Accountability versus Compliance

I attended the Texas Association of School Administrator’s Spring Conference this past week. The focus of the conference was on accountability. I was privileged to hear several presentations by prominent leaders in the area of accountability. I would like to share some thoughts with you.

First, there was a distinction made between compliance and accountability. Compliance can be looked at as the criteria that schools are judged by from the state and/or federal level. These criteria usually involve numbers and may often be compared with a passing rate on a high stakes test established by the state or by the federal government.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with compliance indicators, when the entire accountability system is driven by compliance indicators, then criteria that are important to local communities are eliminated.

A true accountability picture of the quality of education provided by a school or district can only be established by taking into account items that are valued at the local level. Each community should have the opportunity and freedom to let their local school districts know what matters most to them. Only with this type of local input, can we truly have an accountability system that means something to our two primary partners in education: students and parents.

As a parent of a 6th grade student and a 9th grade student, I do want to know how my children are progressing in their education; however, I do not want the quality of their education to be judged by a single test score on a single day of the school year. This might be one part of an overall accountability system; however, it should not be the beginning and the end of the system.

I believe that our challenge as a school district and as a community is to set a course, do what’s right, and make the the compliance part fit within that framework. With regard to our students, this is the path that we have pursued over the last several years. Regardless of the impact on compliance indicators, we have purposefully chosen to do what is in the best interest of the students. We will continue to put the students as the primary focus in making decisions.

What do you think are the most important things that EISD should be doing? I would love to hear from parents/guardians, grandparents, community members, business leaders, and anyone else that would like to participate. Email me your thoughts, comments, questions, or concerns at


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