Our Children's And Country's Economic Future Is In Great Danger!
Introduction:
Under revision. Updated on 8/1/2015.
Go to Management Guidelines

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!"
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776

This website stands on its own, based on published ACT (American College Testing, Inc.) results for USA and OECD PISA (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - Programme for International Student Development) reports for international data, in addition to other named publications as they are used herein. We made an attempt to identify all sources and examples here for the website to be clear to all readers, and consolidated the data in charts to show trends. Unfortunately the downtrend of public primary and secondary education dropped so far that it now presents a serious danger to our employers and the USA itself in our opinion. This website is not about its writer.

"Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk," warns the Council on Foreign Relations Task Force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, Director, Stanford University, former U.S. secretary of state. The country "will not be able to keep pace - much less lead - globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long," argues the Task Force.


How does public education relate to America's future success as a nation? America's future success depends on the success of its individual industries. The world has become a market place for anyone with competitive manufactured products. The US used to dominate the world market before the 1980's. The success of each of our industries in the world market depends on the competitiveness of the products or services of the companies that make up that industry. The competitiveness of the products or services depend on the education and experience of the workforce in any company, in any industry, in any country. Workforce means all jobs from those who design the great products or services to those who make them, sell them and service them. The workforce quality on which any country's income and future depends, depends totally on the quality of the education the workforce members received. A company with an excellent, well educated work force creates competitive products that many customers want in many countries. A company with a poorly educated workforce cannot produce products that appeal to many customers, and the company struggles. American education has declined since 1970. Our companies in all industries are very worried about the quality of the workforce our schools produce. Many are holding on to cash because they may have to relocate to areas with the quality workforce that they need and cannot find here. This is our national problem.

This website is about the published information that indicates a significant danger to our country's and our children's future. Unfortunately it appears that no one in a state or country leadership position has been or is acting effectively to increase the ACT (and Scholastic Aptitude Test, SAT) scores, the key indicators of what students learn from grade one to twelve in Tennessee and other states. As an example in Tennessee, more than 80% of our children who entered 9th grade, have been and are leaving high school unprepared to be trained for a job, or to finish even the first year of a college or tech school. According to professors, they require two years of remedial college study to start the first year of a college freshman program, because of poor public high school performance. A major issue is 98% of black students being unprepared for a job after high school. However, a charter school system called Success Academy Schools in New York City with 32 schools and poor inner city black children, who scored in the top one percent in the New York State Common Core tests, beating the majority of all state public AND private schools in the state. New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA. Tennessee is close to the bottom. Clearly something is very wrong and major changes are needed in the public school systems in the way our school districts are managed. See: Our educational decline is jeopardizing our national security.

In 2014, the World Economic Forum ranked the United States 49th in quality of mathematics and science education of 148 nations. World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014. We used to be among the top nations in 1970.

OECD PISA tests 65 nations' 15-year olds (includes OECD plus partner countries for taking PISA; partner countries are excluded to make us look better in many reports) every three years. The USA dropped to a new low of 36th in mathematics in the 2012 Dec. OECD PISA test published in 2013. We used to be among the top nations in 1970. See: OECD Study Based On 65 Countries: What Makes Schools Successful?.


Click on the picture to read the article.


Massachusetts' students rank 1st in the US in math. Hong Kong's students rank among the top 5 in the world. The US is 36th, a new low record in math in 2013 (OECD-PISA tests of 65 countries). The best in our country do not come CLOSE to matching even the top 20 in the world. 87% of the questions on the Hong Kong test require a higher level of thinking and knowledge. Only 6% of questions on the Massachusetts test are on the same level. These figures express how woefully behind we are (http://iadvocateforkids.org/PTA/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/CCSShandout4pg-FINAL.pdf, Page 3). Our example, Tennessee is close to last in the USA, worse than Massachusetts. The curriculum to get a high school diploma is more rigorous in the top 20 countries than ours. In most of them the curriculum defines what each course is to achieve by year end and the teachers decide individually how they will teach and in what sequence to achieve the curriculum requirement. The international teachers have a masters degree in the subject they are teaching. US teachers rarely do. International teachers come from the top 10-30% of their classes. US teachers come from the bottom 30% of their classes. We have some work to do.

The most important outcome of K-12 education (grades 1 to 12) is to have at least 80% students who entered 9th grade prepared to be employed or ready for the next level of job or university training. Currently less than 20% are ready in Tennessee, and 24% US wide. If not employable with enough income to live on, he/she will have a terrible life. We are creating too many such children leaving high school. The ACT has been shown to be a reliable measure of those outcomes yet we have not included it in our education system's objectives. Instead school districts use vague objectives and give themselves excellent ratings to mask the poor performance from the public. A goal must be to lower the current 80%+ ACT (average score 20.4) UNREADINESS/FAILURE RATE, counting from 9th grade entry of those leaving high school, lowered to 20% UNREADINESS/FAILURE RATE based on ACT's report. See ACT scores explained. "UNREADINESS" means no tech school, college or trade job training possibility, with minimum wage opportunity only, most of which will be replaced by robotics by 2020-2022 . 20% ACT UNREADINESS would require a 25 ACT average. A 5% average ACT score increase per year until an acceptable performance is reached seems minimal and reasonable. Also reasonable would be tying 75% percent of the superintendent's performance review to something measurable such as this minimal 5% ACT increase. As of now the Knox County, Tennessee 5-year strategic plan is filled with unmeasurable goals and objectives which are assuring poor results year after year. Go to KCS objectives.

Many complain about our public schools' performance, or others' suggestion for a solution, but do not suggest a remedy to ANY problem. For example, some are so unrealistic that they object to expanding "schools for profit" or private schools. Most private schools cost less per student than public schools. Private schools deliver 90-100% READINESS after high school, when public school READINESS is a terrible 2-24% only for more money per student than the cost of private schools. In view of the poor public school performance, our objective needs to be to deliver more than 80% READINESS per ACT's definition instead of the 2-24% delivered by our public high schools. If the public schools cannot improve dramatically, as they have not improved for decades with few exceptions, then why object to ANY solution whose result is superior AND costs the public less per student?

Some say that private or charter schools do not have to take all children, but public schools do, and that is why public school results are worse. There are children who cannot perform, or do not want to work hard, or create discipline problems all of which are destructive to entire classes of children in a school. Perhaps a different institution needs to be established for such children - or the schools need to be intolerant of bad behavior. Our school results are poor and we cannot afford to be all things to all parents or children with our schools if we want better results and a better workforce. Public schools must be for learning at the highest level and not for being a baby sitting service. If public schools cannot change fast enough, then we need the voucher system for ALL parents in order for them to have the option to send their child to ANY school: public, private or charter school, in order to get the best education possible for their children. After all, they are paying for it through their taxes. Look at the Success Academy Schools of NYC. 32 schools, all poor black minority children, who scored in the top one percent in the State of New York. And our black children have only a 2% readiness per ACT for being employed? Obviously we could do much better.

