Under revision. Updated on 2/14/2017.
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Is public education preparing the majority of our children to succeed in life?
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Since 1970, according to the above Cato Institute report, spending per student and hiring of employees for the school districts skyrocketed. However, our children's education went nowhere, when many countries passed us. It is irresponsible that no school board or governor in school districts or states respectively put a halt to spending increases to question and investigate every year why the results are not improving as they did in some other countries. Such a long-term decline in what our children learned since 1970, actually dumbed down the public, damaging the workforce and the future of our children. It is most puzzling that in 46 years there was no action by our political leaders to improve this terrible situation, as the public kept paying every year the rapidly increasing cost of education. It is also very strange that at the same time we started putting emphasis on graduating students as soon as possible, instead of graduating them only when their knowledge rose to a level required by employers (e.g., ACT Readiness level). We dropped to 40th in high school mathematics in the world in 2016. Other nations did the opposite. They improved their teachers, schools, and student results - and passed us.
Why is that important? Workforce education creates the competitive products and services from our companies to compete worldwide to be profitable in order to create our national tax income. It is a solid, well-rounded education in high school that creates the basis for a competent workforce and well-employed future for our children, both vitally important to a healthy economy. Four out of five children who entered high school leave our public high schools poorly educated and they will fail. That is a very poor result, and a major concern to our companies. We need today at least 80% of them ready of those graduating from high school. 20-30% being ACT Ready when graduating is far from enough. That's what we have in 2017 in the majority of school districts. There are no steps taken currently by our political leadership in individual US states, that would increase the ACT or SAT scores enough. These are the only tests that show accurately what children have learned from grade one to twelve. No explanation to the public and no corrective action has taken place for many decades. Our public school districts, however, kept informing the public falsely, that "we are doing well, a solid B work, but there is room to improve."
Please note below the ACT score and readiness performance of the Knox County, Tennessee school district as an example. They are close to average performers in the USA.
|"The foundation of every state is the education of its youth."|
Diogenes Laertius, Greek Philosopher, ~C.E. 300
We will cover it in more detail with explanation later, but we would like to ask you to form an initial impression. How good is this performance on a first view? What performance evaluation would you give it without learning any more below (good, so-so, bad)?
And now please look at the percentage of graduates from each of the Knox County, Tennessee public high schools who are ACT Ready and the percentage who are not ACT Ready. Remember that ACT Readiness means only a 50-75% chance to finish only the first year of a tech/vocational program or a college program, but it excludes even the first year of science or engineering programs in colleges because they have a much higher ACT mathematics score requirement than the ACT Readiness benchmark's math requirement. Those who are not ACT Ready, will not be employable longer than a few years.
Looking at the charts on the left and above, the ACT Readiness percentage is very low for those who graduated with a diploma. We are pushing children to graduate instead of being properly educated for the work place or college. Isn't that just foolish? It is not what parents want. Parents want 80-90% graduates with a diploma, all of whom are ACT Ready. Only stupid people would say "90% graduated AND 27% of them are ready for job training or further schooling! Wow, that's just great! That's what I always wanted for my children!" So four out of five children graduate not ready. Is that bad enough?? However, the ACT Readiness of African American students is extremely poor, only one or two is prepared out of fifty!! THIS IS A DISASTER! Note that a charter school chain in NYC called Success Academy Schools, that started in Harlem in 2006, with 42 schools as of 2016, is achieving a TOP ONE PERCENT result in the NY State Common Core Tests in mathematics, WITH POOR, INNER CITY AFRICAN AMERICAN AND HISPANIC CHILDREN. THEY ARE PASSING EVEN MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS! At the same time, we are getting a bottom 2-5% ACT Readiness result only in our public schools for African American and Hispanic children. IT IS POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE FAR BETTER RESULTS THAN WHAT WE ARE ACHIEVING IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. IT CAN BE DONE, IF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING! BUT MANY DON'T KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, WITH VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS.
Success Academy Schools have a zero discipline-problem policy. Teachers have excellent benefits and compensation, and expected to do a good job. Some parents don't like the "zero discipline-problem policy". A minority of teachers do not like the work-related expectations. We would humbly suggest that you cannot have excellent results with children who are a discipline problem, who disturb all children in a class, and you cannot have success without teachers who work hard, AND ENJOY BEING AN EXCELLENT TEACHER. Our board of education members (mostly teachers in Knox County, Tennessee IN 2017) do not even want to visit the Success Academy Schools to find out why they are getting a top one percent result, because those who produce the bottom 2-5% ACT Readiness result (the Knox County, Tennessee school board) feel that they will learn nothing that could improve their dismal 2-5% ACT Readiness for black students! And we just touched on the biggest problem with our public school performance: most teacher training is poor (at the US university level)
, teachers are not matched to the profession and lack of supporting a "zero tolerance for discipline-problems" policy, that must be there for good results. More details later.
Please note that the dumbing down (providing less and less education compared to other nations) of the public in the first graph above, through our schools took place over a 46 year period, very quietly, with 39 countries passing us as of December 2016 (OECD PISA TESTS of 73 nations).
The USA is 40th now and below average of all those nations in math of 15-year-old students in the world, a very poor showing. The general public appears to be under the impression that our high school education is all right, but there is room for improvement. That is what our school districts told and tell the public via newspapers and the media. They are not telling the public the truth. They also reconditioned the public's expectations, by repeating often the idea that "everything is all right, but there is room to improve". Companies who experienced high school graduates are of the opinion that since about 2005, most high school graduates could not communicate properly in English, could not even fill out a job application correctly, and cannot even perform basic math. Employers became so concerned about the educational output of high schools, that many areas opted since 2016 to replace employees with robots. The cost of robotics is below minimum wage and customers preferred to communicate with the robot in pilot studies. Please read some details about robotics here
With the weakening public schools, the employers do not have the quality labor force they need to survive. The choices are to leave and move to another country with a better educated workforce, or close the business, or go to robotics. Going to robotics is the least expensive solution without sacrificing customer satisfaction in many industries. Most parents of today's high school graduates did better in high school. The point we want to make is that with the slow dumbing down since 1970, many in the US population, including school board members, lost track of where we need to be, because they don't know how far we dropped from other nations with whom we compete and why that is important. Poor public school performance is destroying public schools, by necessitating the establishment of more vouchers, private schools, home schooling, superior Internet-based educational programs and improved charter schools.
The world has become "small" during the last 20-30 years. We can call, video conference or fly to any country today, we can see their newspapers on the Internet the same day. The US companies were very competitive 40 years ago with their products.
I saw well respected US products everywhere in 65 countries to which I travelled regularly. As our high school education weakened, so did our products and services in the international markets and at home as well. Coincidence? Definitely not. High school output feeds the national workforce. A weaker high school output weakens the US workforce, as foreign countries strengthened their workforce by significantly improving teacher education, matching potential teachers to the profession, getting teachers from the top 10-30% of their Master's programs in the subjects that they will teach in order to create much better educated high school graduates than what most of our high schools produced for a couple of decades now. The declining high school education in the US resulted in a gradual reduction of the quality of US products in both US sales and profitability of US companies, with very few exceptions. We have millions of jobs that employers cannot fill today because the candidates with the right education have not been developed by our public schools. Only 26% of our high school graduates with a diploma were ready nationally for further training or better than minimum wage jobs in 2016. The objectives set by the states for public schools are very low. Using ACT scores, for 80% of a graduating class to be prepared, that class must be at or above an average ACT score of 25. Not where we are today.
Education is the only way out of poverty. POOR EDUCATION IS THE BEST WAY INTO POVERTY. The drop in school performance since 1970, reduced many families' earnings, increasing poverty in the nation. We forget the dumbing down result on jobs and earnings, when we blame the education results on poverty. By boards of education not wanting to learn what to do and why, we have been creating less and less educated people for five decades now or more. TODAY WE CRY THAT IT IS STUDENTS LIVING IN POVERTY THAT ARE NOT PERFORMING WELL ENOUGH. WE WONDER WHAT OTHER EXCUSES THEY WILL CREATE FOR POLITICAL LEADERSHIP TO REMOVE ATTENTION FROM THEIR POOR MANAGEMENT OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT THEY MANAGE. The dumbing down for 46 years contributed to increasing poverty. We created it with the deteriorating public education. Tennessee is one of the worst. We must correct this situation if we want more employable people.
Or we must create an opportunity for better education through vouchers, tax credits and charter schools because public schools are not improving. States must become much better in setting the right measurable academic objectives, like an ACT or SAT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. State guidance of school districts must become much better, the curriculum must stronger, the teachers better educated with a master's degree in the subject they teach (and with continuing education) and better supported by their management giving the prepared teacher full authority about classroom decisions. We must educate significantly more of our children with university degrees that are in demand. That, in turn, depends on how well they do in pre-school, and in grades one through twelve. That is where we have a big problem with the great majority of public schools.
A child is born with about 100 billion neurons (special brain cells). Almost all neurons he/she will ever have in life, unless exposure to heavy metals, drugs, insufficient nutrition, cigarette smoke, lack of nourishment or genetic abnormalities prevent enough brain cells from developing during pregnancy, creating learning disabilities. The exposure of the child to abnormal family behavior, absence of a loving environment, alcohol, continuing exposure of what we mentioned during pregnancy, and drugs will also has a negative impact on the child's behavior and ability to normally develop for life. From birth, brain cell interconnections start developing at a high rate until age 6, and declining thereafter for life. This is how learning, coping with difficulties and behaviors develop, and this is why the high performing countries create excellent preschool programs to start educating children through games very early in life.
Elected boards of education could not develop our children during the past 20 years to a well enough educated level, to satisfy the needs of employers. We have more than three million open jobs. But they cannot find well enough educated employees for them. Employers have been complaining during the last ten years that our public high school graduates cannot communicate in English properly and cannot even do basic math. Boards of education set objectives. They do not work decade after decade. They cannot create a good operating plan with proper objectives to improve. The state cannot provide guidelines evidently, and they should. But the problem is much bigger than that. Neither elected school boards, nor state political leadership noticed a key error. Who educates/produces the students who will be graduating from high school? The schools do. Yet we do not have appropriate objectives and operating plans within the schools, who produce the results. This is a gigantic management oversight by the state's political leadership and its education department. Our elected boards of education are not the only ones who could not solve this problem - and they should not be the ones. This is a huge mistake by governors, state education departments and by the congressional education committees in the states. No one recognizes yet that if you do not plan properly with the right objectives and operating plans, covering the areas that produce the results, you are actually planning to fail. We have been doing a very poor job in education for many decades.|
This is not a teacher problem to a great extent. Too many teachers are discouraged instead of being motivated. That is a management problem. Most are not interested in learning, whereas in other fields/industries employees wanting to learn more, even at their expense, is very common. People who love their job do that. Too many students who could not produce good grades in their selected major in college, transferred to education because it was easier. On the other hand, in the high performing countries in education they accept only the top performers from the master's level programs for teaching. There are excellent learning sources out there for our situation. For example the company we list as an example publishes the best lectures from the best professors, and could be an excellent source: The art of teaching best practices from a master educator.
"Next in importance to freedom and justice is public education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained."
James A. Garfield (1831 - 1881)
We don't do that. We do not prepare children as well for elementary school and later high school as other countries. We want to graduate them as soon as possible, and we have cases where teachers are instructed to change student grades for the better. Our elementary school performance ends up very weak, especially in reading and mathematics, making high school learning more difficult. This process of insufficient foundation produces the poorly prepared high school graduates, and it makes college and job performance more difficult as well. WE MUST ELIMINATE THIS HANDICAP BY PROVIDING EXCELLENT PREPARATION FOR SUBSEQUENT CLASSES, AND STOP HAVING TEACHERS ALTERING GRADES TO GET CHILDREN TO THE NEXT GRADE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SO THAT WE ACHIEVE HIGH ENOUGH GRADUATION RATES, WITH POOR READINESS ACADEMICALLY TO FACE A TOUGH WORLD. NOT A GOOD PRACTICE. It is interesting that our education did not recognize this problem and acted on correcting it in 46 years to date. One wonders why it was and why it is ignored: Example1, Example2.
Unfortunately, the lack of proper interest in our long declining public secondary education to date, and lack of action to increase ACT and SAT test scores significantly by now, presents a disturbing outlook. Lack of interest means that no change was introduced by Governors or legislators that raised ACT and SAT scores from the poor performance areas like today.
|"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."|
Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer & physicist (1564 - 1642)
There are too many tests. Some measure correctly (ACT, SAT, NAEP, and OECD-PISA internationally), and some show better grades for public consumption (the state tests), because they are easier. ACT checks its scores against what the tested high school student achieved a few years after graduation and adjusts its ACT Readiness benchmarks if needed. Their scores and Readiness percentages are accurate. Because the emphasis is on graduating as many children as possible instead of emphasis on academic achievement, we do have a problem with grades being changed for the better by teachers, principals and support for the same by their Central Management. This problem could be solved if the test in taken on a computer under a program that does not allow changing of grades without identification of the person who authorized the grade changing (Examples
We graduate close to 90% of those students who entered 9th grade in high school. Only 26% of our public high school graduates (and ONLY 5% of black students!) were "ACT ready" nationally in 2015 for training to go beyond a minimum wage job. The necessity to graduate more children is discussed at board meetings. Teachers have been mysteriously instructed from "above" to change grades so that some students who would fail, actually move on to graduate. The educational performance, the ACT results were and are terrible, because state set average ACT goal of only 21 (equals 24-27% ACT Readiness only). It should be an average ACT score of 25 or above (80% ACT readiness). In twelve years we never heard of any board meetings where increasing the ACT or SAT scores, and what we need to do to achieve that was discussed, and a plan was agreed upon to do so. Most of these poor students will be replaced by robots within a few years. As an example, in Knox County, Tennessee, the board members are paid $20,000 salary plus $5,000 for expenses and car allowance every year, but they never have time for discussing how to improve the terrible ACT scores. Their results are worse than the above results. The public is not informed about this fact. They just pay for the poor education with their hard-earned money in taxes. We were one of the top performers worldwide in 1970. What we see today, the poor performance, the lack of relevant knowledge and interest by elected board members, the state education department or governors to correct the poor academic performance by taking steps to increase what counts, the ACT scores, is revolting. Although we became the fifth highest spender in the world per student by 2015, we, the USA, dropped to 40th place in mathematics that our public schools delivered (2016 OECD PISA tests). Some states like Tennessee, our example, are worse than that.
All governors and many local elected boards and superintendents started programs that "will improve education" with additional spending of many millions of dollars, all state tests were made easier to qualify for federal funding (No Child Left Behind Act) and a big effort is made to date to identify learning disabled and children of poverty, because the school district can increase the federal cash they receive for such students. School districts also proposed programs that would permanently increase the school districts' budget annually under the law. No governor of either party stopped the aggressively growing education spending in 46 years or started increasing ACT or SAT scores, that went nowhere! The old education laws gave (and give today) all management decision-making to the elected school district boards in every state along with a guarantee for them to receive at least as much funding as they received in the prior year, regardless of performance.
