‘Occasional Papers’ Challenges Politics of Accountability

“Educators are not the enemy.”
That’s the message of the latest issue of Bank Street’s Occasional Papers, according to guest co-editor Gail Boldt. This issue, the 27th published, and the second to be distributed exclusively online, tackles the subject of teacher accountability. In it, Boldt and her co-editor Bill Ayers hope to show that a tunnel-vision focus on “holding teachers accountable” for students’ ability to meet standardized benchmarks has distinct consequences for schools, students, and the country.
On the Accountability Movement
In Occasional Papers #27, Editor and former Bank Street faculty member Jonathan Silin—an accomplished author in his own right—worked with the guest editors to assemble works from leading educators and advocates who hope to change the prevailing dialogue about teacher accountability in America’s schools.
Together, the current issue’s 14 writers argue in favor of a more complete, enriching learning experience than what is proposed by those who favor privatization, standardized tests, and swift layoffs over professional development and support.
For example, a piece from educator and former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch calls out the series of questionable assumptions girding the accountability movement. And Professors Greg Dimitriadis and Marc Lamont Hill, of SUNY Buffalo and Teachers College, respectively, explore how a strand of anti-intellectualism in national discourse works against empowering teachers to truly educate. For them, the remedy is to collectively focus on “a central project—rethinking the nature of intellectual work today for all of us in education.”
Written frankly, admitting frustration, and allowing a sense of humor, the essays in Occasional Papers comprise

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