The state laws delegate to elected boards of education, all rights to all decisions. That includes funding guaranteed to be at minimum the same as the previous school year's spending, regardless of results. The board's voting majority was neither educated nor experienced in managing more than a handful people. The board interviews and hires a superintendent who is to manage the education district to successful results, with school district employees from 100 to 10,000. That is a big management job. Running for the board requires a high school diploma. The ACT "Unreadiness" figures attest to the fact that elected boards never hired a successful superintendent or misdirected him/her, with very few exceptions. That is why public school results are poor. Hiring the right person as a superintendent requires substantial management training and experience, that elected boards just do not have. The states do not provide management guide lines to boards of education regarding important things like what constitutes objectives, operating plans, sound operating ratios (e.g., central management to total number of employees or administrators per student and so on for both board and superintendent performance evaluation purposes) and how to interview superintendent candidates.

Our school systems are failing 80% of our children as previously described. What would you do if in the only hospital available to you to take your sick child, 80% of children became infected with an incurable debilitating infection? Would you be very concerned? This analogy is better than you think right now. 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.


A close second to improving ACT Readiness is improving the low teacher morale. How can we achieve the best results with children if teacher morale is poor? The board and superintendent must resolve such things by giving teachers full authority in the classroom to rule immediately on any discipline problem such that the child will not repeat it, and by reducing activities that cut down on teaching time such as paperwork, and tests beyond the state requirement. Turnover in any job with a college education background costs many months of the salary and benefits of those employees who are leaving. Maintaining high morale is essential for the best possible student results and for preventing unnecessary spending that is the result of mistakes in selecting and keeping employees at all levels who cannot do their job well.



The professional PR people in our public education districts do not tell the public the entire truth. A proverb says: "A half truth is a whole lie". They create a much better impression of performance for the public than the truth is. This is dishonest, deceptive behavior when done to those who are paying the huge bill of public education with their hard-earned tax dollars: THE PUBLIC. It is inexcusable, especially when the public is burdened to pay for an 80%+ failure rate of their sons and daughters. They also create the impression that we need more money when we are the 5th largest spender per student in the world producing one of the poorest results among industrialized nations: 36th. We used to be on top in 1970. Recovery to a more competitive position becomes disproportionately more difficult in anything, once you fall below tenth.

Jobs in the future will require a more educated workforce than today. The job requirements have always increased with new tools, technology, software automation and robotics. Instead, we are and have been developing less-educated people in increasing numbers, who are unmotivated, unable to learn a job after high school and have a bad attitude. In addition we treat our children softly both at home and in school, children who use abusive language with teachers, and we do this in preparation for a much tougher world after high school, that will not tolerate such behavior.

There are a few US schools and 25 countries who produce better results than we do and we are not interested in how the top ones are achieving that. Management training and experience at the appropriate levels in school districts does not exist, AND THIS IS ITS RESULT.


Between 2008 and 2014, the children who are untrainable for jobs beyond minimum wage averaged above 80% of those students who enter Knox County, TN high schools in 9th grade. As if those were not bad enough, Tennessee's statewide results were even worse at 89%. US results were 76%. 9 out of 10 children who entered 9th grade in Tennessee will leave high school marginally employable, close to minimum wage until their job will be replaced by cognitive robots in months not years.

Please go through the verification of ACT reports to understand this situation. The poor job the state education department, state leadership and our school districts have done caused this situation. I wonder if our state education department has ever given any thought to how poorly we are preparing the young generation, its consequences on our economy and survival as a state.

Look below what McDonalds and others are moving to in 2015. They are not the only ones.



McDonalds move toward robotics: Customers love them. They're quick, easy, and customers avoid all the "wad U say" frustrations. They get orders in, get their food the way they want it, and they're on their way. That's fast food. And odd enough, people SPEND more when they're on kiosks. The Harvard Business Review said they found the average check size was 30% higher. They found that 20% of customers who didn't initially order a drink would buy one when it was offered. The result is: no more $15 minimum wage earners for taking orders.

We permit classroom behaviors with very light punishment that obstruct teacher effort and disturb all students in that class for at least a day. For example, a student threw feces at a teacher during class as he returned from the men's room. The punishment by the principal was sending him home after the principal "cross-examined" the teacher and the offender in his office. The teacher and offending student "cross examination" together destroys the teacher's authority further. The next day the offender came to school and now he had five more followers in misbehavior in the same class. Making a hero out of the offender as we do with light punishment is very foolish.
  • It reduces the ability of any teacher to teach these underperforming children.
  • Offenders take great pleasure in insulting teachers, and even hitting them. The teacher becomes the "punching" bag for bad children. The light punishment makes it cheap entertainment, elevating the offender's image to his/her friends.
  • American teachers have to do: the most classroom hours in the world, the most paperwork, and the most tests. However, they have no authority to instantly rule on discipline problems. That is what teachers need to keep the teachers' image high in the eyes of students.
  • There are many good teachers and some who would be more successful in another profession. There is vocational match-testing for teaching in many countries at the university level but not in the US. Two tests correlated in the US would do an excellent job in this area: the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Intelligence Inventory. Unfortunately, we have many teachers who chose teaching as their major in college because the original major they picked was too hard. Many US colleges and universities have a weak curriculum for a degree in teaching. Within our school districts, teachers are transferred from the class where they know the subject to teach classes for which they had no training. In the high-performing countries a teacher above 4th grade has a master's degree in the subject in order to teach that subject. Our situation requires continuing education support for teachers. In Knox County, Tennessee the superintendent stopped supporting teachers to obtain a master's degree.
All of the above reduces effective teaching time. We need a continuing education program in most subjects, as other countries are doing to create more excellent teachers.
  • The teachers need to be in command of the classroom if we want better results and measure teacher performance in an effective manner.
  • Low teacher morale is very common. 250 teachers came to a board meeting in Knox County, Tennessee to express their dissatisfaction. When people go public with complaints, there are at least ten times as many who feel that way. That makes approximately the entire teacher group dissatisfied in this county. Low morale is always a top management problem, the board or superintendent cause it or fixes it.
  • Most superintendents and boards look at teacher complaints as a bad thing to be hidden or avoided. They do not want to find out what the reasons are behind it for fear of having to make changes elsewhere in the organization.
  • Some superintendents need to learn that managing by fear autocratically makes things worse. You will not be able to replace all teachers. Why has not the board and superintendent fix all such problems even if it required a request to the state for legislative action?
  • Employee turnover is very expensive. It costs 6-9 months of salary minimum for every single college educated teacher or person who leaves, resigns, retires or is fired - plus the cost of damage the poor hiring choices have done after being hired. This applies to all positions including the superintendent, who delivered Knox County, Tennessee more than 80% of the students who entered 9th grade not ACT Ready after high school, since 2008. That is huge damage. The education board members, with more than one year on the board, did nothing about it.
  • . Look at the example for turnover analysis below. It is very costly. We are not showing total turnover expense, but only the portion that could be saved with better people management.