The old education laws that no longer work were not amended. There are approximately 14,500 school districts in the USA, all doing their own thing, but very few who do it well. The requirement to be elected to them is a high school diploma only. Central management is bloated compared to what is defined by two authorities and presented (below
). What appears to be motivating school districts is to increase the money they can spend any way possible, then push the students through each grade qualified or not, so that they can graduate 90% - with readiness for job training or further education of only 27% of those who were given a diploma!! The remaining 73%, plus those who attended but did not graduate, plus those who dropped out will be replaced by robots before 2020. Obviously our school districts are interested in money (we became the 5th largest spender per student in the world), and are not interested in the knowledge they teach our children (that is why we just dropped to 40th place in the world). We did an excellent job developing FAILURE FACTORIES.
One of the latest programs to improve the education of our children is a free additional two-year college education program.
Remember that children learn and pickup all kinds of behaviors and habits as they increase their brain capacity during pre-school and the following 12 years of education. Without correcting the elementary and high school education, many children finished with limited knowledge below what they should have for graduation, bad attitude, bad ideas like a feeling of entitlement, and they learned all that in their FORMATIVE years
. Two years of additional education cannot correct the formative years' behavior problems and poor study habits, but it may provide almost enough remedial training to improve the odds for a job short-term. Since it would be a miracle to educate those children who did a poor job in high school, it will provide a limited benefit, but at a very high price. To get a full benefit, the money should go to fixing the pre-school, elementary and high school education itself, make it competitive with the best internationals, such that we get much better performance out of them, including a good attitude toward work. Then consider a remedial program for those who finished high school previously. Putting only a "bandaid" on mistakes after the fact is never a good and efficient solution.
CHARTER SCHOOLS AND VOUCHERS.
Charter Schools are also public schools, but with more independence to manage them than traditional public schools. Public schools have an elected board. Charter schools have an appointed board and that can be an advantage. The need for these measures arose because the public school performance is dismal and over several decades they cannot correct it. Private schools produce an 85-99% ACT Readiness. Public schools produced a 0-50% ACT Readiness of those who graduated. Charter schools had mixed results but improving during the past twenty years. Some charter schools can perform better than most private schools (Success Academy Schools, New York City, 42 schools in 2017 for poor black inner city children with top one percent results!), many better than public schools (another good example is KIPP Charter Schools). Their teachers, and superintendents come from poorly performing public education, with teacher training that is less than what the top international school systems are doing (Master's in the subject they will teach, psychological tests to match them to the teaching position, more graduate level training on learning disability diagnoses and the latest about teaching methodologies - before they start teaching). The only thing that will remove the need for charter schools and vouchers, is public schools who exceed charter school performance and deliver 80% ACT Ready graduates instead of just 25-27%. What will remove public schools is charter schools, vouchers, home schooling that produce much better results on the ACT and SAT tests than the public schools do.
|"There is a plot in this country to enslave every man, women and child.|
Before I leave this high and noble office, I intend to expose this plot."
President John F. Kennedy
Seven days before he was assassinated.
What did he know?
PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT FOLLOWS. So far what we see is expenses skyrocketing yet the ACT and SAT education results, the only annual tests that reflect truthfully what children have learned, have not gone anywhere in 46 years, but our international competitors improved significantly as we are about to see below.
LET'S DIGRESS TO EXPLAIN A FEW THINGS THAT ELECTED BOARDS NEED TO UNDERSTAND FOR SUCCESSFUL PERFORMANCE
We all tend to think that we have expertise in areas in which we have neither education nor experience. Especially when the life of children is involved, we should be more careful in recognizing where our limits are. Whenever we work with larger groups, 100 people or more, a science is involved called management. It is unique in that when it comes to increasing numbers of employees, many things in management become more complex. To avoid any misunderstandings, it is extremely important to understand a few basic management terms that are often misunderstood by elected school district boards. Let's look at a few of those. But if you ignore your own children and grandchildren, and you failed to do anything about the poor school performance when you were on the school board, you will pay for it dearly. Look at the last 13 year's ACT readiness of the children we graduated. Those on school boards should think about that real hard.
If the public schools cannot improve dramatically, as they have not improved for decades with few exceptions, then why object to ANY TYPE OF SCHOOL that prepares our children better for work or college than the poorly performing public schools and do it at lower cost per student?
The state set performance requirements for schools are too low. Most such children would not be accepted by employers if they graduated. Those children who do not want to work or are a discipline problem, should attend different classes or handed back to the parents so that our teachers have a chance to produce better results. We must change being a baby sitting service, and create excellent ACT scores instead.
Why do we allow public schools to exist without closing them if more than 50% of their students with a high school diploma are not even prepared to be trained for a job?! WHY DO WE GIVE STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT READY A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA?
Why do we continue operating high schools at public expense for MORE THAN TEN YEARS if more than 90% of their graduates were not prepared for job training, AND WE ARE SPENDING TWO AND A HALF TIMES AS MUCH PER STUDENT ON THEM THAN IN THE BETTER PERFORMING HIGH SCHOOLS? THE INCREASED SPENDING MADE NO DIFFERENCE! HIRE A SUPERINTENDENT WHO CAN CHANGE THEM WITHOUT SPENDING MORE THAN DOUBLE PER STUDENT...OR CLOSE THEM.
Why do we make excuses for such poorly performing public schools instead of making changes to improve their results? If a superintendent cannot make such changes within a couple of years, one needs a different superintendent, instead of letting hundreds of children become not educated well enough to survive.
We hear objections against "corporate ideas" in education, but no one can explain what these are. It would be better if public schools and leadership worried more about their results and improved them.
Many different schools and programs offer higher ACT READINESS than most public schools. Why should not the public, who pay for public schools via taxes, be able to choose a different school such that their child will succeed instead of having to attend a poorly performing school? If you don't like such choices, do something to make sure that the public schools perform better. Why should anyone support schools that prepare our children so poorly that the great majority, as much as 95% of the students, are likely to become homeless? We pay more than twice for more than a decade per student in the poorly performing schools without any improvement, than what the good schools spend per student. Is that good management of the people's money? If something does not work for two years, the money is not being spent in the right places, or the goals, objectives and operating plans are absent or wrong. If it does not work after two changes, then you have the wrong superintendent.
What is a GOAL? It is a measurable key indicator of success, typically 2-5 years away (e.g., Our goal is to achieve an average ACT score of 25 in 4 years).
THIS MUST BE DONE PERFECTLY: What is an OBJECTIVE? It is a measurable key indicator of success in what children learned from grade one to twelve. We are to achieve in the current fiscal year this objective, for the entire organization, or any school, or anyone in a management or supervisory position.
The purpose of an objective is to focus the entire organization on the achievement of both the school district objectives, the objectives of each school, and each management position within each school and central management. If we don't know where we stand, or if we don't know where we want to be in a year, WE WILL NEVER GET ANYWHERE. These objectives WITHIN THE SAME ORGANIZATION are not the same but reflect what each manager must accomplish in support of the school district objectives.
THIS MUST BE DONE PERFECTLY: What is an OPERATING PLAN: It is a simple document, that describes what one is to achieve each month to meet his/her objectives, and what resources will be needed to achieve each month the objectives in every management position. It is not to be a beautiful document with hundred dollar words and a lot of adjectives. In fact, if you see one like that, run! And if someone wants a multi-year plan, you have to do it if they are your boss, but 4-5 year plans, especially when they are called "strategic", are a waste of time. Too many things change in the year that is coming, let alone 4-5 years away. Just plan and deliver better results each and every year.
- There should be not more than three objectives at any position because more objectives can dilute each other, can cause confusion, which is counter-productive.
- The top-level objectives for the organization and the objectives for individual management people should be very easy to remember.
- Such objectives could be an average ACT score yearly, and a running average GPA per month, year to date for each school.
- The second objective is actual spending in any department per month vs the approved budget for that organization (district, school, or any manager's department).
- The board, superintendent, principals, and managers should always know where they stand in both academic objective achievement, and spending vs approved budget at least every week.
- A third objective may be about employee morale and where it stands, with some very easy database measurement based on three questions, or any other action that needs attention to achieve the other two objectives.
- If one wants to be effective, do not set objectives that can be "achieved for sure". Those are "low expectation" objectives. People do not focus on low expectation objectives because they are sure to happen. And they miss them.
- On the other hand, in an organization with good morale, people rise to expectations when the objective is a challenge. Very interestingly, if you pick an objective that is 10-30% above what they actually achieved the previous year, thinking that it is hard, but not impossible - such people will study the best performers, find out what they do that we don't do, and will come up with a better way to teach, organize, present and motivate. They exceed that hard objective.
- Those who keep doing what they do the same way every year, achieve less year after year.
- Unfortunately, the objectives recommended by the state education department are very low, which is very unhelpful in actual practice.
With the above approach, you just delivered a "zero-based" budget as well that will be focused exactly on the results that one wants. The Operating Plan and the budget for every area within it are prepared through the same effort. They are so closely related.
Without the Objectives and Operating Plans as defined and described here, it is IMPOSSIBLE to create better results, and the poor performance is guaranteed to continue.
This is the only a good, professional start that we are describing.
THIS MUST BE DONE PERFECTLY: TO SUCCEED, THE OPERATING PLAN MUST BE EXECUTED AS PLANNED EACH YEAR. This is quite easy if the people understand what must be done in a timely fashion and why, and have people with the right qualifications to manage all areas within the Operating Plan.
EXAMPLE: What never worked in the past and we keep doing it in virtually all school districts is a "wish list objective" similar to the following. Just ask yourself: how do we know that a student met any of these objectives below? Do we know what these objectives mean or are they up to anyone's interpretation? Without the right objectives, performance will never improve. Ditto with operating plans.
It is the schools that produce the results, yet there are no objectives and operating plans and monthly spending and GPA trend reporting. This also prevents better performance.
There are serious discipline problems and a very ineffective way of dealing with them. That is also a major obstacle to better performance. This is only a start, there are more. It should be very clear that we have big management problems in the organization, and state guidelines are not helpful. The result is very bad performance.
A school district with this performance is called a "Failure Factory". Four out of five children will be replaced by robots.
OBJECTIVES THAT DO NOT AND CANNOT WORK:
Based on each objective that follows below, how can you tell what is needed, quantity or quality required, and by when. These objectives are unmeasurable, unrealistic, and unclear. The descriptions can vary an enormous amount. A more accurate definition would be "To complete the class choices specified by the curriculum" but that is automatic, except for the grade with which they complete it and graduate. An ACT score that is 5-10% higher than last achieved would clearly specify in much more specific terms all of the unsuitable objectives listed below - and more.
"Knox County Schools (Tennessee) will provide an educational program designed to help each student be college and career ready upon graduation from high school. Through implementation of the Tennessee State Standards, students will be able to:
The above examples indicate that management does not understand why objectives and operating plans are necessary for achievement. They must be a key indicator of success, and be measurable.
- read a variety of complex text, both literary and informational, to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities and broaden their perspective;
- communicate complex information in a clear and articulate manner using effective oral, written and media skills;
develop conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application skills in mathematics and science to solve complex real world issues and problems;
- participate effectively in civic life with a solid understanding of world geography, economics, history and finance;
develop positive habits that support good physical, mental, social and emotional well-being;
- appreciate and participate in the arts;
- pursue the acquisition of world languages;
- effectively use current and emerging technologies to access, manage and create information;"
How do you know what you need to do competitively if you know nothing about the high performers and how they are achieving their good results? The world has changed a long time ago, and because we know nothing about where we should be, we are in the gutter ruining most of the children's lives through our public schools. Most of our public schools are "FAILURE FACTORIES" unfortunately.
MUST BE DONE PERFECTLY IN EVERY AREA BELOW:
A superintendent worked for years under conditions that are much more sophisticated than any elected board majority. They have to succeed for a limited time in a very difficult position. On one side they have to please an elected board who may or may not appreciate the superintendent's problem. On the other side you have a bloated central management with good ole boys' networks who could create a lot of problems for a superintendent. To interview such a person, one has to be very well educated about the superintendent's jobs and challenges, behavioral psychology, human behavior, the competition in education, what are those places doing differently who have much better results, and investigate his resume in detail. It is a "selling" document. Sometimes people put things in it that are not true, or word things such that they can be misunderstood. In an interview, the potential superintendent is not your friend. You cannot win against an opponent unless you recognize who is more skillful in some or all areas truthfully. He/she does not want you to discover his "warts", and he/she had a lot more practice at this than any interviewer who is a board member. Do not let your ego get into the decision making. Recognize that we never selected and hired a superintendent who produced excellent ACT results. That is what counts.
Important actions and questions when interviewing superintendent candidates
One has to be honest about performance history, and pick new candidates who have delivered significantly better ACT results than what we have delivered. This principle must not be violated. Take ownership of the fact that Knox County, TN (as an example, but consider your county), consistently picked poor superintendents with insufficient management training and experience, AND delivered poor results. It is not a good idea to celebrate in public the arrival of a new superintendent for an extended period, especially when no one checked his background. Or celebrated the arrival of a new superintendent for 3-4 years without knowing that he will do well or not. Yet it was known from the start that he never even managed a single school, and was not management trained, when our opportunity required the management of more than 80 schools and 8,000 employees. The qualification mismatch created many conflicts around him.These are the most important indicators about what you will actually get. Most board members never paid attention to such indicators and picked the wrong candidate EVERY SINGLE TIME, because the board selection committee was inexperienced in several important topics, like interviewing skills for a CEO for a 9,000 employee organization, or recognizing every year that the ACT results were poor.
The management skills (e.g., having a successful principal who delivered excellent ACT results as a superintendent candidate) are very important for small organizations up to about 100 employees, but management training and experience becomes key to success as an organization grows beyond 100 employees. We have close to 9,000 employees at Knox County Schools, and we have never picked a superintendent who had at least 5 successful years with increasing performance, with at least one-third as large organization as the new organization will be. So the people-management skills were totally missing, and so was the knowledge required to improve the key indicator of success, the ACT score, for the school district. They will keep selecting failing superintendents unless they pay attention to picking someone who managed a school district that was greater than 3,000 employees and delivered growing ACT performance that was always above the Knox County Schools performance. Ignoring these important elements will continue the same poor trend: picking an unsatisfactory performer.
If one picked ineffective superintendents with poor ACT results every time, and one keeps selecting a new one the same way, a poor performer will be picked again, and you will get political games in behavior instead of good results for our children. That is exactly what we have been doing.
A good candidate already examined the organization before the first interview. Ask him/her about what she found about our strengths and weaknesses and what we need to do in detail to improve. If they cannot answer, we have the wrong candidate.
