Hollywood films are full of examples of teachers fighting the system for the good of their students. Such is life in the movies.

Research shows that effective education does indeed need more local power and better accountability, but it needs to be system-wide, not just the one-off heroes idolized on the big screen.

In We don’t need another hero!, Dr. Dawn Henwood examines how educational policy makers are implementing systemic changes that stimulate creative, effective teaching. She points out that elsewhere they are finding innovative ways to empower local schools and make educators accountable for results. At the same time, they’re strengthening the authority of those educators as well as drawing on the energy of community engagement.

It has been said over and over that the more the public knows, the better our schools will become. In a 2007 report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) found a direct link between a country’s achievement on the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) and the publication of performance results at the school level. The performance improvement was significant even when socio-economic and demographic variables were considered. In We don’t need another hero!, Henwood uses Edmonton Public Schools as an example of a system that uses public accountability and school choice to improve student performance across the system.

To read the complete Commentary, click here.

Henwood has been a writing educator for 11 years, seven of which she spent as a university professor. Since 2006, she has worked full-time as a consultant specializing in writing education, educational research, and curriculum development. Through Watchword Educational Consulting, Inc., she has created learning materials for K-12, post-secondary, and adult learners.