    The majority of nations spent less per student than we did and delivered superior results. This is the result of far superior management. Poor management: poor results with MORE THAN ENOUGH FUNDING. THE MONEY IS NOT BEING SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES. And the poor inexperienced management keeps making the same mistake every year. This is NOT a right or left wing, Republican or Democrat problem. It happened under both parties since 1970. IT IS AN AMERICAN PROBLEM, and we keep doing nothing about it. It is time for some big changes.

    We have a big problem. IN EVERY US STATE, IT IS THE ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD THAT DETERMINES WHAT OBJECTIVES AND PLANS THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL FOLLOW. They have more authority than the state or federal government in areas relating to results, spending and operating ratios. Board membership requires only a high school diploma. The end of high school results (ACT and SAT) are very poor. Imagine that in the case of Knox County, Tennessee, such an elected board oversees an organization with more than 8,000 employees with a budget of more than half billion dollars. That is a huge management task requiring management training and experience on the highest level. Such background and experience is not available in school boards as a voting majority. The results are terrible. No laws exist to achieve a good average ACT or SAT score by the end of high school and to do it all based on the budget that the district board approved before the start of the school year. More importantly, management guidelines from the state to the school boards do not exist to achieve some uniformity for better performance at normal expense levels. Under any state law, one cannot blame the superintendent and the board if they have poor results, unless the board created a specific objective first to reach better results. If such an objective was not created by the board, and performance is poor making most children failures for life. No one can create a change under current education law. Boards and superintendents avoid such "liability" by purposefully not having objectives about things like average ACT score achievement or not exceeding the approved budget - producing terrible results. Just look at the examples of objectives below. We could have two options if we did not have this problem:
    1. Immediate and efficient action to correct the education system so that they produce 80%+ students out of high school who are qualified as ACT Ready. The above mentioned 100 year-old laws allow only the board to set such objective, but they do not want to take a chance on not meeting it. That means that the average ACT score of a school district must be at or above 25 for 80% of the students to be ACT Ready. Or
    2. Keep producing what we have today, 80%+ who are NOT ACT Ready who will have spotty employment ending up homeless most likely. Our children and grand children cannot be but among them with such a high percentage. No one is immune to such an outcome. Remember that a high failure rate, like 80% is not caused only by low income, poor inner city children. Such a high percentage WILL CREATE POOR PEOPLE OUT OF CHILDREN ALSO WHO COME FROM FAMILIES WHO ARE NOT POOR. For this reason, the existing education system actually increases poverty.
    Unfortunately the first alternative is not happening, and our leaders are not encouraging the needed change in laws.

    Why would anyone be motivated to put in the extra effort to correct a poorly performing education system as measured by the ACT:
      • If their income is certain, regardless of the results they produce,
      • If they have no specific, measurable academic objective to meet, like an average ACT score,
      • If they receive at least the same amount of money to spend as the year before, regardless of results they achieve,
      • If they can spend that money in any way, they want by law. When asked what the ADDITIONAL money requested will be used for, a board of education chair (I.K.) replied to the Knox County Commission at its meeting in 2012-13 "You just give us the money! We will decide how to spend it!". And,
      • If they tell the public only the good part of the truth, to create a better opinion of the school system in the public eye, than the entire truth would. "A half-truth is a whole lie" - says a proverb.
    Sadly, that is what we have in Knox County, Tennessee.

    Who was responsible for these poor results in Knox County, Tennessee? The chair persons of the elected school board: India Kincannon, Karen Carson, Lynn Fugate, Mike MacMillan (in minority and voted down often) and superintendent Jim McIntyre who never even managed a single school before the board hired him with a 5:4 decision, to manage 89 schools, more than 8,000 employees and a half billion dollar budget. The 5:4 vote was influenced by the wealthiest local family endorsing Jim McIntyre, the Haslams, whose son Bill was Knoxville Mayor at the time and became the Governor of Tennessee shortly thereafter.

    Read this website. Verify the sources. Decide where the truth is, and what they don't tell you. "WILL MY CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN BE EMPLOYED?" Your child's future depends on them.



    "Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle!"
    Abraham Lincoln



    THE PLAN IN 2008 - THAT WAS IGNORED TO DATE:
    Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education
    Click on the title to read the plan.
    A report by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc.


    • Action 1: Upgrade state standards by adopting a common core of internationally benchmarked standards in math and language arts for grades K-12 to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be globally competitive.
    • Action 2: Leverage statesŐ collective influence to ensure that textbooks, digital media, curricula, and assessments are aligned to internationally benchmarked standards and draw on lessons from high performing nations and states.
    • Action 3: Revise state policies for recruiting, preparing, developing, and supporting teachers and school leaders to reflect the human capital practices of top-performing nations and states around the world.
    • Action 4: Hold schools and systems accountable through monitoring, interventions, and support to ensure consistently high performance, drawing upon international best practices.
    • Action 5: Measure state-level education performance globally by examining student achievement and attainment in an international context to ensure that, over time, students are receiving the education they need to compete in the 21st century economy.

    THE ABOVE PLAN WAS APPROVED BY MORE THAN 40 STATES AND THE US GOVERNMENT. The intent was clear: study the top international performers, determine what made them more productive in education than the US, and implement the new practices and standards in the states to produce significant improvement. Nothing of significance was implemented as of August, 2015. If implemented, the ACT (and SAT) scores would have risen significantly. They did not increase and went down in many states like Tennessee. Look at the results below.
    The Success Academy Schools of NYC, having achieved top one percent status in the entire State of New York with 32 schools of poor black inner city children, is an example of what is possible, when everywhere else the same children are on the bottom. Sadly, we are killing the country and don't want to change in order to save the jobs of those who are creating the problem.






    A. PERFORMANCE AND RESULTS: OBJECTIVES AND AN ANNUAL OPERATING PLAN

    A presidential project, "Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5 (2010)", concluded that "disparities in U.S. K-12 education compared to those of many other nations, impose the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession - one substantially larger than the deep recession the country is currently experiencing." You can read it here.

    Good education is the only certain way out of poverty. Unfortunately, our education system has become so poor that it can drive even children who are not from poverty, into poverty.

    Between 1995 and 2014 Knox County, Tennessee students increased only 14% but administrators increased 130%. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Administrators hire people to work for them. The real increase ends up 650-910% 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%!) of those students who enter 9th grade are ready only for minimum wage employment, the types of jobs that will disappear. 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, and management overhead is 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, and no one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up to reverse such foolish spending. Is the state leadership's objective to waste as much of the people's money as possible and to dumb down virtually the entire workforce? That is what the ACT results indicate under the governors.

    For years now, our education system in Knox County, Tennessee has been creating more than 80% of the students from 9th grade who are not prepared for jobs beyond minimum wage after leaving high school, according to ACT. The State is worse at 89%.

    For black students the percentage of these low performers is 98%. The public is unaware of these facts. The black student figures are very disturbing. A chain of charter schools with poor black inner city children (Success Academy Schools of New York City 1, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2) worked hard and had outstanding results with 32 schools in 2014. These black inner city children from poor families scored in the top 1% in Math and the top 3% in English on the difficult Common Core tests in the entire State of New York, the fifth best performing state in US education. THE PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED, BUT NOT THE WAY OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE MANAGED.