A good candidate will be very relaxed and will not get upset about any question you ask. Don't hesitate to test that.
Prepare the candidate's ACT/ACT Readiness record for the last five years. Has he delivered at least one point higher steadily growing average ACT result for each of five years than we did, in a school organization with at least 3,000 employees? For example, the Hamblen County candidate's school district ACT performance was significantly below ours. How on earth will he be able to do better for us? Also, do not bother with any candidate who changed jobs every four years or less. Superintendents have minimum job durations around three and a half years. Unfortunately, there are not too many out there who are good and looking for a job. I wonder if any of you looked up the ACT performance for the candidate. Don't waste your time spending time on a candidate who was not a superintendent or director of schools, or had less than 20 schools under him/her. That is the most important question. Our own past performance tells us that we never picked such a candidate before because the selectors did not have the training and experience on the management side to recognize the importance of this fact. The above example about objectives or goals from the Knox County Schools and our results indicate that no one on the board and no interim or permanent superintendent was or is schooled AND experienced in managing more than 100 employees with success. If they did, then we would see suitable objectives, operating plans, and far better results. ONE CAN SUCCEED ONLY IF ONE OPENLY RECOGNIZES IN PUBLIC ONE'S OWN SHORTCOMINGS AND WHAT HE/SHE DOES NOT KNOW, AND THEN CORRECTS THAT SHORTCOMING.
Do not be in a hurry to hire. If you do not have a good candidate, continue searching.
An external candidate always looks better as a candidate because we know very little about him/her. On the other hand, we know about all warts that an internal candidate has. That is very good because you get no surprises. The key thing is to listen carefully to the internal candidate's idea about what needs to be done to raise our bad results.
One can do a quick background check about any person's public record at intellius.com.
Talk to his/her references, and find out if they know others who are familiar with the candidate? Call these "secondary" references to find out about what the candidate's successes were, and in what areas the candidate needs a little help to become more effective?
What mistakes has the candidate made during each of the last three years, and what did the candidate do about them?
Has he/she managed more than 3,000 employee organizations for at least 5 years, with excellent results? Our organization is about 9,000 employees, and having experienced successfully for 5 years the management of one third as many employees is a suitable prerequisite.
- The management part of a job becomes far more challenging after having managed at minimum a 100 employee organization, and increases in difficulty as the number of employees increase.
- Unfortunately if someone did not manage a hundred employees in a growing organization and did not have management training, they would not understand this problem as well as someone with experience managing 100 or more employees.
- The management training and experience with a 3,000 employee organization for five successful years is also vitally important. Those who did not have such experience may not understand the importance of this question, although it is the most important question in an organization of this size.
- Teaching experience, or having been a principal of a school for at least 5 years WITH EXCELLENT RESULTS EVERY YEAR, are also useful experiences if the candidate did well, and such experience should be present.
- But the management experience in an organization that has 9,000 employees is more important. Those who do not have management experience with successful results in any of these areas, will not do well. If anyone claims two years of successful experience in this area, it is too short to be meaningful. If someone claims five years of experience, with poor results, do not hire that person.
- If one does not check a candidate's background, then let such person work for your competitor and not for you. Unfortunately, in education, such people are everywhere, in important positions - doing a poor job.
We hope that Leroy in the above picture will not be the selected superintendent. But...you never know.
ROBOTICS TO THE RESCUE OF EMPLOYERS WHO CANNOT FIND WELL ENOUGH EDUCATED WORK FORCE WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.
A new generation of robotics will replace not just those who are not ACT Ready, but more. Please look at some examples below. The poor education-created knowledge-drop of our children and a new family of robotics is already creating a major social problem. Many of our companies complained to governors about the poor education of our children, and having to move if they are to survive where the workforce is better educated. The ACT scores did not improve indicating no change. It is more important than ever for our children to attend schools with a high percentage of ACT Readiness among its graduates. All new technology-based products experience some delays/changes with initial use, generally not more than two years. That includes robots as well. Any such delay will not make any significant change in the 40-45 year working life of today's graduates.
Reference1: What are robots, will they take our jobs.
Reference2: Middle class workers are losing their jobs to robots
Reference3: Anesthesia robots deliver sedation in some medical procedures
Reference4: McDonalds replacing employees with robots
Reference5: Robots threaten jobs
Reference6: Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years
Reference7: Computers making decisions in robotics
Reference8: Robots replace 5 million human jobs
Reference9: Science Daily
Reference10: BBC: Robotics
Reference11: Many examples of artificial intelligence today at the heart of robotics
Reference12: How a brick laying robot builds a house
Reference13: Example of pizza making via robots is advancing
Reference14: Robots replacing construction workers
Reference15: hotel staffed with robots,
Reference16: Shenzhen China, FOXCONN, a million workers replaced. China and Japan have much better education results than we do. Their objective is clearly to provide the best quality services or products at the lowest cost in a competitive market without falling behind in either quality performance or cost.
Reference17: The effect of robotic and software automation on jobs.
Reference18: Supermarket automation with robots and only three workers,
Reference19: Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years,
Reference20: Computers making decisions in robotics.
USA TEACHER TRAINING HAS FALLEN BEHIND OUR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITORS IN BOTH SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE AND TEACHING METHODOLOGY
School results cannot exceed teachers’ knowledge and ability to teach. School results are limited by the subject knowledge of teachers and their ability to motivate the students. Student scores are the results of our teachers’ work. US teachers are handicapped somewhat by the largest number of classroom hours in the world, too much testing in especially Knox County, Tennessee beyond what the state requires and too much paperwork that could be automated. Their union is not helpful to resolve such problems. There are many excellent teachers and some who would be happier in a different position. Quite a few college students changed to teaching in college because it was an easier study. However, teachers need to understand that they, as a group are not as well prepared as the best in the world. That is why we have dropped to 40th in the world. The superintendent stopped supporting teacher efforts to get a Master’s degree: a big mistake. Teacher subject knowledge and teaching methodology needs updating to the top ten internationals' level. They require a Master's degree in the single subject that they will teach, they must be a good match psychologically to the teaching profession, and have to come from the top ten percent of their Master's class. American teachers qualify with a Bachelor's degree in education at most that covers several subjects. Some obtain a Master's degree and a few even a PhD in Education.
Reference1: Why American students do poorly
Reference2: Research suggests poor quality of teacher training programs in US compared to other countries,
Reference3: Why students do better overseas,
Reference4: US science teachers are behind in training degree requirements.
Reference5: The impact of school leadership on student achievement,
Reference6: US teacher training is not good enough
Reference7: Why we must fire bad teachers
Reference8: What is great teaching,
Reference9: A collection of more.
HOW DO WE COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND THEREFORE WORKFORCE QUALITY?
The knowledge of high school graduates depends significantly on their teachers' subject knowledge, teaching skill and ability to motivate students from preschool to high school graduation.
We dropped to 40th place internationally in mathematics, so ours needs to improve significantly. The quality of our workforce depends to a great extent on the quality of K-12 education. The quality and competitiveness of our products and services depend on the quality of our workforce in all of our industries. Our national income depends on the quality and competitiveness of our products and services in a domestic and international market place. Our national income depends to a great extent on the quality, education, and subject knowledge of teachers, and their ability to communicate with and motivate students. Isn’t it obvious that we should be comparing our high school output and the way we teach and manage education to the best international competitors, instead of always comparing against our own poor 40th performance in the world? Isn’t it a necessity to be competitive worldwide today with our high school results, since our industries compete with the best worldwide? Why don't we visit the high performing internationals to find out how they achieve excellent results but we do not? Why don't we learn from them and then make some changes? Read about one of the best, Finland's education system
|"When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity."|
Technology like video conferencing, the Internet, airplanes made almost every country easily reachable in the last few decades. The world has become “much smaller”. Anyone can sell in any country products or services, and we compete against products or services from other countries. A worldwide competitive product or service must ensure that it has a well-trained workforce that is better than its competitors worldwide. The competence of the workforce depends on how well educated they were coming out of high school and how much they improved after that in additional schooling and years of experience. We were on top in 1970, but in mathematics we dropped to 40th by 2015 internationally of 15-year-olds of 73 countries (OECD PISA). According to the 2014 World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report on 149 nations, the USA is:
These are the latest figures as of 2016. The big challenge for the USA is high school performance where we are 40th (OECD PISA) of 73 countries or 49th of 149 countries (World Economic Forum) in the world. WHY IS IT THAT WE DID NOT TAKE ACTION TO CORRECT OUR SHORTCOMINGS IN EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN DURING THE PAST 46 YEARS SUCH THAT THE ACT AND SAT SCORES CONFIRMED SUCH ACTION'S EFFECTIVENESS?
- 41st in Quality of Primary Education, and
- 66th in Primary Education Enrollment Rate. We do not educate all of our children as some claim, but a list of countries do.
- 49th in the Quality of Math and Science Education,
- 49th in Secondary Education Enrollment Rate,
- 18th with Internet Access in Schools,
- 12th in Extent of Staff Training (teachers),
- 9th in the world in grade 4 math, (TIMSS - Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study given every four years),
- 12th in grade 8 (TIMSS) math of 49 nations and
- The fifth highest spender per student in 2013 of 65 nations.
Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan methodologies may not be culturally transferable to the USA, because the high achievement is the result of parental pressure, e.g., homework until midnight, and getting on the train to school by 6 AM. In addition, Shanghai tests and admits only the highest performing students into its public schools.
The graph below provides an international view of expenses per student per country. The US is one of the highest spenders, but unfortunately, our performance is poor. THAT MEANS THAT THE MONEY IS NOT SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES.
|“People do what you inspect, not what you expect.”|
Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Chairman, IBM
This is a very important practice, yet ignored by school board members. Delegation of responsibilities does not mean that we can turn our back on it by trusting the individual to whom we delegated. "Trust but verify." Many elected board of education members, nationwide, don't know what ACT or SAT scores mean, and they believe what the superintendent says without knowing if it is fact or not. They certainly could not "inspect" how a school district is doing on a monthly basis, since there are no monthly measurable academic objectives in our schools. In some countries like Finland, teachers are more educated, the teaching methodology is different than in the US, and a teacher knows exactly how each of his/her student is doing DAILY as accurately as with a test. If a student is slow, extra help is provided immediately. Therefore no testing is required. Our education board members could inspect the ACT (or SAT) scores annually and insist on them improving, but most do not even do that.
ACT tests 64% of our children nationally as of 2016. Their 2016 results show that 74% of high school graduates nationally are not prepared for higher level education and future training for employment - they are not ACT READY. In Tennessee the ACT scores increased slightly, because the state allowed students to retake the ACT a second time. Making it even worse, many of them have bad work attitude, a feeling of entitlement regardless of how well or poorly they do their job, no ambition, in addition to poor English communication and science knowledge and don't even know basic math. It is not enough to demand jobs, if people during their young days are not willing to work hard in our schools and learn what employers need. Just look at the very poor ACT results of Tennessee and its Knox County below. Please note that one cannot ignore the impact of robotic automation from 2016 on ACT Readiness. Robots will increase the qualifications needed for the jobs that remain, hence the importance of much more science and mathematics knowledge and higher student achievement that will be needed from those graduating from high school. This will become necessary to remain trainable for frequent job changes to higher level vocations, because the lower level jobs will be replaced by automation. Explanation of ACT scores and ACT Readiness.
Take a good look at the above chart results if you were an elected board member at the time in this school district. The NOT ACT Ready percentage of diplomas indicate how many students of those who graduated WILL NOT be prepared for the first year only of a tech/vocational school or college and pursue any science or engineering related course. What we have is a very high failure rate that we call "NOT ACT Ready" based on those students who already earned a diploma and graduated high school. There is another version of NOT ACT Ready, that is based on all those who entered high school in grade nine. Increasing the ACT scores to improve the poor results is the most important task of an education board in our opinion, yet this problem is not discussed and a plan of action is not created at education board meetings to do so.
Approving spending bills is a large part of every board meeting. Do you really think that these were good results? The superintendent worked for you, the board. You gave yourselves, the board, and the superintendent good performance reviews for these results every year. About 80% of the graduating children, including 98% of black children
, are and will be having a terrible life because you did nothing to ensure better results as board members. A school-chain called Success Academy Schools in NYC is achieving top one percent results with poor, inner city black children, passing even most private schools in New York State. New York State is the 5th best performing state in the US. As a board member in Knox County, Tennessee, you are paid $20,000 annually, plus another $5,000 to cover expenses and a car allowance in Knox County, Tennessee. Yet board members cannot afford to go and visit Success Academy Schools in NYC to find out how they are achieving those high results with poor, inner city black children when black children in Tennessee achieve only a 2% acceptable result? Something is very wrong here with public education. Such inaction about educational performance is building a powder keg that will blow sky high. The low national income cannot support the amount of social services in welfare that our very high percentage of those not ACT ready (74% nationally plus dropouts) put on the street with the help of robotics that replace them.
|The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
The chart above shows the Knox County, Tennessee school district's annual results and ACT readiness. Look at the high percentage of high school graduates who are "Not ACT Ready". That means that they will be close to minimum wage employees for a short time. These are terrible results in the county. The state is even worse! Yet no one does anything about it. The school board gave itself and the superintendent excellent performance reviews every year based on these results. Yes, they all set their own objectives and then performance reviewed themselves every year. See ACT scores and readiness explained
. Those not ACT Ready are trainable only for close to minimum wage jobs that will not last long. Unfortunately such jobs are beginning to be replaced by robotics in 2016 and virtually all will be replaced by 2020. Please read this area about robotics
. Robotics will make success increasingly more difficult for ACT Ready high school graduates to succeed and impossible for those not ACT Ready. The only path to reasonable success between now and 2020 is to have students take two more science and math courses beyond the core curriculum, initiate an excellent preschool program for all, and strengthen primary school performance without rewarding earlier graduates.
The chart below shows the poor ACT readiness within each high school in the same school district. The best high school has only average readiness, and the worst has not a single student ACT Ready! IS THIS THE RESULT WE WANT FOR OUR CHILDREN? This is shocking.
It is rather obvious that measurable academic objectives do not exist for this school district and for any of its high schools. It is impossible to deliver good results without such objectives and school level operating plans in the hands of school management when one is dealing with poor performance like school districts within the entire state of Tennessee and in other states.
In the graph to the left, we show a poor three-year average ACT score history and ACT Readiness of each high school in Knox County, Tennessee. We spend more than twice the amount of money for each student in the two poorly performing high schools - for more than a decade now.
