On Wednesday, I attended the presentation of the district’s Academy program for the Estancia zone. There was some exuberance in the room, with one presenter offering that he hoped students would be “bursting with excitement” to get into the program. The words “exciting” and “amazing” were also heard.
From what I saw, the program looks like a step in the right direction, but there is one major problem: It lacks any sort of accountability. Specifically, it lacks any sort of beginning benchmarks so that progress can be measured. It lacks specific, achievable goals and it lacks oversight. These concerns can be summed up in the answers to these three questions:
1) What is the specific data or information that will be used to determine whether the Academy program is succeeding or failing?
2) How often will program assessments occur?
3) Who will be conducting the assessments?
As stewards of local education and as stewards of taxpayer dollars, these are the questions that the school board should be asking. Without these answers, the Academy program is just more education spaghetti being thrown against the wall to see if it sticks.