    We have created a powder keg that will surely blow up.

    All of this, because state law delegates ALL decisions to the school districts' elected board everywhere, whose majority has no management experience on the scale of the school district. Important: The states do not provide management guidelines.

    POOR OBJECTIVES AND THE ANNUAL OPERATING PLAN: the biggest reason for the poor performance? In a school district or any organization with a hundred employees or more, one MUST HAVE AN EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND, SINGLE SENTENCE, VERY CLEAR, MEASURABLE, PERFORMANCE-RELATED OBJECTIVE THAT NEEDS NO FURTHER EXPLANATION FOR EMPLOYEES TO UNDERSTAND IT, SUCH AS "IN THE 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR, KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS SHALL ACHIEVE AN AVERAGE CONSOLIDATED ACT SCORE OF 22.5". WE MUST ALSO HAVE A MONTHLY REPORT AND OBJECTIVE ON SPENDING VS. THE APPROVED BUDGET FOR THE SAME MONTH AND YEAR-TO-DATE. LET'S CALL THESE PRIMARY OBJECTIVES THAT ARE ASSIGNED TO THE BOARD AND THE SUPERINTENDENT FOR THEIR PERFORMANCE EVALUATION PURPOSES, WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL OBJECTIVES. The clear measurable objectives continue down to all supervisory employees focusing on their measurable performance-related and spending objectives in every single school. THESE ARE SECONDARY OBJECTIVES. This would be called the ANNUAL OPERATING PLAN, not to be confused with the Five Year Strategic Plan. We are missing these important elements IN THE SUPERINTENDENT'S FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN.

    Knox County, Tennessee School District's Objectives

    What we have are two different groups of unmeasurable, unclear objectives IN 2015. One is on the board's website. The second set is in the Superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan.
    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 27. 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.
      • "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"
    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. 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.

    Poor teacher morale is very common and it is a major impediment to good performance:
    • Teacher morale is low and too many superintendents don't know how to solve that basic management problem without being defensive with structured "satisfaction surveys". 250 of our teachers demonstrated at an August 2014 board meeting about how they are being treated. It is a management fact that when you have a number of overt complaints as in this case, there are at least ten times as many employees behind it. That makes almost all teachers having the same feelings about their jobs. The resolution in a situation like this is an anonymous, confidential 3rd party survey that is open ended and not structured. Structured surveys are multiple choice and can be structured to a specific conclusion.
    • The elected boards and superintendents make up their own approximately 8-15 vague objectives, and then they give themselves excellent performance reviews based on those objectives, while their compensation is guaranteed. This method actually ensures no focus on any objective, and poor performance as a result. In a poorly performing environment, management needs to be focused on a single objective for performance.
    • The ACT or SAT score measures what children have learned from grade 1 to 12. There is no single performance objective in any school district that is an ACT score that is only 5% higher than the last one achieved. That is what is needed.
    • The approved budget is not taken seriously and spending rises as performance declines. There is no objective to not exceed the budget.
    • Teacher product knowledge and teaching methodology needs updating to the top ten internationals' level (Reference1, Reference2, Reference3).
    • In the top performing countries teachers above 3rd grade were among the top ten percent in their master's degree program for the subject they are teaching. Teachers under 4th grade have a master's degree in education. Teacher pay is only average in the high performing countries, but job satisfaction is very high with very low turnover.
    ACT Readiness, unreadiness (not being ready) and how we calculate the results are explained at http://usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html.

    The poor primary and secondary education will create increasing unemployment. This will result from more advanced cognitive robotics entering the labor force slowly in 2016 and increasing job requirements by employers. Our public school district in Knox County, Tennessee is creating an 80%+ failure rate, or 80%+ mortality from the employability point of view (98% for black students) with homelessness, crime, jail time, violent life and perhaps early violent death.



    Look at the Knox County, Tennessee high school ACT score trends for 11 years in the second chart below. One has a slight increase and the rest are declining. According to ACT in 2014 the best high school, Farragut, had only a 45% Readiness (first chart). That means that 55% of the graduates were not ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school. In the worst high schools 98-99% are not ACT Ready (e.g., Austin East and Fulton). The worst high schools have been getting more than twice the funding per student of the best high schools over the 11 year period. IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE. The poor performers just keep going down. THE MONEY IS CLEARLY NOT BEING SPENT FOR THE RIGHT THINGS TO RAISE RESULTS. We as a country also are delivering the lowest result among the industrialized countries. In a chart further down, we can see that we are spending more money per student than most of the high performing countries in the world. We have become the fifth highest spender per student in the world. "Unreadiness" means spotty minimum wage jobs with eventual homelessness. Starting in 2016, cognitive robots will start eliminating employment possibilities for these poorly prepared children, except for those who enter a university to pursue a degree in demand. The more difficult degrees. The future looks discouraging for marginal students who graduated from our high schools. That's more than 80% of those who entered 9th grade in Tennessee, will not be ready for job training after leaving high school. The Governor and his leadership initiate only small impact programs that will not make any difference, when the entire school system needs to be made more productive. We need eight education laws amended. Experts predict that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots.



    We were on top in 1970. Neither party's administration has done anything to raise the ACT scores.





    Click here to look at more performance-related issues.

    Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.
    Plato






    B. OVERSPENDING THE BUDGET

    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 comingled hidden in different county cost centers. That means that we do not know exactly how much we spend related to 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 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 perform 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.

    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, with simply a fixed percentage increase on activities every year, and then adds a tenth year result that looks very good, 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.

    The Knox County, Tennessee school district has an unusually large PR group 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.

    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. Other than that 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.
    Click here to look at more facts about our spending.

    A half truth is a whole lie.
    Yiddish Proverb





    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.





    C. EXCESSIVE ADMINISTRATOR OVERLOAD


    In Knox County, Tennessee, we have increased administrators by 130% between 1995 and 2014 while students increased only 14%. Administrators have people working for them. That number is unknown. When a commissioner requested a couple of years ago a list of people from the superintendent who are not performance reviewed by a school principal or his/her in-school supervisors or managers, the superintendent would not supply him with such a list. I requested the same from the superintendent on June 1, 2015. The resulting administrative increase beyond normal in Central Management does not disappear until all those employees with the excessive number of administrators go elsewhere. Reference to normal is presented below.

    The ACT test measures what children learned from grade one to twelve. They also predict accurately who is ready for a job or further learning beyond high school, or not ready. The ACT results did not improve with the addition of all those administrators and their employees. The school district's ACT score went down setting an all time low ACT record in 2013. If money spent on administrative excess was spent in the classrooms, we would have had a much better chance for improved ACT results.

    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, must not exceed 1% (one percent) of the school district's total employees. Reference the second graph below. The Knox County, Tennessee school district exceeds this limit by more than 600%!




    The actual pages of the referenced book can be examined by clicking here.


    "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






D. MINOR PROGRAMS AT MORE PUBLIC COST WITHOUT IMPROVING THE ACT SCORES

Most important question: did they raise the average ACT scores? The answer is "No". Someone who destroys the job-readiness of 80% of your children is NOT your friend. I am not sure that our leaders recognize the difference, or act accordingly.

