To Measure…

… is to know. I think Einstein, the physics guy not the bagel guy, said that.

Somebody else, no idea who, said: if it can be measured, it can be managed.

There you have it. Measurement, the key to the universe. And lucky for the wonderful world of public education here in Colorado, we have now entered “a new era in student academic data.” We can now measure the heck out of the progress (or lack thereof) that our public school students make on high-stakes tests. Way more better, in fact, than any other state. You can read all about this modest assertion here. Or not, as you prefer.

My take, what it’s worth: meet the new era, same as the old era.

There is never any shortage of experts ready, usually for a relatively princely sum plus handsome benefits, to measure and to manage. In education this usually means an office or cubicle or something but, whatever it is, it’s located nowhere near any of those pesky real-live students. Unless maybe they’re grad students, themselves beavering away on an advanced degree in Measuring and Managing.

And, of course, this reliance on the Measuring and Managerial Class–to shout instructions to all of us dopes with the picks and shovels– extends even further up the road.

From VDH’s latest:

A well educated technocracy—we see such figures in the emblematic Timothy Geithner, Eric Holder, or Barack Obama himself —have most of their lives served in government, largely regulating, overseeing, organizing, auditing, and sermonizing far more productive and capable others. One of the worst flaws of this species of utopian technocrat is the notion that he wishes to curtail in others the very things he wishes to enjoy without constraint himself.

Thus we sense that a Geithner does not wish to pay the taxes he hikes on others. A Holder wants to destroy through subpoena and litigation the Bush lawyers, but pleaded once for mercy for his own shenanigans involving the crooked Clinton pardons. And Obama lectures about the inequality of wealth and the burdens of racism while his wife’s salary climbed as his political influence grew. Meanwhile his own rarified tastes translated into a shady transaction with Tony Rezco to help to score a stately home and expansive yard—while attending a Trinity Church that radiated racial venom from a charlatan preacher who ended up in a mansion on a golf course.

Jeremiah of the Jeremiads, there in his mansion on the golf course. Emblematic to the max, don’t you think?  No idea how you’d measure that.

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One response to “To Measure…

  1. Measure & Mange quote: maybe Tom DeMarco, in Managing Software Projects, 1982?

    http://www-pu.informatik.uni-tuebingen.de/users/klaeren/sprueche/420.htm

    It’s about benchmarking, and I think the saying has been around a long time.

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