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Gene V. Glass is one of our most distinguished education researchers. Fortunately for the rest of us, he blogs from time to time about the lunacy of our era of education “reform.”
In this post, he explains what he calls “management by pinheads.” Quite simply, it is the effort to improve education by setting numerical goals. Such a strategy invites data manipulation, gaming the system, and cheating. He notes that Beverly Hall recently died of breast cancer. She had an illustrious career, but it all came crashing down because of a massive cheating scandal in Atlanta, where she was superintendent. She prided herself on being a “Dara driven decision-maker,” but it was this approach that created a climate where subordinates–administrators and teachers–cheated to produce the data she wanted.
Now Glass notes that the Scottsdale, Arizona, school board has set a menu of numerical targets for its superintendent. It is an invitation to game the system, he says. Campbell’s Law rules.