80% of those children who entered 9th grade have not been prepared by the high schools for gainful employment of further learning. The remedies from the top are programs that will cost more money because it is not financed from the failing education systems that failed: 2 years of remedial schooling offered after high school, 5% of low performers getting a voucher, and a lot of talk to increase charter schools under the influence of the long poorly managed school districts. I hope that you see what I see: poor strategy, big effort to maintain the failing monopoly in the style they are accustomed to, and spending more of the people's money while we are dumbing their children down. How about a slightly different idea? Let's fix the badly failing school districts. Just look at the management guidelines I am providing. They could do a turnaround instead of pouring more of our citizens' money into poorly managed Failure Factories. None of these new help programs will remedy the huge 80%+ failure rate in our public school districts.

We have become the 5th largest spender per student as a country. In performance, we dropped to 36th. It appears to me that instead of spending more money for two more years of education, we should learn from the top performers in education systems and correct our's in order to produce much better results. Why are we not raising high school performance INSTEAD OF MORE SPENDING so that our graduates' ACT Readiness is at 80% instead of under 20%? WE ARE CERTAINLY SPENDING MORE ON IT THAN OUR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITORS, EXCEPT FOR FOUR, ALL OF WHOM OUTPERFORM US WITH CLOSE TO 100% READINESS.

I understand that some concerns exist among some legislators about the PR power of school districts, teachers' unions and a fair number of foundations who are pro status quo.

WE HAVE TWO OPTIONS AS WE SEE IT. We either keep allowing the destruction of our children's future with more than 80% of those who started in 9th grade at a very high expense to the public. They are prepared only for short-lived minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by cognitive robotics. Or, the second choice is to start a major campaign to inform the public of the truth about our children's education and the necessity for some important changes in education laws to manage each education district more efficiently and uniformly to ensure a better future for our children. The suggestions are made under "Management Guidelines" below.

I even heard explanations stating that we want to start small with the new ideas so that we will face less opposition. We are starting with small steps against public education who are destroying 80%+ of our children's future. That is not an effective counter strategy. They are a monopoly and act exactly like one.

Every year the board and superintendent convinces the county commission to receive additional millions for some project that sounds impressive. However, the subject of how much such a spending will increase the average ACT score for the county is always avoided. Although such projects are not successful, the money committed to them remains in every future years' budget.

Governor Haslam, it is you who would be most effective to educate the public about who and what the extent of our education problem is, and what effect it will have on 80% of those children who enter 9th grade. Someone who destroys the job-readiness of 80% of your children is NOT your friend. Help them become friends by establishing management guidelines to get much better ACT results. We need public support with the truth to change that.





See the second chart from the bottom above. The three countries marked with a red square are among the top five in the world, their cost of living is higher than ours, yet they pay much less for far superior education per student.

I am going to suggest a few management guidelines to propose as legislation if you do not want to keep our failing education, that destroys so many young people's future today. In my opinion, we will keep failing without implementing such guidelines.

The listed Management Guidelines are a necessity when one is a poor performer. We are not focused on achieving higher ACT scores that represent more than 15-25% of our graduates being ready for job training or just one year of college or tech school according to ACT. Our significant overspending beyond the approved budget, with certain education expenses hidden in other cost centers in school districts, is not only reckless management of the people's money, but it damages the employment prospect for more than 80% of the children who entered high school in 9th grade in Tennessee education districts like Knox County.






SOLUTION 1:
MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES TO IMPROVE EDUCATION RESULTS


If you were never management trained at an excellent university, and you did not manage an organization with at least 100 professional people to achieve a significant result for each of five years minimum, on which your job depended, I don't expect you to appreciate and understand any of the management guidelines below. That is why your results as a superintendent have been so poor.

In a poorly performing organization, you have too many people in management, perhaps on the very top, who did not have good training for it and did not have a good manager above them to guide them. You have to manage all key activities more tightly than in a well performing organization. You are changing attitudes, quality, job knowledge, management techniques and so on - are the reasons. This all should be done with kindness and understanding with all employees - hopefully with a superintendent who is the type who likes people. If anyone is not suited for the job, there are at least 2 tests that if correlated, give an excellent reading of where they would do well and be happy, and help them by crossing that bridge without pressure (Strong Interest Inventory and Myers-Briggs Psychological Inventory). If someone does not enjoy their job, how can they do well in it? I am talking only about those employees who are trying to do well.




Management Guideline 1: The board of education and the superintendent must have one academic objective: It shall be an average consolidated ACT score that is at least 5% higher than the score actually achieved last, until a consolidated district average ACT score of 25 is reached. One cannot FOCUS on achieving excellence otherwise. The board's and superintendent's annual performance evaluation shall be based on meeting both this academic objective and the financial objective below.

Management Guideline 2: The board of education and the superintendent also must have a financial objective. The superintendent shall prepare both a "monthly" and "monthly year-to-date" expense budget for board approval along with the usual annual expense budget. In this objective both the board and the superintendent shall not exceed the initially approved monthly, year-to-date or annual expense budgets.

The 25 ACT score represents the possibility of an 80% ACT Readiness, a minimal target in our opinion. The above two objectives shall focus the board on ACT score achievement within the approved budget, both of which have not had enough focus in the past. Many objectives dilute each others' importance. Immeasurable objectives do not tell you if you reached them or not. Numbers are your friend. The board in the past prepared many objectives, so did the superintendent with board approval, with many objectives vague and immeasurable. They do their own performance evaluation based on the objectives they prepared. No wonder that the results are poor and the reckless overspending without ACT score improvement is the standard.

Management Guideline 3: Apart from any other plan that the superintendent creates, the superintendent must create an OPERATING PLAN for the school year for which he prepared an ACT and budget objective under Management guidelines 3 and 4. Said operating plan needs to be double spaced, typed in 8th grade English language, it must have an academic monthly objective for every single school that is AT LEAST 5% higher than the same actually achieved in the prior year, such that each such objective supports progress toward the achievement of the annual school district ACT objective. Such a plan must also have one, or two or not more than three objectives for every supervisory or management person in each school and in Central Management with all such objectives supporting progress toward the school district's ACT objective achievement. All objectives must be clearly measurable.

Management Guideline 4: Teachers must also have an annual objective that is AT LEAST 5% higher than the achieved objective in the prior year. As a suggestion the following could be a good fit. Maintain a base-line average GPA automatically covering the prior three years of individual average GPAs for any starting class, starting with 4th grade. Ignore transfers in and out for current class GPA calculation only. They are too small. The teacher's objective will be to achieve a 5% higher average class GPA than the base-line GPA was at the start of the class. All tests shall be on line and the answers unalterable, except by the principal, under password control with an audit list of such changes. TVAAS is currently using a performance database of students to forecast performance growth whose reliability is questionable. TVAAS could be easily modified to provide class GPA and class base-line calculations automatically whose reliability would be unquestionable. This data should be present in TVAAS now.