Why don't we spend only one percent of that money we spend in one high school, go up to New York, visit the Success Academy Schools, because they are achieving top one percent results with poor black inner city children, beating even most private schools, in the entire state of New York. Some teachers do not like this school. They have excellent benefits, good salaries, but they have to work long hours, generally 8 AM to 6 PM. WELL, WHO SHOULD DECIDE IF WE SHOULD IMPROVE OR NOT AS THIS SCHOOL DID? NOT PARENTS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INFORMED OF THE REAL SITUATION WE FACE. SCHOOL DISTRICT MANAGEMENT MUST DECIDE. WHY DO WE EVEN ASK SUCH A QUESTION WHEN WE ARE DOING SO POORLY? UNFORTUNATELY, SIMILAR HIGH RESULTS FOR WORKING LESS HARD IN POORLY PERFORMING STATES LIKE TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY AND SO ON, IS NOT POSSIBLE. ANYWHERE.
The graph below shows a twelve-year annual average of each high school also in Knox County, Tennessee with performance going nowhere but down. It is rather obvious that neither the state of Tennessee, nor this school district had any effective management controls, the right objectives and operating plans in place ever. Consider that the worst performing high schools spend more than twice as much money per student as the higher performing ones FOR TWELVE YEARS OR MORE, WITHOUT ANY IMPROVEMENT
. They just keep delivering lower ACT results year after year. What is the major contributor to this failure? The wrong or no academic objective, and 90% graduation rate. When you push children through high school when some may require a year or two more, you miss the important thing - their education. The result: lack of A HIGH ENOUGH ACT SCORE OBJECTIVE leads to poor employment for life. We spend more money per student in Knox County, Tennessee than the great majority of the top twenty countries in education, whose cost of living is higher. The poor results indicate that our money is not being spent on the right people and programs.
Our "ACT Readiness" is only 24-27% of those students who graduated with a diploma. What is the logic behind graduating 76% of the students who are NOT ACT Ready and therefore will not have a chance for any job in a few years? IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?
|The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
We do a poor job in education with one of the highest expenses per student in the world. That means that a large portion of the education money is not spent in the right places and on the right, well-trained people. Who are we helping with such an outrageous long-failing system for many decades? Not our children, not their teachers, not the quality of our workforce and therefore not our economy or country.
With the years passing, most job requirements and related education increased as robotics and software automation replaced lower level jobs, and as new technologies created new jobs. ACT changes one or more of the four benchmark target scores to define ACT Readiness accordingly. Such a trend will continue in the future, but faster. According to ACT, in Tennessee 83% of the graduating students (98% of black graduates), plus those who did not graduate, plus dropouts are not prepared to be trained for a job as of 2015. Nationally, 94% of black children (74% of all children) who earned a high school diploma, plus about 10% who attended but did not graduate, plus dropouts, were not prepared for anything other than close to minimum wage low skill jobs, and have no chance to finish even the first year of any tech/vocation training or college. ARE THESE ACCEPTABLE RESULTS? ONE WONDERS IF STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENTS AND ELECTED SCHOOL BOARDS UNDERSTAND THE HUGE PROBLEM THEY ARE CREATING BY NOT ACTING ON IT. Some people blame this on parents and poverty. But a 42 school system in New York City called Success Academy Schools takes ONLY poor, inner city black and hispanic children. They scored TOP ONE PERCENT in the NY State Common Core Tests, PASSING EVEN MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS!
They have a waiting list of more than 19,000 families! There are no inner city areas that are more difficult than Harlem in New York, where this school system started in 2006. The responsible people for the poor performance are the governors, the education subcommittees in legislature, the state boards of education, the departments of education and the elected district school boards. A very large percentage of our children will be replaced shortly by robots as a result of our poor public education, and because we did not fix our poor education a long time ago. We are not developing the great majority of children in our public schools (very few exceptions) for the future that they will face. We are creating soft, undisciplined and poorly educated children to face a tough world after high school. We are developing a huge powder keg that is about ready to blow up on us.
The above example is Tennessee's and its Knox County's performance. Look at the high percentage of high school graduates who are not prepared for more than minimum wage jobs. Add to them 10-15% of those who entered high school who did stay in school but did not graduate, and add about 5-7% dropouts. All of these children will be replaced by robots. These results are very bad, yet we, tax payers have to pay for these students as well. Our employers know this. Our politicians do nothing about raising the ACT scores. Our public school districts lie to the public about their own performance. The employers know that unless the education results become much better quickly in high schools, their only option to survive here is with robots, because American public education is not correcting the declining quality of education. Forget asking for more jobs. It is a good education that creates good jobs. We do not seem to care enough to improve our poor public education system. We need to improve with much higher results to produce graduates who meet employer and higher education needs with qualified graduates. That means 80% ACT readiness of a graduating class, and not just 24% or less. Spend more money on education? We don't think so. We have become the 5th highest spender per student, but internationally the quality of our graduates dropped to 40th place.
"Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle!"
In 2015 we had more than three million jobs we could not fill because our companies could not find well-educated potential candidates
(Click here for report
). Our schools need to understand that they are preparing a "product" called a student, who are required by the "customers" called employers and/or universities for further learning, to supply what employers need. The ACT is a test used by 59% of graduating high school students to show how well they are prepared for employment or further education. The poor ACT results indicate that no one in political leadership either cares or understands this fact and are doing nothing about it. It is totally unacceptable to spend $120,000 of the people's money MINIMUM per student for twelve years of education, 74% of whom are not ACT ready nationally to be trained for a job.
With robotics coming now to replace fast food and higher level jobs, the 74% unreadiness of high school graduates will rise. (Click here for report
Product and service competitiveness depends on the workforce's education.
At the upper end PhDs design and make the products...and they all depend on the quality of high school graduates they produce as a nation. With only 26% of the graduating high school students being ACT READY in the USA, we have been doing a very poor job having our children educated for many years, and Nanotechnology will have an additional major impact by 2020, requiring more education, impacting the great majority of jobs.
Our children's education declined, but robotic artificial intelligence (AI) passed average human intelligence in 2015 and their cost dropped below minimum wage. Fast food companies plan to automate every store fully. For example, McDonalds plans to replace 25,000 stores before end of 2017 or about 500,000 jobs. However, we are beginning to see robots that replace people with a graduate degree, e.g. new fighter plane pilots, nurse anesthetists and even anesthesiologists.
|What would you do if, in the only hospital available to you, 80% of patients became infected with an incurable debilitating infection and die? And your child is sick, requiring hospitalization. Would you be very concerned? This analogy is better than you think right now. Public schools are the only option for many. Considering dropouts, more than 80% of those children who enter public school in grade 9 are "dead" from the career point of view when leaving high school. You should be VERY concerned!|
We cannot expect teachers to do their best if they do not have full authority to deal with student discipline problems decisively on their own, and if they are loaded down with paperwork, too much testing to reduce their preparation and teaching time. Performance evaluations cannot be done 3-4 times a year without such evaluations being student results-based. After all the purpose of the teachers' and the schools' existence is to provide excellent internationally competitive education for our children. THAT IS NOT THE CASE TODAY. JUST LOOK AT OUR ACT OR SAT RESULTS.
It would be reasonable to expect that all 3.5 million children who graduated nationally from public high school with a regular diploma, would be (ACT) Ready for job training or further education. Unfortunately, 74% or 2.59 million of our graduating children are not ready each year, and we wasted more than 31 billion dollars per year covering covering their TWELVE YEARS SPENDING $372,000,000,000 to graduate children who are not ready (there is no adjustment to constant dollars because the twelve years of education could shift back or forward. These are very low conservative assumptions and the real cost will be higher). They will have minimum wage jobs for a couple of years and then...NOTHING. Robots will replace them. There are very few public high schools nationally who are exceptions. The public should be aware that private high school graduates have 85-99% readiness. But they cost $8,000-15,000 per year. Since the public pays for the poorly performing public schools, the public would deserve a voucher or tax credit in the entire amount of the public school average expense/year/student, if a parent wishes to have his/her child educated in a private school instead. We feel that we, the public deserve a good enough education for our children, that supports minimally a family of four, and improves each each year to make it possible for our children to qualify for the better jobs that new technologies will create. What the public does not deserve is for 2.59 million of its children nationwide to be sentenced to failure factories for schools EVERY SINGLE YEAR for whom we paid $130,000 constant dollars per child or $336.7 BILLION DOLLARS of the people's hard-earned tax dollars, and be ruined for life by the poor quality of public education.
Our progress as a
nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The
human mind is our fundamental resource.
John F. Kennedy
(1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA
There is a new development that most of the public does not know as of 2016. A new class of robots are starting to replace many low-end jobs in 2016, some of which require a college degree, not just a high school diploma. How do you think those 2.59 million children will survive, who are not prepared well enough each year?
|A third of a trillion dollars is an enormous amount of money that is wasted preparing children poorly, compared to many other nations. They cannot communicate properly and cannot even do basic math. We are one of the highest spenders per student in the world, and dropped to 40th in the world in performance. Just look at the numbers we are presenting. They are the government's numbers. How many decades do we need to wait and accept such a poor job that we, the public are paying for? We cannot afford to wait. We wasted a lot of money for more than four decades on these failure factories we call schools. We could change for the better. We need changes urgently.|
We have been competing worldwide for decades. Our education management, teaching methodology is about 100 years old. Others improved, especially after WWII. We dropped to 40th in high school math in the world in 2016 because we did not improve teacher preparation, the way we teach and manage school districts and schools, as many other countries did and passed us. If we want to learn about how to become better, look at how the best in the world are achieving their fabulous results, like Singapore and Finland. Study how they do everything in education and adopt their methods. Their methods are transferable to US culture. Then you will have an excellent chance for improvement in student results.|
We are enclosing here a comprehensive document from Finland, one of the best systems in education in the world. Try to read every page of every link in it. This is how the best countries in education plan and conduct the education of its citizens. Click here to read it.
AS TIME PASSES, THE WORLD IS GETTING "SMALLER", AND MORE INTEGRATED, MORE FAMILIAR WITH EACH OTHER'S CULTURE
We are moving toward faster technological changes, they bring with them faster job changes. Jobs replaced by automation at the low end, and many new jobs open - but they require more education. That means that the fundamental education children get in primary and secondary school needs to create a stronger much better foundation of knowledge than it has created to date. We need to teach at least as much as in the honors courses to all, not just in science and math with an expanded curriculum, but also with music and art to develop both hemispheres of the child’s brain. This is important for good decision making and creative thinking. We are talking about it, but we are not doing it.
We compete worldwide but we compare ourselves only to US results and US ideas. Our high school graduates dropped to 40th in math in the world.
Dropping to 40th in math when you are the fifth highest spender in the world per student, raises serious questions about how we spend our tax dollars to deliver such a poor result. What percentage of public school students who take the ACT in the US are ACT Ready upon graduation? ONLY 26%. What percentage should be ACT Ready? AT LEAST 80%, but preferably all students who graduate with a diploma should be ACT Ready. Since our high schools feed the workforce-needs of all industries, the poor high school output is destroying us from within.
|"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."
Some things have to make much better sense in school districts.|
Why don't we eliminate things that damage us?
Do more what helps us instead.
Attend a school board meeting. Notice what they spend time for: discussions, actions to be taken or board approvals for spending, awards, thank you's. Our ACT results are dismal. NO TIME IS SPENT AT BOARD MEETINGS ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE OUR POOR ACADEMIC RESULTS, WHO SHOULD TAKE WHAT ACTIONS AT ALL MANAGEMENT LEVELS IN EACH SCHOOL AND IN CENTRAL MANAGEMENT TO RAISE OUR ACT RESULTS 5-10% EACH YEAR. ISN'T THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK FOR AN ELECTED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD AND SUPERINTENDENT?
Please look at the above chart with the ten-year ACT results. Four out of five of our children graduated from high school, but not ready, not well prepared for job training or further education. Couple that with software and robotic automation coming in 2016 and very few with only our existing high school education will survive unless we raise the ACT Readiness from the current 16-24% of regular diplomas to 80% minimum. Isn't this the most important thing by far that a board and superintendent should achieve? Private schools produce 90-99% ACT readiness. Yet the public school board gave excellent performance reviews to the superintendent for seven years when his ACT performance was, like you see on the graph, poor. Is this satisfactory public school performance? You may disagree but we do not think so.
Very small percent of public high schools produce good results that will ensure our children's financial survival. Most of the public became aware of this fact starting from the 1990's that our high school graduates cannot communicate, read and write in English properly and cannot even do basic math. Public schools are not improving enough but slowly becoming worse as of 2016, and their comments indicate that they do not want to change. They present arguments against charter schools, vouchers, and tax credits that allow parents to have a choice of better schools for their children to have a better life. Such articles many times misstate the the facts (example: Kentucky op ed. Kentucky's education performance is very close to Tennessee's). An answer to such articles may be: "If you are better, why worry about charter schools?" Employers are very concerned about whether or not they will have well enough trained workforce, and robotics will satisfy that need. See Kentucky example above.
Why are we pushing high school students in Tennessee to graduate from high school and give them a diploma when 76% of them with a diploma are ready only for a close to minimum-wage job that robots will replace in a few years? WE ARE RUINING THEIR LIVES BY PUSHING THEM TO GRADUATE INSTEAD OF PUSHING THEM TO HIGHER STANDARDS. And our school boards talk about EXCELLENCE FOR ALL CHILDREN?! Recommendation: Does it make sense to push children to graduate 90% of them, when 76% of the "graduates" are not ACT Ready or not prepared for more than a short term minimum wage job? Give them a year or two additional education to ensure that they are prepared. For example, do not promote them to the next grade in grade 4 if their Math and Reading scores are not up to what they should be. The state requirement is pushing you? Look at the state's ACT performance in the chart. Appeal the "advice" to graduate 90%. What no one wants are the enormous expenses associated with developing an ACT ready graduate above, plus the social expenses associated with students who are not ACT Ready for the rest of their lives. We need to restore diplomas in the eyes of employers that they can depend on.
Why are we constantly raising education expenses when we are the 5th highest spender per student in the world and dropped to 40th in education results? When the results are bad, like in our schools, the money is not being spent in the right places on well qualified employees. As an example, we funded high schools on the bottom of ACT readiness. We allocated those poorly performing high schools more than twice the per student dollars, than what we allocated to higher performing high schools, AND WE DID IT FOR MORE THAN TWELVE YEARS! Their ACT results continued down. Is this the wise way to spend the people's money? How about visiting Singapore, Canada, Finland and Success Academy Schools in NYC to find out how they are achieving superior results for less money than what we spend and change the way we have been educating our children for the past hundred years! It would cost only $12,000 to take four board members/principals in combination to send them there for 7-10 days. We spend half a billion annually and produce very poor results. How about making a needed, small investment to figure out what should be changed, because the state of Tennessee with its worse results never even thought about this possibility, while wasting many billions each year.
