accountability and the imposed accountability processes in place today, in virtually all schools. Hopes and dreams will trump test scores and other traditional data if student benefit serves as the focal point of a true accountability structure. At the end of the episode John reflects on the impact made by his third grade teacher, Mrs. Carlisle. Check out the show notes for more details.

Episode Notes

Show Notes

From one career intention to another (3:50)

The pervasive but poorly supported failure narrative (4:00)

Working in the standardized testing world and a shift in thinking (4:30)

Who is at fault? (4:50)

What? No ideas for an alternative? (6:00)

Testing and accountability as commensurate with one another (6:35)

Test-based accountability is not the source of the problem (6:50)

Schools deserve an appropriate accountability system (7:30)

Effective organizations use forward-facing accountability mechanisms (8:30)

Forward-facing issues fail to be emphasized in schools (9:20)

Is backward-facing accountability beneficial? (9:40)

Is backward-facing accountability even possible? (10:45)

Destined or expected to repeat the past, year after year (11:40)

Are schools’ accountability practices truly backward-facing? (12:30)

The pitfalls of backward-facing accountability (13:20)

The positives embedded in accountability (13:55)

Imposed accountability (14:35)

Operating in, and ignoring, a context of ongoing change (16:40)

Identifying effectiveness as a prerequisite for accountability (17:25)

Research and logic do not support A-F grading of schools (18:30)

Both effective and ineffective schools do exist (19:30)

Student benefit at the center of school practices (21:30)

Accomplishment vs. measurement (22:20)

Hopes and dreams (23:20)

Hopes and dreams and the level of “mission” (24:00)

Hopes and dreams for a higher test score? (25:20)

Higher test scores or “getting ready for life?” (26:20)

Parents need to have meaningful conversations about their children (31:25)

Mission vs. mission statement (32:20)

For-profits and non-profits have a handful of missions (33:30)

Public schools tend have more than two dozen missions (33:55)

The biggest issue facing public schools today (35:20)

Next steps for TestSense (37:05)

True accountability’s potential as a national movement (37:35)

Legislative solution or legislative support? (38:00)

Mrs. Carlisle – a great teacher (40:25)

Growing up with a disability and Mrs. Carlisle’s wisdom (40:35)

Accountability processes and frameworks do not need to be unwieldy (42:20)


Podcast cover art for Lead. Learn. Change. is a view from Brunnkogel (mountaintop) over the mountains of the Salzkammergut in Austria, courtesy of photographer Simon Berger, published on www.unsplash.com.

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Music for Lead. Learn. Change. is Sweet Adrenaline by Delicate Beats

Podcast cover art is a view from Brunnkogel (mountaintop) over the mountains of the Salzkammergut in Austria, courtesy of photographer Simon Berger, published on www.unsplash.com.

Professional Association of Georgia Educators:  www.pageinc.org

David’s LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-w-reynolds-5a5b0a36/

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