Management Guideline 5: The total Central Management employees in any school district shall not exceed ONE PERCENT OF TOTAL SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES PLUS 25 to protect smaller school districts. See backup for this at usaedustat.com (References: Dr. Allan Ornstein, Dean, Grad. School of Education, published 50 education management titled books and more than 2,000 research papers at St. John's University, NYC, and the American Association of School Administrators, Nancy Prodheroe article is of the same opinion). The resulting millions from a Central Management reduction need to be transferred to the schools to improve teaching methodologies and academic results.

Management Guideline 6: We are raising soft kids for a much tougher and more demanding world. We better get as tough as their world is going to be with discipline and the curriculum. Teacher authority must be increased to deal with discipline problems immediately and so firmly that both the offending student and parent will be discouraged from trying it again. We also need to demand higher student performance in the classroom, with the recognition that we must help all students, from the worst to the best to perform better and stop focusing only on the poor performers, especially those who have not performed well. We cannot be all things to all people and expect to develop excellent results.

Management Guideline 7: Anyone who changes student grades for the better, shall be dismissed immediately. If it is found that such grade alteration was requested from a teacher that was reported by the teacher immediately without delay, the teacher's principal shall be dismissed.

Management Guideline 8: The school board and superintendent approaches the county commission for additional millions of dollars for projects that sound impressive. They do not present it with measurable outcomes so that the public can tell if the spending produced success or not. The amount stays in the budget for every year in future years. No such additional moneys shall be approved by anyone without a measurable objective it shall achieve, e.g., a higher average ACT score increase committed to specific school years, and if such objective is not achieved, the money shall no longer be provided.
There can be no improvement when such basic management controls are not present in every single school district.

There are a few comments on management that could be helpful.

  1. When you have poor results, the money is not getting to the right places.

  2. If there is bad morale in any group, fixing it provides the quickest gains in results. Denying it simply shows that a person is unaware of what's going on in the most important area of his/her responsibility. The number one requirement to achieve outstanding performance is happiness in the job and looking forward to it every day. A superintendent must create such an environment.

  3. American teachers have the most classroom teaching requirement in the world at more than 1000 hours. That means that they do not have enough preparation time. The top twenty countries require 600-800 hours. We require the most paperwork. That cuts preparation time more. We do more testing in Knox County, Tennessee, and tests require preparation, administration and result review time. That cuts into teacher preparation time even more. Since our results are poor, we should be able to rebalance the teacher loading to something much more productive to get better results.

  4. All supervisory and management employees, as well as teachers must understand clearly what objectives are expected to be met by them, and must have the freedom to do their best without interference to produce better results to the best of their ability. To that end both the students and their parents must see proof that the teacher is in charge in the classroom, and will make all decisions including decisions about disciplinary violations on the spot such that both the offender and his/her parent will be discouraged from trying the same behavior again, including but not limited to any disrespectful behavior or words with the teacher. All this with full backing of the principal, the superintendent and the board.

  5. The current (2015) teacher performance evaluation is prejudicial (the observations) and inaccurate, and subject to redefinition in use by the state (TVAAS has the capability and needs to change from inaccurate growth prediction to GPA base-line definition for a fair end of course class-GPA result). A fair teacher performance evaluation must be present measuring class academic achievement gains during the year, with which the board and superintendent objectives, as described, are compatible.

  6. Since the outcome of the school depends on the teachers who have a bad morale, board members and especially the superintendent, must spend time with as many teachers as possible (e.g., 25% of his/her time) to be aware of their job satisfaction to raise their morale. (Ref: Peters: Management by Walking Around) Mr. Superintendent, your teachers do not like you and it is up to you to convince them that you are a warm human being who really cares. There are examples of SCHOOLS WITH ENORMOUS SUCCESSES with poor inner city minority children that could be emulated (e.g., Success Academies in NYC).

  7. We are substantially behind the international competition in teacher subject knowledge and teaching methodologies. They are generally hired with a master's degree in the subject that they will teach above 4th grade. Focus teachers on a continuing education program to improve their subject knowledge and teaching methodologies. http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/nsb0602/.

    Today the competition is international. Anyone can sell their products and services in any country, and they can sell their products and services in the US. That means that the competition is international in every industry. Therefore the workforce has to be internationally competitive in order to create competitive products or services. The schools that prepare the workforce must be internationally competitive. Because of our poor performance since 1970, our public high schools are not competitive and our workforce is no longer competitive as a result. That is why we have been inundated with imports. That is why our national income or GNP is so poor. Our private schools are internationally competitive, with an ACT Readiness percentage above 90%.

  8. It is only with teachers who are well matched to their profession who will be happy in their job. THAT IS WHAT PRODUCES GOOD QUALITY WORK. FIRST, YOU CAN TEST FOR THE VOCATIONAL MATCH, e.g., using tests like the STRONG INTEREST INVENTORY correlated with the MYERS-BRIGGS PSYCHOLOGICAL INVENTORY.


It is difficult to appreciate all the above if one did not have at least five years of experience managing at least a few hundred people with successful results. If one has not, well, everyone has an opinion about almost everything. The chef at Calhoun's is excellent and he may have a negative opinion about the way the New York World Trade Center was designed. The new one that is.






Superintendent of the Knox County School District in Tennessee claims that the drop in ACT scores in the chart below is due to the state mandating 100% student participation in 2009 to take the ACT. Knox County's ACT performance is higher than the State's. 92% of the children in 11th grade took the ACT before the 100% requirement. The increase was announced two years prior in order to allow school districts to prepare. We did not prepare. The state dropped 1.0 point. Knox County dropped 1.3 . We had four years since to catch up. Instead we set an all time low record ACT score at 20.2 in 2013 in Knox County, Tennessee. We need to have much better results.








MORE ABOUT PERFORMANCE

The results are poor. No wonder why. Read below about the mystery of two sets of different objectives - when not any of them make sense and are unmeasurable.

On the board's website, the superintendent's presentation says this about HIS OBJECTIVE:
"In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is:
  1. 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?)
  2. 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?)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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 27. The top twenty countries in education are delivering high school students in an ACT equivalent range of 26 to 31).
It should be very clear to anyone that this 100/90/90/90 objective that the board and superintendent have been using makes no sense and it is not appropriate for improving the results. Objectives that are vague, not 100% in line with THE key indicator of success in the activity, the ACT score, or are a limit instead of a very specific target to reach, simply do not work. When one includes such elements in an objective, the entire objective will not work and become confusing.

The Tennessee Code Annotated, TCA 49-2-702 (a)(2) controls two areas above that may need to be amended because they set the minimum standards for performance that is too low for today, although the Board has the right to select higher goals than what the state law specifies. Sub. (A) here wants a graduation rate of ninety percent (90%) or higher; The ACT shows the readiness of regular diplomas at 19-23% that is very poor, with 77-81% graduates with a regular diploma NOT READY for a job that is better than minimum wage.
Sub (B) Exhibits an average student ACT score of 21 or higher etc. This ACT score (21) and the corresponding SAT score has a readiness of 25% only of those achieving it. We would have to be at 24-25 ACT average to have 80-90% readiness. The readiness for today's and especially tomorrow's job requirements need to be much higher. Since the elected boards control all such decisions and therefore uniformity of performance becomes elusive, the amendment of these two laws would go a long way to raise our poor performance. "Low expectation" objectives produce results below low objectives. With "High expectation" objectives people rise to the occasion to exceed such objectives and that is how one achieves higher results. The superintendent likes to claim "high rigor world class performance with excellence for all children". Our performance is the opposite. It is very poor. Why? Because the primary objective is wrong, and an annual operating plan per school does not exist. But we certainly spend a lot of money, more than the high achievers do.