Since our poor results come out of our classrooms, how about finding out in high performing countries why their teachers and assistant teachers have at minimum a Master's degree in the subject that they teach instead of a BA general teaching degree or less as we have? Their teachers are tested to ensure that they are a good match for the teaching profession, they are highly motivated, treated well by management, given total authority over the classroom without interference, have less paper work than we do, have much less classroom hours so that they have time for continuing education and classroom preparation, and have results that would be in an average ACT score range of 28-31. Why don't we do that? How about learning how state and school district management needs to behave and treat those who are to produce good results? How about finding out what teachers do in Finland to be perfectly prepared for teaching, to be trusted to deliver the great results with a free hand?
We would love to see an explanation why, common job functions need to be totally duplicated with management people between the school system and the County's Management office, when they are both located in the same city. It makes no operational sense. It is more expensive and it aids only the development of political differences of key management functions separating the subordinate organization (Education District) from the main organization (County Management). Such functions are HR, Accounting, Finance, IT, and Technical Support just to name a few.
Could anyone explain in political or education leadership why it is acceptable to award a diploma to a high school graduate who is not ACT ready? 76% (84% in Tennessee) of graduates with a diploma are not ACT ready meaning that they are not prepared for anything but close to minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots in a few years. Why are such schools unchanged and remain open, when there are examples of school systems that deliver close to 100% well-prepared children with a diploma who can have a productive life?
Does such education management care enough about our children, is interested in or knows what the best education systems in the world are doing better than we do, in order to improve? Would this be happening if they cared? Do such results show that the superintendents and elected board members know what to do? WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Tennessee (TN) set an average ACT objective in 2007, for only a score of 21 to be achieved by 2020, more than 10 years later. People do that when they have no confidence in doing something. A 21 average ACT score represents today ONLY 26-27% (ACT Readiness) of a graduating class with a diploma having ONLY A CHANCE to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college. 73-74% of the graduating class is not ready along with dropouts and those who stayed in high school but did not graduate. One cannot achieve good results with low expectations and pushing to graduate instead of pushing learning and graduate only when ACT's benchmark is passed with ACT Readiness. Why graduate people who are not ready to survive and earn income and will be dependent on social support for decades because our schools failed them? People are more likely to rise to high expectations. When a school district picks low expectation objectives like a 21 ACT score, THAT IS MORE THAN 10 YEARS AWAY, you have a board and superintendent who have no idea how to achieve good results. Why are our education standards so low that we cannot produce 80% minimum ACT Readiness instead of 26% among our high school graduates? Look at Finland whose methods overcome even most learning disabilities.
BLOATED CENTRAL MANAGEMENT - A BIG PROBLEM
This is a huge problem-creator in large business organizations. The same in large education districts, but it goes unrecognized. There are many smart and well paid employees in Central Management. They notice when their job is not needed, and embark on activities to justify their survival. The easiest for them is to go fault finding all over the organization. If top management is not management experienced, which is common in education districts, such excess employees create a multitude of internal problems politically. There are specific organizational operating ratios that define the maximum size of central management. They exist in education management as well, and we present those standards here as well. One source is the American Association of School Administrators. The other is the the result of a research project under Dr. Allan Ornstein, dean of the Graduate School Of Education at St. John's University, an excellent private university in New York City. Both are presented below. Dr. Ornstein wrote more than 50 books on education management exclusively, and published more than 2,000 research papers on the subject.
Keep central management small (less than 1% of total school district employees), and delegate as much decision making to the individual school principals as possible to increase the ACT results. There are two formal references for this. One is the American Association of School Administrators, read it here: "Consider the actual staffing pattern in public schools. U.S. Department of Education data show that total central-office administrative and professional staff represent less than 1 percent of the total staff of public school districts. Principals and assistant principals add only another 2.4 percent to this figure, according to data published by the National Center for Education Statistics". Decades of history shows that our bloated central management did not achieve any improvement in the poor results. It would make good sense to transfer the excess millions of dollars spent in central management to improve education in the schools, as soon as possible.
The other authority about the size of Central Administration is Dr. Allan C. Ornstein's Research on Education Management below.
The actual pages of the referenced book can be examined here for the second reference
by clicking here.
All Central Management employees, meaning all school district employees who do not work for a school and whose performance evaluation is not performed by a school principal or the principal's staff, should not exceed 1% (one percent) of the school district's total employees. The Knox County, Tennessee school district exceeds this limit by more than eight times! Such an increase represents many millions of dollars that could be producing better results in the classrooms.
These references are based on USA averages. It should be remembered that the USA dropped to 40th place in the world in 2015, and that makes us significantly less efficient than the top 10 nations in education. They are managing with much smaller central management, than what is recommended by the American Association of School Administrators.
Between 1995 and 2014 Knox County, Tennessee students increased only 14% but administrators increased 130%. The spending would have been more appropriate in the classrooms. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Administrators hire people to work for them. The real increase ends up 650-900% if they hire 4-6 people per administrator for only a 14% increase in students. However, with this huge increase in management, the ACT results dropped like a stone setting an all time low record in 2013 with a score of 20.2! ACT Readiness reports indicate that as a result more than 80% (statewide 89%, nationally 76%!) of those students who enter 9th grade are ready only for minimum wage employment, the types of jobs that will disappear. It is common knowledge in management that if you increase management numbers beyond standard operating ratios, managers (administrators) will start justifying their management positions by actually creating problems generally through fault finding, interference with other areas, playing politics because real objectives do not exist. Such efforts hurt results.
This huge percentage of management increase was not reversed to this day, and it did absolutely nothing but cost a lot of money
! So...money is being shifted away from the classroom producing poorly prepared children in large numbers. Management overhead was increased purposefully, but the results dropped like a stone. I am sorry, but the wisdom with which the public's money and these decisions appear to be handled by boards and superintendents is mind boggling. No one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up and reverse such foolish spending.
THERE ARE MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CENTRAL MANAGEMENT WHO ARE NOT INCREASING THE LOW ACT SCORES. SUCH RESOURCES CAN BE CONVERTED FOR USE WHERE THE RESULTS ARE COMING FROM: THE SCHOOLS. SAME IN CASE OF A SCHOOL THAT DELIVERS VERY POOR PERFORMANCE FOR DECADES, WITH LESS THAN 10% OF ITS GRADUATES BEING READY FOR JOB TRAINING EVERY YEAR, WHEN ONE IS SPENDING MORE THAN DOUBLE PER STUDENT. WE CANNOT KEEP WASTING THE MONEY FOR DECADES IF ITS PRINCIPAL AND ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS CANNOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE WITHIN TWO-THREE YEARS. DOESN'T THAT TELL US THAT MANAGEMENT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM? DOESN'T THAT TELL US THAT MANAGEMENT HAS NO IDEA HOW TO MOTIVATE THE STUDENTS AND THE TEACHERS? SUCH MANAGEMENT ALWAYS FEELS THAT MONEY IS THE SOLUTION - AND IT IS NOT THE SOLUTION.
Fix the above presented situations that do not make any sense.
We are using Tennessee as an example with more details. However, the problem with US public education is the same everywhere, for the same reasons, slightly better in most states and slightly worse in a few other states.
"Learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change.
And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn."
Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Father of 21st Century Management By Objectives
ACT (or SAT depending on the state) IS THE BEST INDICATOR OF THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR CHILDREN'S PUBLIC EDUCATION
Look at the above graph. In 2006, ACT indicated that their empirical research (comparing ACT scores to jobs or additional education the student was able to obtain some years after taking the ACT) shows that college entrance and workforce training have the same requirement in English and math from 2006 onward. That has changed over the years, because ACT started using a four-subject benchmark test for READINESS, plus university degrees in engineering and science require a higher ACT score in mathematics than the ACT Readiness benchmark in mathematics. ACT defined the additional benchmarks for and definition of "Career (job) and College Readiness", that indicates what CHANCE (not a guarantee) the ACT READY child has to finish the first year only of a college or tech/vocational school. Those who are NOT ACT READY (and DO NOT meet all four subject benchmarks) do not have a chance to finish the first year of any tech/vocational or college program and will have spotty minimum wage employment for a limited time. Robotics will replace them. Passing only one benchmark means that the student does have a chance only to finish the college freshman version of the same subject only as the benchmark that the student passed. However, in addition, the robotic technologies that many US companies have already contracted by 2016 will replace them rapidly.
Some of the new robotic applications are replacing jobs FOR THE FIRST TIME that require more than a college degree (anesthesia robots, already installed in some hospitals, however some robots that are involved in healthcare will have slower growth because of public acceptance). We will see more of such applications within a year. Artificial intelligence passed average human levels in 2015 and it is growing faster. Under these circumstances, those who graduate from high school even ACT Ready, will not be employable within a couple of years at most, unless we increase both the high school curriculum and increase the material within each course of the curriculum significantly, and increase the teachers' subject knowledge to Master's level and improve teaching methodologies, to the same level where the top performing international education systems are.
With the above poor results - just think about this for a moment: we have poor ACT performance leaving most children behind.
- Investigating how the best school systems achieve their results worldwide is NEVER discussed in board meetings to improve what we do.
- School board members never take ANY TIME at school board meetings to discuss and plan how we could improve our poor ACT scores.
Do you think they are interested in doing better? The evidence is not encouraging.
A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Lenin (1870 - 1924)
THE PUBLIC PAYS THE HIGH INCREASING PUBLIC EDUCATION COST. THEY DESERVE THE TRUTH AND BETTER SCHOOLS WITH A MUCH HIGHER ACT READINESS.
One cannot solve a problem long by covering it up, or by "packaging" it in good news for those who are paying for it, the public. Unless...those in charge don't want to or don't know how to solve it.
"A half-truth is a whole lie” is a popular proverb that has been directed at newspapers and politicians since the 1880s. However, the majority in public education management beat them all. For example in the Knox County School District, Tennessee, 76% of those who graduated with a diploma in 2015 are prepared only for a close to minimum wage job. They will not even have a chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college per ACT. A new generation of robotics will replace them in a few years.
At the same time the superintendent published everywhere, including on his letterhead, that we provide "Excellence for all children" and knowingly and purposefully told the public that "We are doing well, a strong B performance, but we have room to improve". It was a lie about actual school performance. Tennessee did celebrate the highest growth in the USA in 4th and 8th grade NAEP test scores one year...but we were still below the USA average, which we did not mention. Nor did we mention the fact that Knox County did not even take the test, yet some people and foundations partnering with this school district used it as if they did and this was a county achievement. We as a country should also consider that we dropped very significantly from other nations to 40th place in mathematics. In 2013, the same school district set an all time low average ACT score record at 20.2. The ACT is the most important test. It shows what our children learned from grade one to twelve. No one said a word to anyone about the all time low ACT score in 2013. The bad news and the complete truth was and is ignored. Anything that sounds good is published by the school district communications group. What the public gets is a lie, when all this poor education and the lies about their results are created with the public's hard-earned tax dollars within the education budget.
TCAP state test results for Tennessee show approximately double the score of the national ACT or NAEP tests, because they are much easier tests. The TCAP's rigor or toughness was 58% lower than the ACT. In other words, the much easier state test shows much higher grades, putting into good light performance that is a disastrous failure. As a result, we hurt a very large percentage of graduating children who are not ready for a meaningful job or for more education without two years of full time remedial courses.
Praising and calling a superintendent a Miracle Maker with our TCAP results is not a true representation of the actual results for which the public is paying with their hard-earned tax dollars. Frankly, one would reasonably expect a more truthful representation made to the public in an article like the one below, by any journalist or especially an editor or publisher of any newspaper. The ideals and standards of journalists have changed unfortunately.
All the above shows a planned, willful and purposeful misrepresentation of the truth, to create an impression that the school district is doing well, when, in fact, it is doing very poorly according to ACT's impartial job training and college readiness figures. The misrepresentation starts with the Boards and superintendents of school districts who are not telling the entire truth. The public is paying for it. The public is misinformed PURPOSEFULLY with partial truth using the easy tests that provide higher grades. Tennessee is changing those tests in 2016-2017.
THE SHOCKING COST OF ONE CAREER AND COLLEGE READY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE'S EDUCATION WITH A REGULAR DIPLOMA
One will not survive at minimum wage. With robotics taking the low paying jobs, those not ACT Ready cannot survive. If 80% of graduates are not ACT Ready, then eight out of ten high school graduates will not make it under robotic pressure in the job market. But we will be paying for the education of all ten in our example. Therefore the expense of developing one ACT Ready graduate will actually cost five times as much as one graduate. The average per student cost in Tennessee is above $10,000 per year including capital and interest expenses. We will assume $10,000 for easy calculation. For twelve years the cost of educating one student is $120,000. Remember that we pay for all students. Those students who do not test ACT Ready, will be short term minimum wage material. Therefore the cost of 12 years of education for those who leave high school who are not ACT Ready, becomes part of the cost of all those students' education who ARE ACT ready. to be trained for a job or go on to college. We spent $10,000 per student in 2016 in Knox County, Tennessee that included almost all education-related expenses. These expenses are rising every year. This is the public's money - our tax dollars. Under these conditions, the 12-13 year MINIMUM cost of one career (job) or college ready high school graduate, with a regular high school diploma is sky high, because we also pay for those students who dropped out and those who did earn a regular diploma, who are not career or college ready according to ACT. THAT makes the cost of one ACT Ready student in specific demographic areas as high as presented hereunder, because of the ACT Readiness percentage in a specific demographic area is so low. We did not consider inflation adjustment on these dollars because the twelve year education could be spreading to the past (less $) or future (more $) in different degrees, and the future ACT Readiness may vary up or down.
One ACT Ready Black Student: $3,960,000
One ACT Ready Hispanic Student: $1,200,000
One ACT Ready Average Student: $600,000
If All Students Were Ready Like In The Top Ten Nations In Education
One ACT Ready Student would cost: $120,000 - $140,000
...because we also have to pay for the many students who are not prepared and ready in the same demographic group.
If 75-98% of those students who earned a regular diploma (plus dropouts, and those who "finished" high school but did not earn a diploma) are not ready to be trained for a job, then our diplomas are worthless - and they are. So why push a 90% graduation rate? That means very low income for the majority of those entering our high schools with increasing unemployment and a huge negative impact upon our economy for lack of a well-trained workforce.
Recommendation: Do not push children to graduate 90% of them, when 76% of the "graduates" are not ACT Ready or not prepared for more than a short-term minimum wage job. Give them a year or two additional education to ensure that they are prepared. For example, do not promote them to the next grade in grade 4 if their Mathematics and Reading scores are not up to what they should be. The state requirement for graduation is pushing you? Look at the state's ACT performance in the chart. How are they doing with education results? Appeal the "advice" to graduate 90%. What no one wants are the enormous expenses associated with developing an ACT ready graduate above, plus the social expenses associated with students who are not ACT Ready for the rest of their lives. It would be more beneficial if we prepared students in pre-school and elementary school well enough so that 80% graduates from high school in twelve years ACT Ready. Do not promote students to the next grade if they are not ready. Investigate how well Success Academy Schools perform in NYC with all poor inner city black children! Top 1% passing even private schools! In Tennessee 98% of the black children do poorly. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT THE WAY WE TEACH THEM IN TENNESSEE.
