So here is my solution to the problem: VAMs for our legislators. If they don't improve our education system, they will be ineligible to run for at least one election cycles. NO exceptions. A few key inputs for the model (please feel free to add/modify):
1. The laws must be shown to have improved education.
2. The laws must be shown to be cost-effective.
3. Teacher morale will be factored in.
4. Graduation rates must improve. This includes elementary and middle school. (This too will require a cost-benefit analysis.)
5a. Flexibility in education is key, so how quickly bills can be passed will be taken into account.
5b. How much support the bill gets in the legislature will also be factored into the VAM.
Who's willing to bet that the instant the politicians realize they can be fired because of things nearly completely out of their control they suddenly have a very different opinion of VAM? Anyone? Anyone?
Update: Gov. Rick Scott calls for review of Florida's standardized tests. Combined with Arne "Duh" Duncan's latest, there's hope yet...better several-years-late than never to realize that testing mania has gotten out of hand.