Newt Gingrich wrote a great editorial in the Wall Street Journal recently that includes 7 “achievements” that he thinks should be offered as prizes similar to the X Prize Foundation’s prizes. Personally, I think the idea of prizes to drive innovation is great and wish that the government would do this on a regular basis. Newt’s list is a great first start and there are probably others but if we have too many it would dilute the importance of the targeted list.
I do question Mr. Gingrich’s 7th item. While certainly noble in intent, it doesn’t appear that it is measurable enough to warrant a big prize. Perhaps a prize for the public school system that gets 99% of their non-special needs kids to some extremely high level of attainment on a standardized test. If we use the SAT as an example, the school system that can get 99% of their kids to over 600 on the SAT test (the average is 515 out of a possible 700 and that was for college bound seniors – the challenge would be for ALL students in a public school organization).