THERE ARE MANY JOBS - WE JUST DO NOT HAVE WELL ENOUGH EDUCATED CANDIDATES FOR THEM.
In the USA, 74% of our schools are public schools, 22% are private schools and 4% are charter schools a form of public schools also. The lower skill manufacturing jobs have been disappearing to robotic and software automation for more than two decades. More and more low-end jobs will be replaced by robotics and many new jobs will open with new technologies faster and faster, but they will require more education on the high school level, not just what we know as job training. There were more than three million jobs open in 2015, that could not be filled because employers were not finding candidates with the education that they needed for such jobs. Such new jobs will require a much better education coming out of high school than what public schools deliver today. The stories about good education are true only with very few public schools. What's going to happen to our children? THREE OUT OF FOUR OF OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND TODAY IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN ADDITION TO DROPOUTS. What is going to happen to our state and country? I fear the answer to this question.
The poorly educated workforce, mostly untrainable (80% per ACT), is a major concern of corporations who are paying most of the taxes. To do well, they need a well-trained workforce. They are holding onto cash instead of hiring. To survive, they will have to expand elsewhere or move entirely, or depend on the new generation of robots. This trend just started happening. Expect such changes happening here on a much larger scale. We will not survive the poor objectives and lack of a professional annual operating plans on the school district management level.
It is common in high performing nations to hire teachers who have a Master’s degree in the subject that they would teach, come from the top ten percent of their Master's major, and then they send them back to grad school for learning the latest in teaching methodologies and in some cases diagnosing learning disabilities as well. US teachers come from the bottom third of four-year college programs that are the easiest.
The graph above shows a demographic breakdown of the unreadiness percentage of those who graduated from high school nationally. The results are horrible nationally because all states and school districts operate the same way with poor objectives and poor plans. You are looking at a powder keg, that is about to blow up. Our employers must go to robotics, because our graduates not only cannot do the job, they are poorly educated, and they have a bad attitude. If they do not go to robotics, they have to leave and go to where the workforce is better trained - or close the business and no one will be employed. But...in New York City there is a charter school chain with 42 schools in 2016, that started with one school in 2006. They are called Success Academy Schools. This school is scoring top one percent passing even most private schools in the entire State of New York WITH POOR BLACK AND HISPANIC INNER CITY CHILDREN! Anyone with such high performance will have plenty of critics. Misbehaving children who disturb entire classes are gone. So are teachers who do not meet their high standards. Guess what the public wants? They want their child to have an excellent education and future. Obviously our traditional public schools have no idea how to provide excellent education to our children of ANY COLOR, and the states are not doing anything about it! They know however, how to spend more money each year than the majority of the top performing twenty nations in education. What do you think will happen when robotics will dump 50-80% of our children on the streets because they have been poorly trained in our public schools? This is very likely to happen by 2020-2021.
The countries that passed us in education, teach significantly more advanced material per subject per year than we do. Unless we bring up both teacher and student knowledge with a tougher curriculum and life-time education for degrees that are in demand, we will not be economically competitive against robotics in problem solving, critical thinking, decision making and job skills by 2025. Poor results shown in the above charts are unacceptable. In Knox County, Tennessee, and in many other school districts and states, we just keep dumbing down the population with the poor results from our public schools, as the elected school boards keep giving themselves and the superintendents an excellent performance review for the poor performance, and increasing education spending every year.
As a remedy, some governors announced a free two year college program after high school, that will cost more money and will not solve the problem of declining education, because:
- We do not take advantage of the fastest brain development that occurs under six years of age with an effective pre-school program,
- We are not improving and increasing knowledge in K12 education and are not correcting behavior and attitude problems that developed during those formative years. We are not correcting the fundamental K12 problem that limits young people's brain in how much they can achieve for 12-13 years of K12 schooling,
- We are enabling only some remedial education with the free two-year college, to get closer to the low state standard of today. This does not solve the problems of the K-12 education shortcomings that became set in concrete in our children during the formative years. Yet we will have to pay a higher rate for the additional two years, without fixing what caused the problem in K-12.
- It would be more effective for the people's money to fix some basic areas within K-12 education to solve the poor performance problem, such as:
- Raise expectations with a measurable objective, such as an ACT score objective that is 5-10% higher than the actual ACT score achieved the previous year,
- Create an annual operating plan that simply specifies a monthly year-to-date GPA objective that is minimum 10% above the prior year's monthly year-to-date GPA for all management people and for all teachers. There has to be many years of GPA history available per student. Based on them, an average GPA baseline could be established for at minimum covering the preceding 3 years, using this baseline GPA for every class in any subject before the class starts, and measuring against this baseline GPA what individual teachers achieve at the end of the school year as an average class GPA.
- There must be a fair assessment of what teachers achieve in average GPA increase beyond the baseline GPA that reflects their class members actual performance for the past three years. Teachers are not treated well compared to the high performing international school systems. They must be treated fairly, and to that end some state laws will need to be changed to allow them to do their best with high morale.
Our governors, state departments of education and the elected school district boards managed to develop FAILURE FACTORIES nationwide with their inaction instead of good results, through incompetence in management, with weaker teacher training, limiting teachers' authority and preparation time with unproductive tasks. Teacher morale is low. The higher performing countries require teacher candidates to have a master's degree in the subject that they will teach, they are tested for suitability for the teaching profession, and must continue to update their education every year in teaching methodologies and subject knowledge. We do not seem to be interested in learning from the top performing countries. When one dropped from the top to 40th in the world (and our example state, Tennessee, is much lower than that), one does not have the experience to come up with a winning methodology to become one of the best based only on USA experience in education. No wonder we have poverty problems. We don't even recognize that our dropping education results dumbed us down for 45+ years, weakening our work force, creating more poverty plus a huge problem for employers, who have only two options to survive: move to areas with a better-trained workforce, or replace low-end jobs with robotics.
McDonalds decided in 2015 to replace 25,000 stores totally with robotics by end of 2017, so did Wendy's and many others. Robots were announced in 2016 to replace anesthesia nurses whose education goes well beyond high school. We better improve education very quickly by focusing on ACT score objectives and learning as much as possible from the highest performing countries in education about how they are achieving their fabulous results. The result for us will be increasing social problems with the unemployed. There will be no money to solve them, because our national income has been struggling for ten years at breakeven only. All of this happened because the poor high school education output weakened the workforce in all industries, from the low end jobs, up to and including PhD's. For several decades now foreign students made up 50% of the PhD's we needed for research and development, but for the past few years many are returning to their home countries because they find better opportunities there.
THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE...
...WHEN WE NEED THIS!!
WHY ARE WE ONE OF THE HIGHEST SPENDERS PER STUDENT IN THE WORLD DELIVERING ONE OF THE WORST EDUCATION RESULTS AMONG INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES?
School districts do not identify all education spending for the public to see. We try to do that and relate the approved budget to it although the approved budget itself does not include all education-related expenses. We would advocate the board of education being fully responsible for a budget that includes ALL education-related expenses.
The "Current" budget is approved at the beginning of the school year. It excludes certain education-related expenses, like capital and interest expenses, legal and other expenses that are co-mingled hidden in different county cost centers. That means that we do not know exactly how much we spend on public education. A special investigative audit, called a forensic audit would be the efficient way to identify ALL education related spending.
The "Current" budget is overspent 15-18% every single year (2008-2014), and we get the above poor results for it. The state publishes the Grand Total Education Expense Spent in the same school district, that is overspent 28-38% every year beyond the approved budget, including the capital and interest expenses covering school renovations and new schools that the education department decides to renovate or build respectively, but excluding them from the budget they present. Even the Grand Total doesn't include all education-related expenses. All this points to another very important thing that is not being done: ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING, AND PRESENTING TO THE PUBLIC ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL-RELATED EXPENSES. It is the school system that initiates or causes all such expenses, but they do not have responsibility for the outcome. This is not a good way to manage to success.
ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING means that the budget being prepared for all departments identifies first all actions that they will have to take during the coming year to improve results and reach a specific performance objective. Then each department and school puts the budget together for themselves on that basis. That is how one can make sure that any surprises are minimized for the coming year, and it is an important part of planning and creating an operating plan for the coming year only. Poor planners do a quick and easy way, called INCREMENTAL BUDGET PLANNING in which one looks at what one spent last year, and modifies it by adding or subtracting amounts that one just guesses without planning. For small organizations that total less than 100 employees one can do that. For larger organizations, the end result is overspending beyond the approved budget every year, and that is what is happening in Knox County, Tennessee and in many other school districts. When one starts putting together multi-year plans, like the five year plan, it just does not make sense because too many unanticipated things will be changing each year that no one can predict that far ahead. Therefore in well-managed operations one sees zero-based budget planning for a ONE-YEAR OPERATING PLAN, based on which the spending can be managed accurately. That is what well management schooled and experienced superintendents do.
When one sees a five year plan, that looks beautiful with color charts and pictures, with simply a fixed percentage increase on some activities every year, and then adds a tenth year result that looks just OK, no serious planning went into that plan. The superintendent in such a case prepared a "selling document only", it is always a beautiful colorful document, but without any serious planning. Five years are too long. Too many things can change even within a year. What many school districts do not have is a one year operating plan where there is a measurable performance goal like an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved, and measurable objectives are defined for every management and supervisory position in every single school and in central management. One cannot achieve good results with only titles. The Five Year Strategic Plans of the Knox County, TN superintendent, James McIntyre were good examples of this.
The Knox County, Tennessee school district has an unusually large PR group as of 2015 whose planning and execution on any action they target is excellent. They do not report all of the news. They report only what looks good, creating a positive image in the eyes of the public. As a result, the public is unaware how poorly their children are prepared in our public schools.
One sees significant additional money requests annually from the board of education, with two big problems.
- They are never tied to a plan to show how much they will raise the ACT results that count. The promises are endless.
- Most such programs do not produce any improvement in the ACT scores. However, the amount approved one year just keeps included every year thereafter and no one questions it. It is sad how the people's hard-earned tax dollars are wasted in education without any improvement in results.
HIDING BAD RESULTS FROM THE PUBLIC
"A half-truth is a whole lie” is a popular proverb that’s been directed at newspapers and politicians since the 1880s.
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Lenin
"Present good news to the public and repeat often, no matter how insignificant it is. Do not present the bad news to the public, no matter how important it is" - Goebels and Hitler
All these methods are used in most PR organizations in school districts.
We overspend the people's money every year in education in Knox County, Tennessee and produce one of the worst results at the same time within the USA. Internationally, we dropped to 40th place in math, a new all time low record - that's the bottom of the
industrialized countries. Our education spending per student is the fifth highest in the world. Our school districts are always pushing for more money as the solution to fix the poor results. We also do not identify for the public all of the money we spend
on education. Some such moneys are commingled with non-education related expenses and hidden in different cost centers. I think that the public who is paying for the poor results and high expense levels deserves to get a detailed accounting of how much money
we really spend on education-related expenses.
We need a forensic audit to identify exactly where the money went and why it was not getting to the right place in the school district, destroying most of our children's employability, our workforce and our economy as a result.
Proposed programs costing additional tens of millions of dollars in each state by school district management, did not and do not deliver higher act or sat scores. They are the only tests that show the real end of high school results.Could these kinds of ineffective actions be accidental after more than 40 years? No, they cannot and they require uniform statewide control via laws.
More than 30 states cut back education spending since 2008. See
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4011. Even with such reductions in spending, the US is the fifth largest spender per student among the industrialized countries, with the lowest academic performance among those nations.
All things are possible - if one is smart.
The chart below shows very poor expense management without any reasonable monthly control per school that disregards the approved budget with overspending without any recourse and with poor academic results.
No report covers all expenses going into education, although the state report covers significantly more in its Tennessee Education Statistical Report for each year than the Knox County education district itself.
The problem is that when board members look at a chart like this they do not recognize poor results or excessive spending. Most of them do not understand what not being ACT Ready means, and most importantly do not understand how robotics will impact all children who are not ACT Ready, and within just a few years will be impacting some jobs that require training beyond high school. Most board members do not want to learn and do not question the superintendent about academic results and spending vs. objective or budget every month at board meetings. In our opinion two questions are vital in managing poorly performing education districts. THESE TWO QUESTIONS need to be answered monthly:
Neither of these is presented or discussed.
- How are we doing with the most important academic results (e.g., annual ACT and monthly year-to-date GPA) year-to-date vs. plan in every school and the school district, and
- How much money are we spending per school and project, year-to-date vs. the approved budget.
WE ARE FACING FOUR MAJOR THREATS AS A NATION CREATED BY POOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
MAJOR THREAT NO. 1 is to our national security (most importantly as a result of cyber warfare), that requires very well educated soldiers, civilians, operators and developers for tools, "weapons", and decision making. Everything is computer controlled for operational and economic reasons. Our electric power grid could be hacked and disabled or destroyed by a better educated enemy. Our technology developments and designs for vitally important things that cost us billions to discover/develop could be hacked and stolen free by a better educated enemy. Intelligent weapons require very well educated soldiers to use them correctly, educated beyond high school. We need a healthy economy (money) to be able to develop the best well-educated people to defend ourselves and to improve our economy. That makes our failing education strategically the most important problem that we must correct. We must change many things like our immigration laws and practices, but most of all, we must improve greatly the poor education of our children urgently. This is how a third world war would begin today, and this kind of activity already started.
See: Our educational decline has been jeopardizing our national security.
MAJOR THREAT NO. 2 is the impact of poor public education on the entire population since 1970. In 2015 74% of all US high school graduates was prepared only for minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robotics within just a few years, because these students cannot do even the simple jobs as required. WE HAVE BUILT A HUGE POWDER KEG BY IGNORING PUBLIC EDUCATION PERFORMANCE. The most dangerous in domestic affairs and education is black student performance, with 95% not being ready for any but minimum wage jobs when graduating from high school nationally (98% in Tennessee). WE HAVE CREATED THE FUSE FOR THE POWDER KEG AND WE ARE IGNORING IT. We blame parents when our school performance is poor with all students. Many black students deal with more poverty and single parents than others. Granted that we saw US education dropping since 1970 and that reduced the job required knowledge of today's parents, in turn reducing their family incomes. As far as bad inner city environments are concerned, Harlem and others in New York are probably the worst in the country. However, a 42-school charter school in New York City's inner city areas produces top 1% results (Success Academy Schools) with the New York State Common Core tests statewide, beating even most private schools, without parental help. They are achieving this with poor inner city black and some Hispanic children since 2009! They have mostly primary schools, now beginning to open middle schools, with plans for high schools as the middle schools start delivering. Why are we not producing the same great result? Why are we not visiting Success Academy Schools to learn how they are doing it? Or better yet, Finland. We should be ashamed of ourselves for the black and Hispanic students' results, for not doing anything to improve it. Instead, the above poor results like 98% of black students not being ready when graduating from high school, very foolishly builds a big fuse for the "powder keg" by not learning from the high performers how to teach successfully any demographic group. Not only we produce terrible results for an entire class, school or school district creating at least 3 out of 4 students not being prepared, but we are destroying the future of almost all black children, when an example in New York and especially Finland clearly shows that THEY CAN DO FAR BETTER THAN WE ARE DOING NOW.
