Consider this: The Legislature with some regularity issues mandates (some 70 on the state Board of Education), imposes standards, requires assessments, and describes a system of accountability, with respect to the public schools and the public agencies charged with managing and administering them. Chapters 18 and 18A of the State's Code are laden with such enactments.
Yet, the Legislature has not undertaken to determine whether its own mandates, standards, assessments, and accountability measures in these Code Chapters have, based on experience, been wise and effective in producing the education results intended -- that of improving the academic performance of students.
Because of a new era of fiscal scarcity, the state needs an ongoing program of rigorous evaluations, as Orszag and Bridgeland are advocating at the federal level, to determine the effectiveness of the state's funded and administered programs in terms of wise spending and outcomes.
The state should also engage qualified independent examiners, who are not beholden to either the executive or legislative departments of government, to comprehensively review, determine, and make recommendations respecting, the efficiency of the organizational structure of the executive department and the effectiveness and efficiency of state agencies in carrying out their statutory duties and authorities, with "efficiently" meaning acting or producing effectively with a minimum of waste, duplication, expense or unnecessary effort.
McElwee is a Charleston lawyer with the firm Robinson & McElwee PLLC, cmcel...@outlook.com.