"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

No Child Left Behind? How About "No Constituent Left Behind"?

This a clever take on the politicians' rantings and ravings on assessing teachers based on student scores. You would think poor scores would automatically mean poor teachers. That's what all the politicians tell us, right? They don't advance the conversation to consider individual cases, such as a teacher having a group of learning challenged students, or students whose first language is not English, or students who enter the classroom seriously under performing.

But why be bothered with those pesky issues that make students different than other students, let's go on the premise we can measure the effectiveness of teachers based on student assessments; it's all about the DATA. What should be acceptable to solely measure the effectiveness of teachers should work for other professions....right?

Welcome to a blog about measuring the effectiveness of...politicians....based on the same type of criteria for teachers. From Persephone Magazine:


My fellow Americans, and friends from other countries who have to deal with us, we are facing a national crisis. Our politicians are failing us while sucking the taxpayers dry, and it’s time we did something about it. I’m proposing new legislation on behalf of all Americans: No Constituent Left Behind.

The overarching goal of NCLB² (Political Boogaloo) will be for all elected officials to attain and maintain 100% approval ratings in order to keep their offices, by 2024. Politicians are elected to do a job, as measured by the satisfaction of their constituents. It’s time we forced them to break away from the Republican and Democratic unions and hold them accountable for their job performance, just like hard-working Americans in the private sector. If a customer service rep only pleased 40% of the people who asked for help, would that customer service rep be able to keep his/her job? Of course not!

We’ll need to collect copious amounts of data in order to prove or disprove the effectiveness of NCLB², so I propose a three-tiered plan. Triangulated data is the best kind, and since I have three collection sources it means everything I infer from the results are facts. I believe this is called “political science.”

1. Weekly high stakes constituent polling, paid for by each elected official. In addition to satisfaction levels about the candidate in question, constituents will also be polled on their quality of life. Officials with constituents who are living in poverty, lack adequate services and resources or just don’t like him/her will be marked as failing.

2. Monthly standardized tests for all elected politicians covering U.S. history, civics, international law, current events, census data, economics and ten random questions from the U.S. citizenship exam. To ensure fairness, these tests will be graded by political figures from other countries. All costs, including the cost of reporting the results to the public, will be paid by the elected officials.

3. Transparent morality monitoring. Since being a good politician means more than passing laws and kissing babies, we’ll need the ability to check in on our elected officials 24/7. To make sure we have all the information we need, this monitoring will include drug and alcohol testing, camera surveillance, GPS monitoring and regular reporting of each official’s Internet history. This, also, will be paid for by each elected official.

Refusal to comply with any of these regulations will mean all federal and local tax dollars marked for that elected official’s constituency will be redirected to those officials who comply, and the non-compliant official will be immediately fired.

All federal and local tax dollar distribution will depend on the results of these data collection measures, and how each elected official improves from one data collection period to another. For an official to make adequate progress, they must improve in each category. Failure to improve in one area means failure overall, and sanctions will still be enacted. Which will be paid for by the elected official.

The sanctions will be as follows:

1. When a politician fails to make adequate progress the first time, he or she will be required to make themselves available to each individual constituent to answer questions and explain their action plan for improvement. At this state, 10% of all federal and local tax dollars will be redirected to better performing politicians.

2. The second failure to meet expectations will result in the elected official paying each individual constituent $10 from their own pocket, as well as offering the face time mentioned above. At this stage, the official is considered under political probation.

3. The third failure will result in immediate termination and replacement. In the event a replacement can’t be found through the election process, a pool of recent college graduates from a program called “Govern for America” will be called into service.

We’ve let these mediocre officials (many of whom do not come from top-tier schools) lead us face-first into petty bickering matches, a debt ceiling and an never ending financial crisis. It’s time we stood up and demand our elected officials know what they’re doing. The only way to measure that is to make sure they can make 100% of the people the represent happy 100% of the time. Officials who fail even one of the people they represent are a blight on our national landscape.


Well, what's good for goose (teachers) should be good for the gander (politicians), right?

If all children are to be 100% proficient by 2014 according to NCLB mandates, the mandates from NCLB² for the politicians should also be reachable:

The overarching goal of NCLB² (Political Boogaloo) will be for all elected officials to attain and maintain 100% approval ratings in order to keep their offices, by 2024.

Do you think the politicians will be able to reach such a goal? If they don't, should we fire them all and start all over with a new crop? Teacher effectiveness ratings based on student assessment scores is the protocol for many politicians, so this same protocol based on constituent assessments should be used for politicians' effectiveness rating as well.

I love this idea!

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