MAJOR THREAT NO. 3 is to our economy. We compete worldwide with our products and services in all industries. People and companies buy products and services based on their quality and cost. That in turn depends on how well educated each company's workforce is, from research and development PhD's through sales and service, down to manufacturing/production. How well the high school graduates are educated in any company of any country is the most important gateway to a high quality workforce that can create and make/provide the most competitive products and services worldwide. Internationally we dropped to 40th in high school mathematics, and dropped in other subjects as well. That in turn weakened our workforce, weakened our product and service competitiveness, and that lowered our national income and tax income. We have lost entire industries to international competition. Initially we lost to lower labor cost, but after a few years they lowered their cost by robotic automation on a larger scale than we did. For example, China is replacing one million workers in one huge electronics company with robotics to improve quality in 2016-2017. We have been under 3% national income for ten years now, our national debt rose to TWENTY TRILLION dollars in 2016, on which we have to pay many TRILLIONS in interest. 3% is not a gain. It is only a break even level with current expenses. High school education must be improved very significantly to reverse this dangerous trend, and find a solution for those undereducated in the past who will be replaced by robotics with job suitability testing, education for the best job so indicated, and help to get those jobs.
MAJOR THREAT NO. 4 is to a large percentage (60-80%) of high school graduates and today's workforce. New technologies will arrive faster and faster, offering new employment opportunities. The new jobs will require more education in addition to job retraining. The problem is that today's high school graduates did not receive enough education that would lay a proper foundation for the new jobs. With such fast changes, education becomes a life time learning effort, which would require a large amount of remedial education to start the new technology-related education for jobs. Unfortunately, our high schools have done a very poor job during the last four decades, making the learning of new jobs based on new technologies impossible for most.
If we wish to save this sinking ship, we must focus not only the school districts, but every single school with a monthly, year-to-date academic objective. We need ACT score school district objectives that are 5-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved, and we must also have monthly year-to-date academic objectives (e.g., GPA) in every management and supervisory position in every single school and central management that support the achievement of the ACT objective.
SPECIAL NOTE: For the past twenty years many people were of the opinion that the central management of the Knox County, Tennessee school district was bloated. We found two standards published about what the maximum size of central management should be. One is the research projects of Dr. Allan Ornstein, Dean, St. John's University's Graduate School of Education in New York City. The other was presented in a letter by the American Association of School Administrators. They both agree that central management administrators and their support staff should not exceed one percent (approximately 90) of the total employees of the Knox County, Tennessee school system (approximately 9,000). The said school district's own published headcount for Central Management has been between 300 and 400 people or three to four times the normal size. In view of this huge difference, we requested under the Tennessee Open Records Act a list of school district employees, who are neither directed or performance reviewed by a school's principal or said principal's chain of command within his/her school. That number is above 1300, or 12% of total employees, six times normal, but we need to examine its organizational structure to decide what the real size of Central Management is. When we know the answer, we will publish it here. There is no question that Central Management is bloated. The question is how bloated it is.
Personal income levels depend on a person's education, if his/her education specialty is in demand by employers. Poverty is increasing but no one ties it to education's decline. But we certainly tie poor school performance to poverty. It is not a good idea to scream for jobs when one does not have education in a field that is in demand. But there is no screaming for a turnaround in quality of education, to provide a sound foundation in high school to ensure future employment for our children and grandchildren.
WHAT WE MUST DO TO IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION URGENTLY
But we are not sure that our political leaders want to improve it because they have not done it in 46 years
The Problems To Be Solved And Methods That Solve Them
|"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."|
The Public Is Not Getting The Truth About How Poorly Public Schools Are Educating The Majority Of Our Children
To get more public support, tell the truth. Generally both parents have to work today, and single parents have a tougher time. We need more support from them. Giving the public good news only is not helpful under the circumstances. Another important consideration is the fact that the public is paying everyone's salaries in public education. They deserve to know the truth. IF THE PUBLIC FINDS OUT WITHOUT FOREWARNING THAT THEIR CHILDREN CANNOT GET A JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM OUR HIGH SCHOOLS, WE WILL SEE A VERY BAD, VIOLENT REACTION. IT WOULD BE SMARTER TO ADMIT THE PROBLEM WE FACE WITH OUR POOR EDUCATION AND TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR WHY IT HAPPENED. THERE WOULD BE SOME INITIAL REACTION, BUT THE PUBLIC IS FORGIVING IF THEY SEE AN HONEST ATTEMPT MADE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
Only 26% nationally, 16% in Tennessee and 24% in Knox County, Tennessee of our graduating students with a diploma are ready for job training or have a chance to finish the first year only of a college, tech school/vocational program - in 2015. However the school system tells the public that all is well, and complains about parents not pushing the children enough to study. This level of readiness of public school graduates for job or higher level training is very poor and it is not improving. Many including the schools blame the parents when there are examples of some of the best school systems in the world achieve very high results parent-independently. Our education management has no interest in how they achieve that.
The graph below shows the percentage of high school graduates nationally by demographics, who are not prepared for any job other than minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots shortly. The Tennessee figures are worse.
We produce only 26% readiness of high school graduates nationally for job training or to have just a chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college according to ACT. But much worse, we produce only 5-6% ACT ready black high school students nationally (Tennessee 2%). The 42-school charter school, Success Academy Schools of New York City, produce top 1% results with poor, inner city black children. At the same time, a new generation of robots started replacing low and medium level jobs. See examples further down. As a result, those students’ chances who are not ACT Ready, will evaporate for any job. If our governors and legislators cared, this would not be happening.
When Performance Is As Poor As Ours, It Is Vital To Have Two Objectives Only To Focus The Entire Organization On The Key Measurable Indicator Of Academic Success, Like An ACT Score That Is 5-10% Higher Than The Last ACT Score Achieved. The Second Objective Must Be A Limit On Spending To Stay Under The Budget That Was Approved Before The School Year Started.
Anyone requesting additional school funding must commit to an ACT score increase in return with a plan in writing that explains how the ACT score increase is going to be achieved. State leadership, education committees, state school boards, and the state department of education, all must be focused on achieving an ACT score objective that is 5-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved along with the school districts. There is much more effort going into spending more money on programs that do not improve the ACT or SAT scores that represent our graduates' knowledge, or making excuses on the state or local level.
There Is No Effort To Learn From The Top International Performers To Improve Our Poor, Hundred-Year-Old Public Education System Practices That Has The 5th Highest Cost Per Student In The World, While Dropping To 40th From The Top At Great Cost To The Public.
All ACT objectives require that an operating plan exist detailing what committee members, board members and all management and supervisory personnel need to achieve by each month's end.
Look at the high percentage of graduating children who are not ACT Ready in the chart. Not being ACT Ready means no chance to finish even the first year of a tech/vocational school or a college. They are qualified only for minimum wage jobs, which will be replaced by robots in a couple of years.
“Denial. Ask any psychologist what the major obstacle to recovery is, and the likely answer will be denial. It’s fundamental. Until you admit there is a problem, you can’t begin to solve it.”|
John McCormack “Self-Made in America”
The elected boards have to oversee the management and success of a school district with typically 100 – 10,000 employees, and a $10 million - $1 BILLION annual budget through a superintendent that they interview and hire. That is a huge management job, for which the voting majority or even a single board member would not be experienced and qualified. One requires substantial training even to interview and decide to hire a superintendent for an organization of that size. The state cannot provide management guidelines because the old education laws block it and they are likely to not have the experience to give it. School districts have meaningless objectives. They don’t know how to change the way they manage and operate to create better results.
The elected board has to set objectives for the coming school year. Their objectives are always very vague, never about achieving an ACT score and never about not exceeding the budget approved at the start of the school year. The result is poor ACT scores, poor readiness after graduation and the budget exceeded every year. Then they perform their own performance review. The superintendent does the same and gives himself excellent marks, although the academic results are terrible. All objectives turn out vague and immeasurable. The superintendent is to prepare a five-year “strategic” plan according to the state, again with vague goals, many $100 words that no board-member dares to question for fear of looking uneducated. The plans do not include academic and financial objectives for schools, and school performance is the most important area. With such an arrangement, life becomes very political, and a poorly performing mayhem where sexual harassment can happen without the individual being fired. You hire and promote friends and relatives. You do nothing about helping teachers and principals to make their life more productive with higher morale so that they become more effective with students. All within current education law.
When the state itself is performing as poorly as Tennessee, it is not happening because they have the right management experience in the Department of Education, in the state Board of Education or even in the governor's office. If you disagree, just look at the ACT results. What does that tell us? It does not tell us that we have brilliant people with the right management experience, they just decided for a very important reason not to solve the problem that is destroying our children's future.
The public is paying a huge increasing bill for education with a school system failure rate at 74% nationally. For black students, it is an outrageous 95% ACT Unreadiness or failure rate, when a NYC chain of 42 charter schools, Success Academy Schools
scored top one percent passing even most private schools with poor, inner city black students! IT CAN BE DONE. VISIT THIS SCHOOL, FIND OUT WHAT CREATES THE SUCCESS, LEARN AND IMPLEMENT ANYTHING THAT WOULD HELP.
MORE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM
This website lists the ten best tools that could make learning easier for students and make teaching easier for teachers, in any school environment:
|"It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."|
Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers
Teacher morale needs to be restored, by increasing their classroom authority to handle discipline problems immediately to eliminate class interruptions, and increase through a continuing education program their subject knowledge and improve their teaching methodology to the level of the top international performers. Eliminate any teacher activity that can be automated to free up more classroom and preparation time. In addition teachers must become more creative to deliver better results. Teachers must participate in any effort to develop better performance in the classroom, and to learn about how the best performing school systems achieve their great results, internationally or domestically.
Measurable goals and annual objectives that are a key indicator of success, such as an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the previous one actually achieved, and an annual operating plan for every single school with monthly measurable objectives, are vital to achieve much better results.
A ship will never get to a destination port unless they know exactly where they are at any one time, and know accurately how and when they will get to the destination port. Let us say that the “destination port objective” is 80% of the graduating students being ACT College or Career Ready (employability to make enough money for a family of four) when graduating. Today only 24% of those with a high school diploma meet ACT’s readiness percentage of diplomas in Knox County, Tennessee, and 26% only nationally. The public is not informed of this, and don't know unless they read ACT's Readiness Reports.
About three out of four students will be in close to minimum wage jobs (in Tennessee more than 80% of those with a diploma), to be replaced by robots in just a few years. Why? Because there is no sense of a common objective among teachers and their management, what their part of the academic objective is and what they have to do about it. To make it worse, the state’s objective for education is too low. People rise to reasonably high expectations, but strangely, they have difficulty meeting low expectations. Many teachers have very low morale (this is a classic upper management problem). How can you motivate children if your morale is down? You cannot.
Having a single academic ACT score primary objective on the board and superintendent is a necessity in poorly performing school districts especially, that are producing less than 80% ACT Ready high school graduates. A proper objective would be an ACT objective that is at least 5%-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved. It is a vital necessity to focus the entire organization on this objective to increase the ACT score. To support the ACT objective, there would be monthly Grade Point Average (GPA) objectives under it on the level of every manager and class within every school. The key question to answer would be “How can we increase the GPA from last year’s GPA 5%-10% as well? What new tools and how we need to change what we do in every school to achieve it?” Do not use any other objective. What we had are two different groups of unmeasurable, unclear and too low objectives IN 2015 and before. One is on the board's website. The second set is in the Superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan. THEY ARE EITHER IMMEASURABLE OR VERY LOW EXPLAINING THE POOR PERFORMANCE.
AVOID OBJECTIVES THAT CANNOT WORK. SEE THESE EXAMPLES.
Many objectives dilute each other. A second primary objective is also needed, monthly, to not exceed the expense budget that the board approved at the start of the school year, with each and every school principal being responsible for meeting a corresponding expense objective and academic objective, spending and personnel decisions without interference. All other objectives are secondary objectives applying to specific management positions under the board or superintendent.
The objectives set in the past that one sees below, cannot achieve good results, because those who produce the results, the schools and support staff are not focused on the right two elements, a measurable academic and expense objective monthly. Schools are not research institutions. They are production institutions of the highest importance, whose national result has a vital impact on our children, every industry and our economy.
In the school district's website
the superintendent mentions that: "In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is:"
- "100% of students completing high school" (What is the value of "completing" high school with 80% of those who entered 9th grade not being ready per ACT but for minimum wage jobs at best?)
- "At least 90% graduating with a regular diploma" (What is the value of a diploma when 77% of those with a regular diploma are not even ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school per ACT?)
- "At least 90% of our graduates taking the ACT, and" (All students take the ACT by law. What is the value here? Just taking a test has zero value in any case.)
- "At least 90% of ACT takers scoring a 21 or better" (An average ACT 21 score means that 73-75% of those who entered in 9th grade are NOT ACT READY and are prepared for minimum wage jobs only. This is a shamefully low objective. A neighboring school district's objective is ACT 24. The top twenty countries in education are delivering high school students in an ACT equivalent range of 26 to 31)."
In the superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan we have these different objectives that are also not appropriate, unclear, not measurable, neither academic nor spending related. Ask yourself on each one of these "How on earth can I tell if they met this objective or not? How do I measure how well they have done?".
Are these easy to understand, clear, measurable academic objectives and a spending objective vs. the approved budget? Of course not. Can you tell what measurable result to reach in each one? Of course not. Can all workers be focused on these objectives so that the GPA and ACT scores go up in every school? Absolutely not.
- "Guarantee Excellence in Teaching and Learning."
- "Personalize Learning"
- "Facilitate High Quality Student Supports"
- "Build & Support Our Community of Learners"
- "Build & Support Our Community of Leaders"
- "Value Our Hardworking People"
- "Build & Strengthen Our "One Big Team""
- "Invite & Earn Stakeholder Feedback"
- "Improve Customer Service & Communication"
That is the reason for poor performance. No one is going to pay attention to such objectives, and when they are not measurable, there can be no possible consequence. Ignoring it works. What becomes important is to please your boss and shield any complaints from him. Anyone can come up with excuses for the ACT score not improving. And the boss needs good excuses so he/she will appreciate you for it. That is the effect of too many objectives that are not measurable to see with certainty if they were met or not. Such a situation ends up with politics becoming important and achieving good results become less important. Poor, unmeasurable objectives increase the importance of politics in organizational behavior for survival.
