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Perhaps the most vile acronym in recent memory is S.M.A.R.T. for the SMART goal. This one is pervasive in Ontario education at the moment and seems to have a lot of currency in business management. According to wikipedia, the world didn’t get SMART until 1981 when a dude named Doran introduced it and saved humanity from a long history of vague, immeasurable, unattainable, irrelevant and timeless goals. Imagine, 6000 years of VIUIT goals. No wonder the world’s such a mess.

What is SMART? Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant (sometimes Realistic). Time bound. At some point it evolved into the SMARTER goal. You just add an E for Emergency and an R for Room and there you go. Or, Evaluate and Re-Evaluate if you want to be technical. And if you keep on re-evaluating than it becomes a SMARTERRRRR goal, or if you intersperse evaluations with re-evaluations it becomes SMARTERER goals. I’m getting smarterer every year as all my friends get dumberer.

What is particularly vile about this simple mnemonic device, you may well ask? First off, there’s something particularly un-smart about writing the word “smart” all in capital letters. It’s like calling a dumb kid, “smart”. You don’t really mean it, but you don’t want to hurt his feelings. Second, there’s something gross about applying such a technocratic bizspeak thought packet to the world of education. I will explore this in later posts, but the gist of it is, it explicitly directs education to the more mundane territory of test scores and away from the land of inspiration. As soon as an educational leader sets a SMART goal, he/she decreases the soul size of everyone affected. SMART goals are de-motivational to anyone with spirit, shrinking our imagination to the measurable size of a pea. So, if you don’t like your soul or imagination, then it’s okay to be SMART. For now, I will follow my DUMB goals. Divine. Universal. Mind. Bending. Not de-motivational uninspired meaningless blather.


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