Last September the Washington County schools got the results of something called a "curriculum audit" that showed that in many areas, the system had taken good first steps, but hadn't followed through. Now the school board is asking more than 100 people to spend their spring and summer putting together an action plan to correct those problems.
Involving the public is a good thing; the system can't prosper without citizen support. The trick will be to avoid what's happened in the past on a variety of local issues, when citizen input was solicited, then disregarded at decision-making time.
The audit was designed to look at curriculum - those things that the system has decided students need to learn - and how student progress is measured. The audit found that after the "essential curriculum" was written several years ago, educators didn't take the next step to design mechanisms to measure how well the system was doing in getting across the material. Nor was the system providing teachers with help they needed to modify their teaching methods to get new material across successfully.