When one does poorly with an organization that depends on public dollars like the Knox County, Tennessee's school system, one needs a large PR group to make things look better for the public, because the truth would make the public very unhappy. Unfortunately, this is how our boards and superintendents think. It is sad that the kind of leadership does not exist where one can admit openly that we failed and have to take action, however, we will correct it with serious objectives and operating plans and not with five year plans that had a tendency to fail ever since they were started by the communist countries after WWII. We do not see PR groups in the top performing countries. The results THAT COUNT speak more loudly than PR stories.

INTERESTINGLY, A DIFFERENT SET OF OBJECTIVES APPEARS IN THE FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN. NEITHER THAT ONE NOR THE ABOVE WILL MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IN PERFORMANCE BECAUSE THEY ARE VAGUE, INAPPROPRIATE AND INEFFECTIVE OBJECTIVES IN BOTH. DOESN'T THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE BOARD REALIZE THAT SUCH VAGUE OBJECTIVES ARE USELESS IN FOCUSING THE STAFF ON THE TASK OF IMPROVING EDUCATION?

School districts like to prepare beautifully produced FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLANS. They are loaded with information that looks pretty and sounds good, 40-60 pages worth. However, the most important achievement by far is to have high ACT scores and ACT READINESS percentages at the end of high school, to tell the public how well they have prepared our children for employment or further learning. Unfortunately our children are very poorly prepared because education districts are not focused on an ACT or SAT objective, whichever is supported by the state.

It stands to reason that if a school district is spending $560 million per year in 2014, including ALL education-related expenses not disclosed to the public, like capital and interest expenses, AND the fact that their ACT Career and College Readiness percentage of regular diplomas is only 20% counting from 9th grade entries (meaning that 80% with a regular diploma cannot even be trained for a job), a large portion of the money is not being spent correctly to produce good results, and they have serious management problems. The FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLANS do not focus on what is important, and they are not strategic. I have looked at many in several states. They have much in common. There are nine objectives listed in the new FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN of the superintendent of Knox County, Tennessee. Remember that objectives have to be measurable to be able to tell if you achieved them or not. They also have to be important in that they better reduce the existing ACT Unreadiness of more than 80% of the children after high school to get a job that provides enough money to live on or to enter college or a tech school. Do you see any objective below that deals with that?! For example:

  1. "Guarantee Excellence in Teaching and Learning."
  2. "Personalize Learning"
  3. "Facilitate High Quality Student Supports"
  4. "Build & Support Our Community of Learners"
  5. "Build & Support Our Community of Leaders"
  6. "Value Our Hardworking People"
  7. "Build & Strengthen Our "One Big Team""
  8. "Invite & Earn Stakeholder Feedback"
  9. "Improve Customer Service & Communication"

The above cannot qualify as objectives. Objectives have to specify a specific achievement, preferably a numerically expressed achievement that in this case must be a higher number than what was previously achieved, because the result was too low. One has to be able to see clearly that the objective has been achieved or not, the result not being subject to any argument. Numbers don't lie. In addition the objectives described need to become the personal objectives for the people intended for their performance evaluation. If the objective(s) do not possess the qualities stated, they become useless in focusing a team of any size on what needs to be achieved. The above objectives cannot perform as objectives. The person who wrote them simply did not have management training for a management job, not to know such a basic requirement. Such a person who writes vague objectives is not sure about what needs to be achieved, and how it will be achieved. They do not want responsibility for results. And such management, no one needs and wants because they lose every time and produce poor results as the ACT performance history shows. HOW DOES ANY OF THE OBJECTIVES ABOVE FOCUS THE BOARD, THE SUPERINTENDENT, CENTRAL MANAGEMENT AND ALL THE SCHOOLS TO DELIVER AT MINIMUM A HIGHER AVERAGE ACT SCORE, THAN THE LAST ONE ACTUALLY ACHIEVED? HOW DOES IT FOCUS ALL SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES AND THE BOARD TO IMPROVE THAT TERRIBLE 21% ACT READINESS PERCENTAGE OF REGULAR DIPLOMAS TO ONE THAT SHOWS THAT WE IMPROVED THE RESULTS TO 41%, AND WE ARE STILL NOT WHERE WE SHOULD BE BECAUSE MORE THAN HALF OF OUR CHILDREN WILL BE JOBLESS?!

DOES ANYONE IN LEGISLATURE UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SNOW JOB, AND WHAT IS NEEDED FROM A MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE TO IMPROVE OUR POOR RESULTS AGGRESSIVELY?!

If anyone believes that immeasurable and vague objectives like the ones above will improve the poor education of our children, they do not have the experience to make anything successful. Just like the person who wrote the above objectives.

But the problem is much larger than that. The board writes up its own objectives, and then the board writes its own performance evaluation based on them. The superintendent does the same and the board approves it. Under such conditions a school district will never have objectives that are challenging enough to raise the average ACT scores and Readiness. This is a huge problem. The performance evaluations and the actual performance of a school district will never improve with such practices. Who is going to change it?



THE POOR RESULTS ARE THE PRODUCT OF OUR CLASSROOMS. THE SCHOOL DISTRICT'S PRODUCTS ARE THE STUDENTS, FOR WHOM EMPLOYERS AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS ARE THE CUSTOMERS. THE STUDENT "PRODUCT" MUST MEET THE CUSTOMERS' NEEDS. 80% DO NOT MEET THOSE NEEDS TODAY ACCORDING TO ACT, AND THAT IS SOMETHING TO BE TAKEN VERY SERIOUSLY.



MORE ABOUT OVERSPENDING THE BUDGET

If we just keep providing more and more money, the school districts' results will not improve without a single ACT score goal and spending limited to the approved budget, as described here. Taxing the people to provide more money for our poorly performing school districts is just more wasting of the people's money, unless we see changes in the objectives as described here.









"Education is not just the learning of facts. It is rather the training of the mind to think."
Albert Einstein

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR WORKFORCE AS A RESULT?

Today, more and more foreign students with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in science and engineering from American universities are returning home because the opportunities there are better. In talking to graduate school professors in our universities one finds that before 2005, foreign students who were the best performers aspired to get a job in the USA and stayed. This made-up for the shortfall in American students with advanced degrees in science and engineering. That has been changing. Since 2005, more and more American students come out of our high schools poorly trained and unmotivated. They do not work hard and are unprepared to do college-level work. Look for the ACT "UNREADINESS" and how it is calculated below under RESULTS. Serious changes need to be made in education law to get our education on track.

