In the name of good government, the Idaho Legislature’s tiny Office of Performance Evaluations continues to get notice for its work.
OPE Director Rakesh Mohan’s essay on how to make complex reports interesting and readable was published this month by BetterEvaluation, an international group aimed at improving evaluation practice and theory.
In his April 11 piece, Mohan describes using charts, interactive web-based tools and quotations from survey respondents on recent reports regarding Department of Health & Welfare money management, business tax policy, state employee compensation and policy, workforce issues affecting K-12 teachers and equity in higher education funding.
In February 2013, I wrote about how the report on teachers prompted criticism in the Legislature from legislative advocates of the “Students Come First” reforms repealed by voters in November 2012.
Mohan was defended by legislative leaders including House Speaker Scott Bedke and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Maxine Bell. In his essay, he explains the use of teacher interviews:
“We believed that our report would not be seen as credible work if we did not include stakeholder perspectives in our report, so we surveyed teachers, principals and school district superintendents to get their perspectives on workforce issues affecting them. As expected, our report was widely read and used primarily because of the stakeholder perspectives brought to light by the survey. However, we also had to face some unexpected consequences as reflected in this media story which was front page of the Idaho Statesman.”
Now, a lesson on “goo-goos.”
Before the 1912 invention of the Goo Goo Cluster and the 1986 formation of the Goo Goo Dolls there were “goo-goos” in New York City — good government advocates who fought the corruption of Tammany Hall. The reform movement spread, improving lives in urban America and bettering the business environment.
The term was coined as a slur by the corrupt establishment and is still used derisively in some quarters. I find the pejorative use a head-scratcher. Who doesn’t want effective and efficient government?