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Discussion – Creating a New Normal: Post-Covid Assessment and Accountability Possibilities

If you missed it, you can view a recording here!

The cancellation of end-of-year standardized testing in 2020 and concerns about testing in 2021 raise questions about the future of assessment and accountability in a post-Covid “new normal.” Does it make sense to maintain the current assessment and accountability system given the shocks to K–12 education from recent health and economic crises? Or should policymakers seize this moment to take a very different tack? What big changes should be on the table, and how could they affect student learning and equity? Should we think more broadly about what a good school is, and honor different ways that schools can demonstrate excellence beyond assessments?

Join Bluum and Public Impact for a virtual debate among leading national experts on K–12 accountability. Terry Ryan, Bluum’s CEO, will offer a welcome and introduction. Derrell Bradford, executive vice president of 50CAN, will moderate a spirited conversation with Susie Miller Carello, executive director of the SUNY Charter School Institute; Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute; and Mike Petrilli, president of The Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Bryan Hassel, co-president of Public Impact, will recap the big takeaways.


Derrell Bradford

Derrell Bradford is the executive vice president of 50CAN: The 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now, and the executive director of its New York branch, NYCAN, with more than seventeen years working in education reform policy and advocacy. In his role, Derrell trains and recruits local leaders across the country to serve as executive directors of state CANs, advocacy fellows, and citizen advocates. He leads the National Voices fellowship which focuses on education policy, media, and political collaboration, and is a member of the organization’s executive team.

Derrell previously served as the executive director at Better Education for Kids. At B4K Derrell worked to secure passage of the tenure reform legislation TEACH NJ. B4K’s advocacy also led to electoral victories for reform-minded candidates across the state. Prior to B4K, Derrell spent nine years with New Jersey’s Excellent Education for Everyone (E3) as director of communications and then executive director. While there he also served on the state’s Educator Effectiveness Task Force.

Derrell frequently contributes to education debates in print, digital, radio and TV media. Derrell is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (Pahara Fall 2016) and serves on several boards including The National Association of Charter School Authorizers Advisory Board and the PIE Network. He was the founding board chair of EdBuild, a member of the editorial advisory board at The Line, and a senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. A native of Baltimore, Derrell attended the St. Paul’s School for Boys and the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English.


Meet the Presenters

Susan Miller Carello

Susan Miller Carello serves as Executive Director of the State University of New York’s Charter Schools Institute, a position she has held since 2010. Under her leadership, the number of SUNY authorized charter schools across New York expanded from 72 to 212 active charter schools with approved enrollment of 113,000. Eighty percent of students choosing SUNY authorized charters come from economically disadvantaged settings. Those students and over 6,000 very dedicated teachers produce high-quality academic outcomes. Ninety-one percent of SUNY authorized charters outperform their districts of location in mathematics and 88% outperform in English language arts. Under Susan’s leadership, the Institute also secured the first operational and philanthropy-based resource increases since its founding in in 1999. SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute receives national and international recognition as the mightiest authorizing team in the land.

Before arriving at the Institute, Susan was founder and CEO of Smart Hounds Solutions, LLC. She founded the National Association of Charter School Authorizer’s (NACSA) first research division serving as their first Vice President for Research and Evaluation and led NACSA’s research, evaluation and accountability initiatives as well as designed NACSA’s first national data project on authorizer practices. In addition, Susan authored NACSA’s first “State of Charter School Authorizing” report in 2008. Ms. Miller Carello is also the former Associate Commissioner of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where she served on the Commissioner’s Cabinet and headed up Massachusetts’ school accountability and charter authorizing work.

Susan also served as a visiting lecturer at Columbia University and Butler University and was Vice-President of the Modern Red Schoolhouse at the Hudson Institute. A proud native Hoosier, Susan was a founding staff member at Indian Creek Discovery Science and Technology Magnet School in Indianapolis, a national blue-ribbon award winner; and in 1990, she was recognized with the Indiana’s Excellence in Education Award. A lifelong supporter of education reform, Miller Carello was the founding board chair at True North Troy Preparatory Charter School in Troy, New York.

Miller Carello holds a B.S. and M.S. from Indiana University as well as an Ed.M. from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education, where she has completed all doctoral coursework in Administration, Planning and Social Policy and was awarded the 1999 Edward J. Meade, Jr. Fellowship.

Rick Hess

Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on K–12 and higher education issues. He is the author of Education Week’s popular blog “Rick Hess Straight Up,” is a regular contributor to Forbes and The Hill, and serves as the executive editor of Education Next.

As an educator, political scientist, and author, Dr. Hess has published in scholarly outlets, such as American Politics Quarterly, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Teachers College Record, and Urban Affairs Review. His work has also appeared in popular outlets including The Atlantic, National Affairs, National Review, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

His books include “Letters to a Young Education Reformer” (Harvard Education Press, 2017), “The Cage-Busting Teacher” (Harvard Education Press, 2015), “Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age” (Corwin, 2014), “Cage-Busting Leadership” (Harvard Education Press, 2013), “The Same Thing Over and Over” (Harvard University Press, 2010), “Education Unbound” (ASCD, 2010), “Common Sense School Reform” (St. Martin’s Press Griffin, 2004), “Revolution at the Margins” (Brookings Institution Press, 2002), and “Spinning Wheels” (Brookings Institution Press, 1998). Dr. Hess has also edited influential books on the Common Coreentrepreneurship in educationeducation philanthropy, the impact of education research, and the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Michael Petrilli

Mike Petrilli is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, executive editor of Education Next, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Education Commission of the States. An award-winning writer, he is the author of The Diverse Schools Dilemma, editor of Education for Upward Mobility, and co-editor of How to Educate an American. Petrilli has published opinion pieces in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalBloomberg View, and Slate, and appears frequently on television and radio. Petrilli helped to create the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, the Policy Innovators in Education Network, and, long, long ago, Young Education Professionals. He serves on the advisory boards of the Association of American Educators, MDRC, and National Association of Charter School Authorizers. He lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland..


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