Thanks goes to Everyone At the Table for tweeting out a link to this important policy report from Helen Ladd. This is brave and pertinent perspective for policymakers on education.
[I]ndividual schools . . . should be held accountable, but only for things that are under their control. Specifically, they should be held accountable for the internal policies and practices that help to produce a far broader set of educational outcomes than student achievement alone as measured by test scores. Schools might be held accountable, for example, for providing a safe and supportive school environment and a climate that promotes respect among children and teachers; for tracking the individual developmental needs of all the children they serve and for implementing strategies to address those needs; and for delivering the curriculum in a coherent manner that engages students as partners in the learning process and appropriately pushes them all to the limits of their abilities. [Bold added]
–Helen F. Ladd, Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence
Ladd provides a number of great points in her paper worth diving deeper into, but for the moment I wanted to highlight the saliency of her policy recommendations to our model of schools as ecosystems. The urge to hold our schools accountable not simply for student value-added, but more critically for providing safe and positive environments and for delivering coherent curriculum, is a point I have made here before, and will continue to make in the future.