Friday, February 17, 2012

Evaluate This!

I like this deal on teacher evals. It’s not going to change the world, but it will help make the educational system more accountable. It got me to thinking: Why not expand the concept? You could develop an evaluation system for just about anyone.

How about your barber? He or she could be graded on speed of service, sophistication of banter and, of course, the quality of the hair cut.

How about your doctor? He or she could be evaluated first on availability when needed, on the degree to which they seem to care about your welfare, and, of course, skill in diagnosis and treatment.

How about your spouse? He or she could be graded on ….well, since my wife occasionally reads my blog, I think I’ll skip this one.

The point is that an evaluation system could be created for just about anyone. What makes the most sense though, is doing it for those professions that don’t have a quality check imposed by market forces. Remember that if your barber sucks, you find a new one.

This is often not so with those individuals whose jobs are funded by tax dollars. Thanks to union protections and political influence, they often function without the rigid “produce or perish” reality of the private sector.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not on some rant against public employees. Instead, I’m simply posing the following question: What’s wrong with having an evaluation system for public employees that weeds out the underperforming workers and rewards good ones?

I actually think this makes a lot of sense, especially in those areas where there are no effective checks and balances.

Consider ethics enforcers. There’s no check on them at all. That was true of PIC and it’s true of JCOPE now. They make up the rules as they go along. They do whatever they want. (See my last unpunctuated post.)

So what kind of evaluation system could we develop for JCOPE commissioners? How about this for a start:

25 percent of the grade will be on commitment to openness.

25 percent of the grade will be for personal adherence to the ethics (and parking) laws.

25 percent of the grade will be for commitment to principles of fairness.

25 percent of the grade will be for relevance (defined as addressing problems that actually have a bearing on maintaining ethics in Albany.)

I ask again: Why not implement an evaluation system for ethics enforcers?!?

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