Schools trying to hit moving target

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 When referencing school district accountability data, or annual education profile information released by secondary sources such as Kentucky youth Advocates (https://kyyouth.org), it is imperative to consider the changing nature of public school accountability models.

Specifically, let’s explore why and to what degree school accountability models have evolved in recent years past.

Enacted federal legislation, such as the No Child Left Behind Act, as well the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), has led to significant changes in how state education agencies must design and implement new accountability models.

During my 12-year tenure as a public education professional, Kentucky has implemented three very distinct models of school accountability.  Within the same time span, Kentucky has experienced significant changes in educational leadership through appointing three different commissioners of education, each embracing their own philosophy, priorities and initiatives. 

These factors, combined with ongoing revision and adoption of new standards of curricula, and corresponding alignment of assessment measures, have left students, teachers, and administrators with a singular constant to contend with: the state of perpetual change.

Now while the concept of change is not necessarily a bad one since it complements the nature of the world in which we live and often fosters much-needed innovation, change in the world of educational accountability can be detrimental if performance objectives and targets continue to rapidly shift within a relatively short time span. Unfortunately, administrators, teachers, and students do not always have sufficient time to adapt to new models and showcase their full potential.

In essence, they’re continually having to adjust their aim at moving targets.  

My experiences as a previous science teacher at duPont Manual High School, arguably the highest performing public high school in the state of Kentucky, as well as the former principal of Emma B. Ward Elementary School, one of the nation’s most rapidly improved public elementary schools, and presently as the Director of Curriculum and Assessment for Anderson County Schools, have led me to attest to the following truths about the quality of public education in Anderson County.

Anderson County schools are filled with the most caring, passionate professionals in the field of education. They work tirelessly to meet the social and academic needs of our amazing students. 

Teachers, support staff, and administration work hand-in-hand as they make countless personal and professional sacrifices for the benefit of our students and community.

Our students and children are and will continue to be the focus and pride of our community. Ultimately, they are our future and we will continue to invest in each of them for the hope of a brighter tomorrow. We honor our pledge to serve them and their families in preparation of the challenging and competitive world facing them ahead. We welcome all support in our journey to reach excellence.

Regardless of what additional changes or models come our way, we will not waver in our promise of a quality education for every child in Anderson County Schools.  We know we’re not perfect, though we’re the perfect entity for the job.


Bobby Murphy is Director of Curriculum and Assessment for Anderson County Schools.