A Race against Time: The Crisis in Urban Schooling

By James G.Cibulka; William Lowe Boyd | Go to book overview

CHAPTER NINE

The Role of Sanctions for Improving Persistently Low-Performing Urban Schools

early findings of policy effects on teacher motivation in the Maryland accountability system

HEINRICH MINTROP

ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS DIFFER widely with respect to measurements (i.e., standards, performance assessments, indicators), expectations (i.e., top performance benchmarks, average performance, growth increments), incentives (i.e., rewards and sanctions, criteria for entry into and exit from probation), and interventions (i.e., oversight, regulation, assistance). For example, some accountability systems combine quantitative with qualitative performance measures and indicators, such as the city of San Francisco used to do (Goldstein, Kelemen, and Koski 1998), some are purely quantitative. Some have very high goals, such as in Virginia (Portner 1999), some peg their expectations to average student performance, such as in Texas (Sandham 2000). Some systems are tough on sanctions, such as in the city of Chicago (Chicago Public Schools 1997; Wong et al. 1997), while others strongly emphasize support for teachers, such as in New York (Ascher, Ikeda, and Fruchter 1997). Some identify rock-bottom performers as probationary schools, such as in Maryland, while others target growth deficits on all performance levels, such as in Kentucky (Guskey 1994; Petrosko 1996).

These policy-design differences will slant educators' responses to accountability and the imposition of sanctions (Elmore, Abelmann, and

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