You may want to read “Objectives are vitally important if you wish to accomplish anything”
with a group of people - or even alone - especially in a poorly performing organization.
That is why we are producing the 40th result internationally. Tennessee is worse. We were on top in 1970. Teachers do not take the initiative to find out how the best nations in education are achieving their excellent results. They are focused on resolving their own personal issues with management, they have been demoralized over the years and not even given the basic right of being in charge of the classroom with full backing by management over discipline issues in the classroom. That is demeaning to teachers and reduces their credibility and authority in front of their students.
Although the states should do this centrally, we do not see teachers making an individual effort to learn about why the top competitors are producing much better results, learn about them and implement such new methods. Unfortunately such attitudes are understandable with low morale but not helpful.
Most parents are not pushing their children to study harder.
A few decades ago only one parent worked and the other parent could focus on what needed to be done at home, including focusing the children on studying. Today, both parents are working, and most parents take the child’s side if a complaint comes from school about the child’s behavior. When the school district PR machine lies to the public about things going well, it is not helpful in getting single parents to help the school because they are working long hours every day. Many parents are not supportive enough to get their children to work harder today. It would be very helpful if the public was well informed about the poor performance of schools, to motivate them to help.
However, there are school systems that produce uniformly excellent scores from all students, minority or not, without parental involvement,
e.g., Finland’s teaching method, or the 42-school Success Academy
Schools in New York City that achieved in 2015 top one percent results with poor inner city black children, an amazing achievement. Finland’s teacher selection and teaching methodology is better than ours. We are covering them in more detail later. Unfortunately our children pay a heavy price for all this. Four out of five graduates are unprepared for better jobs and robotic automation will replace them. All because our schools are not doing a better job. Parents we cannot control. Schools are to be controlled by their elected board and elected board members do not have the experience to do so.
Some people show better OECD PISA results for the USA by showing only OECD member country results (35 countries), a smaller number. OECD as of 2015 publishes both member and non-member countries’ results, 73 total, on the same page in its results. We dropped to 40th in the world in math in 2015.
The potential working years of a high school graduate is 40-45 years. More than 75% of graduates in Knox County, Tennessee (more than 80% for Tennessee) are not prepared for any employment other than close to minimum wage jobs with increasing unemployment during their short working life, as robotics replace the low-to-medium level jobs.
Excellent high school results are critical for our nation and individual graduates to be employable or what is called ACT Ready. Not just by one student in five being ready for employment as we have it now, but at least by four students out of five.
Those who are ready, become part of our workforce. We need an outstanding well-educated workforce to create competitively priced outstanding products and services that our various industries can sell worldwide. Our workforce declined in skills. Our national income, GNP, and tax income depend on the success of US industries worldwide. Our GNP has been under 3% in growth for the past ten years. That’s not good enough. It is the result of the poor readiness we deliver from our high schools. It is vital for us as a nation to fix our schools’ performance.
The world is everyone’s market. That means that we must become competitive in the world market and that means that our high school output must be one of the best. It dropped to 40th in math
. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW WE COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN PERFORMANCE
|The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
What the Board members could do differently to improve education.
Between 1995 and 2014 Knox County, Tennessee students increased only 14% but administrators increased 130%. The spending would have been more appropriate in the classroom. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Administrators hire people to work for them. The real increase ends up 650-900% if they hire 4-6 people per administrator for only a 14% increase in students. However, with this huge increase in management, the ACT results dropped like a stone setting an all time low record in 2013 with a score of 20.2! ACT Readiness reports indicate that as a result, more than 80% (statewide 89%, nationally 76%!) of those students who enter 9th grade are ready only for minimum wage employment, the types of jobs that will disappear. It is common knowledge in management that if you increase management numbers beyond standard operating ratios, managers (administrators) will start justifying their management positions, and such efforts actually hurt results and morale.
This huge percentage of management increase was not reversed to this day, and it did absolutely nothing but cost us a lot of money! So...money is being shifted away from the classroom producing poorly prepared children in large numbers. Management overhead was increased purposefully, but the results dropped like a stone. I am sorry, but the wisdom with which the public's money and these decisions appear to be handled by boards and superintendents is mind boggling. No one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up and reverse such foolish spending.
Why is the state allowing the wasting of so much of the people's money and dumb down virtually the entire workforce year after year? That is what the ACT results indicate under the governor.
Any school district could reduce total Central Management employees to 1% of the total school district's employees.
Any school district set as their most important two objectives as 5-10% higher ACT score than the ACT score last achieved, and an objective for all managers in any school that is a monthly, month-to-date GPA objective. The second objective needs to focus on not exceeding the spending budget.
The ACT and SAT tests show that our public school results are extremely poor. It is not surprising. If you attend any school board meeting, they never discuss the poor results and how those results could be improved. In addition, it is the schools that produce the results, yet we do not have monthly year-to-date GPA objectives in our schools that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. THAT EXPLAINS THE OUTRAGEOUSLY POOR PERFORMANCE.
|In our state's plans to improve math and English requirements, we are focusing on public opinion about what is needed. Education spending per student rose aggressively since 1970, and student performance went down. None of our leaders suggested any changes to our education system that increased the ACT and SAT scores, the key indicators of what children learned before graduating from high school. The public became less educated, was dumbed down as a result since 1970, and public opinion would not know anything about what our international competition accomplished and plans, and what our employers need. As you see many foreign products around us, it should be very clear that we are competing with foreign countries whose education systems passed ours. We must catch up with the best. It will not be the local public advice that will improve us. After all, it did not do any good so far, especially since they are misinformed by the school district PR groups about how well our schools are doing. It will be the detailed knowledge of what makes the top performers in the world much better than we are in the OECD PISA tests, that will tell us what areas we need to correct in primary and secondary education. We need to forget the old slogan that "WE ARE THE BEST", be honest with the public, and have objectives and operating plans achieved to become the best. |
One should be friendly and fair, but never become personally attached to anyone who works for you. It will bias your judgment about them. You may have to make hard decisions about them. If they are your close friend, you will not be able to do that. You have to judge your employee’s performance through measurable key indicators of success in their job, their specific objective. THIS IS NOT BEING DONE.
Board members must understand VERY WELL what ACT’s definition of Readiness means (go to ACT scores explained), as it is impacted by the development in robotics to replace low-to-medium level jobs. Most do not understand this area. They must appreciate the impact of new technologies on existing jobs, and also the new job opportunities they create and the education required for them (go to robots). They must understand that we are competing internationally, and that we therefore must compare our progress to the countries that passed us. It would be important for board members to be familiar with two high performing countries' education system, Singapore and Finland. THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEM. It would be important to know exactly what Singapore and Finland cover in each subject in their curricula and try to do better than that. The state education department should be doing such work. But if they do not, we need the school boards to be creative. One can request such information from the Ministry of Education in the country. ACT does provide in their annual readiness report statistics about how to increase the ACT scores. At minimum, Board members must understand these areas well. THEY DO NOT.
If the board member was a teacher, they need to realize that we have to become much better. Our teachers did not improve in subject knowledge, teaching methodologies and education management like other nations who passed us. THEY ARE NOT AWARE OF THIS AND WE ARE INCLUDING REFERENCES. We have some serious work to do.
A potential superintendent is very experienced in operating in a political environment whether he/she accomplished excellent results or not. Superintendents last in a job only 3-4 years for a couple of reasons: they take direction from a board who may or may not agree, and he/she is more experienced in the job than the board members. Or he or she cannot produce better results. In interviewing them, ask meaningful questions, such as:
The superintendent is the board's employee and not the board's boss. Board members must understand what ACT Readiness and ACT scores the superintendent is to deliver. That is the superintendent’s responsibility. If the superintendent is delivering poor results for seven years and the board gives the superintendent good performance reviews, the Board is responsible for the poor results. The board has destroyed the future of up to 76% (those not ACT Ready) or more of our high school graduates. If the board cared about them, this would not happen - or perhaps the board had no idea what to do and made no attempt at learning what to do.
- How would you measure monthly what a school district or a school achieved academically?
- How can you tell which high school graduates are prepared to get a job after high school that can minimally support a family of four?
- What does ACT Readiness mean?
- What ACT or SAT average did you achieve during each of the last three years?
- What mistakes did you make in each of the last three years?
- How do you know that morale is high or low in your organization?
When the results have been bad for decades, one must focus the entire organization on one performance and one spending objective like the ACT score and spending vs. budget in education. Without such focus, there is no chance for recovery.
Look at the chart below about ACT results. If only 24% of the high school diplomas are "ACT Ready" qualified, we are doing and extremely poor job, and both the Board and superintendent do not deserve a good performance evaluation. Yet that is what we gave year after year. It is not acceptable to do a job under which 76% of the graduating children’s jobs will be subject to replacement by robots within a few years, and they have not been educated well enough to learn a more sophisticated new job. 76% not being ACT Ready means that they have no chance to complete even the first year of a tech/vocational school or a college. Science and engineering programs require a 26 ACT achievement in math, in addition to the ACT Readiness benchmark in math, and that is way above 24% ACT Readiness. Also in addition, look at the examples listed here for immediate robotic applications. Some of these are replacing employees with four-year college degrees. It is fair to conclude that those who are not ACT Ready have only a few years of employment, because robotic capabilities will increase rapidly from now on. See examples of robotics.
The ACT achievement and budget compliance objectives need an operating plan. The operating plan requires a monthly year-to-date objective per school in two areas: one is an academic objective to be determined, most likely a GPA average, and the second a spending objective not to exceed a monthly year-to-date expense budget. It is necessary to have a monthly year-to-date progress measurement in both objectives for schools to identify any shortcomings early toward meeting the annual average ACT and budget goals for the school district. Performance-related objectives are needed for all supervisory positions in schools, in central management and for teachers also.
All objectives at all levels need to be measurable, a key indicator of success for the job of the individual, that contribute to ACT district objective achievement. They have to be brief and simple enough to be remembered precisely at all times by the individual. No current objectives at any level meet that criteria today in 2016.
Click here to see ACT scores explained for the graph below http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html
A useful document to read would be this guideline from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that covered 65 countries’ primary and secondary education, with the best in the world among them
|“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
We can see in the OECD chart above spending per pupil for each of 65 countries. We in Knox County, Tennessee are one of the top spenders per student compared to these 65 nations. But in results, we, the USA, are 40th in math - very poor. Tennessee is at the low end of USA performance. Knox County, Tennessee results would be much worse than 40th worldwide. That means that we spend enough money, but the money is not being spent in the right places. For example not enough money is getting to the classrooms that results come from, and there are requirements on teachers that cut down their preparation and teaching time, so that they cannot do their best. See chart below.
Credit For The Poor ACT Performance And Overspending
...goes to Jim McIntyre, superintendent and the board of education in Knox County, Tennessee. McIntyre joined in 2008, with his job ending in July 2016. As you can see from the chart below, his results were uniform every year, showing that 78-84% of high school graduates were not ready for more than a minimum wage job. Robotics will replace such students very soon.
Jim McIntyre was offered a position by the University of Tennessee before July 2016, to head its Center For Education Leadership. On its website the function of this center is represented as "The Center will take an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to school leadership development, which will seek to integrate research-tested education leadership theory with proven, effective practice. A unique partnership between the University of Tennessee and local school districts will define a new era of university-school district collaboration in the formal preparation and career-long professional development of educational leaders." We could benefit greatly from such a group, if its management came from a high performing area such as Canada, Finland or Singapore. We wish them a lot of success because both this county and its neighbors provide very poorly prepared public high school graduates.
The problem is that when board members look at a chart like this they do not recognize and/or have no time to learn and understand poor results and do not insist that the superintendent improve them. Unfortunately, some or sometimes most elected board members believe that they are to help what the superintendent wants to do. The results show that most superintendents are highly political and do not know what to do to increase results.
If we want 80% of those with a diploma to be ready to get better than minimum wage jobs, we need to be at an average ACT score above 25. That simply cannot be done with the poor management performance shown in the above charts. A diploma generally means that the person is fully prepared for a job or further education. With a 20.7 (Knox County, TN 2015) ACT score we produce only 24% of those who are ACT ready. That makes our Tennessee public school diplomas - worthless. What is the point in issuing worthless diplomas?
We are raising both at home and in school very soft and poorly trained children for a much tougher and more competitive world after high school. Schools and families must get tougher so that our children can survive in this tougher market. Otherwise they will not survive.
|“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
The Public Is Purposefully Misinformed About How Poorly Our Children Are Prepared In High School. It Is Done Both By The State And The School Districts. They Employ Professional PR People At Public Expense For Which The Public Pays With Their Hard-Earned Tax Dollars
It is the ACT or SAT scores that indicate every year how well our children have been educated from grade one to twelve. They can claim that they have done many things, and they blame teachers and parents - but they have not initiated any program that raised the ACT or SAT scores since 1970. Those are the only tests that count and are given every year. But they organize big celebrations if we show even tiny gains in tests that do not count, because they are easier to show higher scores. This is how they misguide and lie to the public, who pay more and more every year for the poor results.
|"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either."|
Are school boards and superintendents telling the public all the truth and nothing but the truth about their results?
Raising the minimum wage instead of increasing public high school performance and improving behavior to internationally competitive levels, accelerates the demand for the less expensive and more productive robotic automation.
Among black high school graduates, 95% were not ready nationally in 2015. 95%! At the same time a charter school chain in NYC (Success Academy Schools 1
, Success Academy Schools 2
) with poor, inner city black students with 32 schools scored top one percent in math in the New York State Common Core Tests in 2013 beating even most private schools. They demand excellence in teaching and in student behavior.
New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA. Tennessee, a state we use for some examples, is in the bottom half of US performance. Or better yet, look at a world top performer, Finland with methodologies developed that are pure genius to produce excellent results in less teaching hours and lower cost than ours, although their cost of living is higher (Finland 1
, Finland 2
). Excellent results are possible, but not the way we have been running public schools in any state for the past hundred years. We do not visit those who excel to learn from them.
|"With the long-term declining of primary and secondary education, we are developing a nation of sheep.|
A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."
Edward R. Morrow, Journalist, 1908-1965
|"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, THERE IT IS."|
TCAP state test results for Tennessee show a much higher score than the national ACT or NAEP tests, because the state tests are easier. In addition, if the percentage score of right answers is low, e.g., 45%, normally it would be a failing grade. To make it look better, the state translates the low 45% score to a "B". They call this failing grade translation "Cut scores". The result about how well the students know what they were taught, becomes a lie to the public. The TCAP's rigor or toughness was 58% lower than the ACT. Tests are never designed to show less than the intended results for a grade. In other words, the much easier state test shows much higher grades, putting into good light performance that is a disastrous failure using these "Cut scores". As a result, we hurt a very large percentage of graduating children who are not ready for a meaningful job or for more education without two years of full time remedial courses.