For some things, measuring success is pretty obvious, and the metrics are nicely binary. e.g., “Did the boomer go BOOM after you pulled the trigger?”
In other things the metrics are either much harder to measure, or there are “good” reasons that the people measuring success don’t want a good metric; it would show they are failing miserably. Or, worse, they are no longer needed to “do the job.” Pick just about any political appointee and the example writes itself.
Anyway, the reason I ask is that I am, among other things, a teacher. Yeah, I know, taking one for the team here guys, leave me alone about that, will ‘ya? So in preparing for an upcoming interview, I started to think about what sorts of things I can ask them – that’s always a “fun” place for the interview to go, because it can’t be any trivia you can just read off the school web-site, but it also cannot be something that exposes glaring problems or hypocrisy in their system, because after they uncomfortably give you a non-answer you’ll not be offered a job. So it’s a balancing act.
So this question popped into my head, and I thought I’d bounce it off ya’ll to see what sort of trouble I might get myself into, but also maybe find some good follow-ups. I’ve got what I think it’s a pretty good measure of success, but it would likely open a huge can of zombie attack worms the size of anacondas, which I don’t want to deal with just yet. So, the question is:“Right now, ‘success’ in K-12 public schools is normally measured by a school with very simple things like graduation rates, graduation-on-time rates, college attendance rates, rates of earning 4-year degrees, etc. I can see why a school would do that. But throw all that thinking aside. If you could gather all the data the schools, business, the NSA, everyone, had about each cohort of students that pass through these halls, if you could comb all the data and point it down to one number 20 years from now, what would you want to measure to know how well you are succeeding? Incarceration rates? Mortality rates? Full employment rate? Percentage with median or higher income? Drug addiction rates? Welfare rates? “Happiness” rating? Number of Nobel Prizes received? Average credit score? Home ownership rates? Average debt load? Some sort of wonky hybrid thing? How would you measure success?”
I like this question because it strips bear a lot of the high-sounding but hollow “vision” and “mission” statements, and gets to the core of what they actually value, what their actual goals are. I’m sure they’ll flip it around and ask me what I think, but I think I can side-step that easily enough. (“That’s immaterial. You are the leader. You’re hiring someone to implement your vision, not take over. If you have a good metric, I’ll take the job if offered and do everything I can to help you get there.”)
If folks here are nice, I might even let people know what I think the best metric is.
So, thoughts, spitballs, observations, suggestions, or cogitations from the peanut gallery?