Saturday, May 13, 2017

Nothing Succeeds Like Success Metrics

"Nothing succeeds like success"--Sir Arthur Helps, 1868

"No, fuck you, nothing succeeds like Success Metrics(TM)"--me, 2017

Portland. As you well know, I think this place is awesome. But there are many ways it is also not awesome. Many of those ways are related to local governance. The city's use of neighborhood associations, based on San Francisco's structure, adopted back in the 1970s and meant to provide a touch point between the city and its residents might be outdated*.

The city's public school system, Portland Public Schools, has a board elected at large but serving as a representative from one of 7 districts across the city. Each board member represents the city at large; this design is meant to ensure that the board includes white people from a variety of upscale neighborhoods.

It's laudable to want this geographic distribution, but it's aggravating that people from outside my district (district 4) get to pick the white person (it's not just white guys) from my district who sits on the board. Yes, I get to do the same for theirs but still, it feels wrong (and feelings trump thinking when they're my feelings).

Which is a long way of discussing the campaign mailer I received on behalf of a candidate (my ballot was returned a week ago and I've already gotten a text message confirming that it's been received). Among the ideas espoused by the candidate is something called "success metrics."

Finally someone is talking about metrics. Schools have long ignored the importance of metrics and, even worse, they typically don't care about success. By embracing success and metrics in the form of success metrics, they would be bringing Portland Public Schools into the 19th century.

I'm really sad that they never adopted my patented (patent pending) G.R.A.D.E. system of success metrics:

    G: Gradated
    R: Representation of
    A: Academic
    D: Development
    E: Experienced

By issuing G.R.A.D.E., schools will be able to monitor a student's success and communicate that to his/her parents. The system costs a mere $1.77 per student per year, with a $1,200 per school set-up charge. Please make checks payable to me.

* It uses a pre-internet approach where geographic proximity makes communication faster and easier. The city could do more with existing resources if a single office used social and traditional media to communicate and enhanced that with resources to ensure that minority groups, like the city's Cambodian or Russian communities, were being served. But I'm not going to say anything about that since, as a former Chair of a neighborhood association, I don't want it to become a whole thing.

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