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Teacher Accountability

It seems to me that teachers are accountable to almost everyone nowadays. We’re accountable to the state, the Federal Government, the Department of Education, the NCLB Act, Annual Yearly Progress reports, the local school district, and the principal and administrative board where we teach. In my opinion, all of this accountability has done nothing to improve the state of education over the last twenty years. In keeping with this premise, Moller (2008) tells us that, “new educational accountability has been more about regulation and performance than educational improvement” (p. 38).

I’m lucky in that the topic I teach is not yet subject to state or federally mandated regulations. In teaching computer skills to middle and high school students, I am able to develop my own curriculum based on what I feel is important for them to learn. Nonetheless, I see how these regulations affect the teachers I work with. Their hands are tied when it comes to vamping up their lessons plans. They have to follow previously mandated curriculum, and are allowed little flexibility in the way they teach their students.

If accountability “means having to answer for one’s actions” (Moller, 2008, p. 39), then teachers should only be held accountable by their students and themselves. The students suffer from the government regulations currently in place because they are all judged by the same standards. As teachers, we know that every student is different. They require different methods, stimuli, and lesson plans if they are to go on to succeed in the world outside of academia. Forcing teachers to stick to the rulebook negates creativity in the classroom, and often leaves the student without the knowledge he or she needs to address their future.

I sincerely believe that we, as teachers, should be accountable to our students, and perhaps their parents, as we work together to produce a morally responsible, educated young adult. After all, our goal should be to help our students find their way in a world fraught with difficulty. Limiting their education to only the standards mandated by the government limits their possibilities, and denies their individuality. Accountability regulations must be examined and revised if the students of today are going to be successful as adults in the world of tomorrow.


Moller, J. (2008). School leadership in an age of accountability: Tensions between managerial and professional accountability. Springer Science + Business Media B.V. , 37-46.