chapter  8
Accountability for What Matters: Using Postschool Outcomes to Build School and Community Renewal: Mary E. Morningstar, Gregory Knollman, Sarah Semon, and Jeannie Kleinhammer-Tramill
Pages 15

Two themes in Chapter One of this book pose important considerations for school to postschool linkages. These are, fi rst, moving from a closed system of accountability that is bounded by students’ K-12 school achievement to an open system that uses adult outcomes as an indicator of school improvement and school success, and, second, moving from a human capital agenda for education to a human capabilities agenda. As discussed in this chapter, these two themes are intertwined in that employment is a primary indicator for both postschool outcomes for students with disabilities and for achieving the human capital agenda, as explicated by Smith and Scoll (2005 ). This chapter describes the policy shift from school processes to student outcomes that characterized the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002 and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) amendments of 2004 and reviews what we currently know about postschool outcomes for students with disabilities. Our discussion of NCLB and IDEA as well as postschool outcomes for students with disabilities suggests that, while policy mechanisms for examining postschool outcomes exist for all students, they have largely been neglected as a source of information that schools might use to improve their work. Likewise, while studies of postschool outcomes specifi c to students with disabilities have provided a rich source of information, they have led to little progress in improving the lifestyle, employment, engagement, and full community participation that would characterize the full range of human capabilities for persons with disabilities. In the fi nal section of the chapter, we provide an overview of an emerging policy framework that holds promise for providing accountability for the success of all students in achieving positive postschool outcomes. States’ recent adoption of the College and Career Readiness Standards , or Common Core State Standards , has been accompanied by federal

investments in state systems for collecting longitudinal data, including postschool outcomes, for all students. We use these emergent policy trends together with what we know from existing studies of postschool outcomes for students with disabilities to provide recommendations for the types and uses of data needed to ensure rich and meaningful accountability for the success of all within the preK-12 system and beyond.