Our leaders talk about job creation a lot, but no employer will hire anyone unqualified and insufficiently educated for any job. No employer will offer a job unless the candidate has a job history with good references, education and experience to guarantee that such a potential employee will be able to do an excellent job. Job openings do exist. Well enough educated potential employees need to exist FIRST before an employer can offer a job. They do not exist in sufficient numbers thanks to the poor results our public elementary and high schools are delivering - with very few exceptions. We are certainly spending enough money on them. The 80% of 9th graders who leave high school are NOT ready for other than minimum wage jobs. Unfortunately many have a bad attitude and no motivation to deliver an honest days work. Too many feel unjustly that they have the right to receive more than what they are getting. Serious changes need to be made in education law to get our education on track.

We hear from US companies more and more often that they do not value tax and property incentives any more from the states, because the available workforce is poorly educated. State leadership is aware of this everywhere. These companies are looking to expand elsewhere. There is no action taken yet that would improve the only thing that counts: average ACT or SAT scores. Serious changes need to be made in education law to get our education on track.




TEACHERS



"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
Albert Einstein

Board members and Superintendent, teachers are your ONLY resource to come out of the bad situation you are in. You have not been treating them well enough, and you have not changed that yet. If you want to change this failure factory called Knox County Schools (KCS), you better appreciate them, understand them and help them. Mr. Superintendent, promises and words do not count. The opinion of those who are offended count.

It is the classroom where children are motivated and learn - or do not learn. There are many good teachers, and some who are not so good, like in any job. Those who are not so good do have a negative impact on children. Teacher training is weak at US universities with very few exceptions (Reference). American teachers are from the bottom third of their college. In the top 20 foreign countries, graduates from the top third (top 10% in Finland) of their master's program VOLUNTEER to become teachers in the subject they would like to teach. They are not switched from the subject in which they earned their MS or PhD. Continuing education is encouraged.

As many of us may recall, more than forty years ago, teachers had high morale, they were tough and they produced good results. The US was among the best countries in education then. If any student misbehaved in school, he or she was punished in the class, and then was punished again by their parents. All of that changed completely and no political leader stood up to tell the public the truth and to change the terrible education system we created.

We are far from the people I just described. With the subject training being weak in college, we could make up for it with continuing education programs and supporting a master's program for them. Our superintendent, James McIntyre stopped that. Teachers could do it on their own, but very few do that. Our teachers do not have any authority to run a classroom. They are not allowed to teach as they see fit. They are told by less qualified people many times what to teach and how to teach. They have no authority to render judgment on discipline problems, destroying their authority. Their verbal and sometimes physical abuse by some students is terrible and such discipline events interfere with the entire class for an entire day or more. US teachers have to work the most by far in the world. The paperwork load is huge. They do not have enough time for class preparation. Teachers are pressured by central management people to change the test grades of students for the better so that the students graduate on time, making the school district look good. The students' readiness is not important. Graduating with such a diploma (77% of the diploma holders are not ACT ready) is what the board and the superintendent want. Teacher morale is terrible. In 2014, 250 teachers came to a Board meeting to air their objections. When people write or speak about complaints, there are at least ten times as many out there who are dissatisfied. For us, that's 90-95% of all teachers. The superintendent and central management is very autocratic with them, with the superintendent being the worst. Teaching is looked upon as one of the most difficult jobs even under the best of circumstances (Reference and Knox county teachers voice opposition to new evaluations).

The most important thing for improved results with teachers in any country including ours is happiness in the job and independence to do your very best. The result is good morale, on which much of the results with students depend on. It is impossible to do your best if you have poor morale. The price our children pay for management incompetence is enormous. 80% of 9th graders not being ready for job training or further education is criminal. It is not the teachers who are doing this to them. It is the board and the superintendent who are inexperienced in management who are responsible.

The evidence is by 250 teachers demonstrating in August and September, 2014. The minimum management assumption is always that those who complain about working conditions represent only one tenth of those who feel that way, but do not want to go public.

We need performance evaluation for everyone including teachers. The annual teacher performance evaluation needs to be fair. It is not fair today in 2014. The currently used one-hour teacher observations four times per year are inadequate, unfair and can be prejudicial. The use of the TVAAS system for growth projections is mathematically unreliable, and is contested legally enough not to last.

Objectives work only if they are measurable indicators of performance, if they are mutually supportive and related through all management levels, starting always at the top in an organization - not just on the bottom or starting only with teachers. We do not have that yet.

The school results SHOULD depend on the education, quality and motivation of teachers. They would, if:
  • The required laws were changed in the state to give teachers full authority to deal immediately with discipline problems, with punishment that the student and their parent would not want to experience again, and if
  • They had the freedom of teaching the best way they know how without an enormous amount of paperwork they have to create by hand.


We do not have all that as yet. The teachers' university performance is an important start and the best international countries in education do not hire teachers who are not in the top 1/3rd in their university performance - with a Masters degree in the field that they want to teach.

We have some teachers whose subject knowledge and teaching methodology needs help through a continuing education program. Education systems that perform well and have the best reputation attract the best volunteers.

Unfortunately, in our education systems teacher morale is poor. That is always the result of poor management on top. Our school districts try to create a good public image with professional PR stories in the media - not with results that count. We are dealing with the challenges that must be solved in this area on a separate page at http://www.usaedustat.com/1teacherchallenges.html.






THE RESULTS OF POOR MANAGEMENT

Promotion to higher levels from teachers upward, are on the basis of friendships with someone in central management or nepotism, instead of being based on excellent job performance and readiness for the new job. Titles do not make a manager or supervisor, yet management training before promoting someone into a management or supervisory position is nonexistent in education. It is also rare to see a person among the elected school boards who has management experience even at the level of one tenth the size of the school district in number of employees and budget size annually who actually had experience producing good results. Board members are not trained in basic management skills like interviewing a person for a superintendent position, do not even realize the need for such a skill, and tend to hire superintendents in their own image and experience, purely on the basis of appearances only and not on the candidates accomplishments. It is very common to find superintendents without the management experience that would be required for the size of the school district.
We can even find boards hiring superintendents without the candidate ever having managed even a single school as a principal. That is exactly what happened in Knox County, Tennessee in 2008, and the result since then is declining ACT performance and bad teacher morale http://www.wate.com/story/24207001/knox-county-teachers-worry-current-policies-are-causing-more-educators-to-quit.



Teachers or any employees treated without respect, unprofessionally, restricted in their jobs resulting in the poor ACT score results, fooling the public with higher scores from the much weaker state tests, pushing teachers to change test results by changing scores, unemployable high school graduates in large numbers like more than 75% of those with a regular diploma not being ready to be trained for a job, are all signs of poor management. Teachers have very low morale. People with low morale cannot do their best. There are major problems in the classroom that remain unsolved because teachers are given no authority to solve them. Vague unmeasurable objectives on the board and superintendent level, politics replacing real performance and achievement of real objectives like an average ACT or SAT score; covering up of bad news about the important tests because their scores are poor; and publishing only news for the public that sounds positive is actually very damaging. As an end result, such school districts produce the majority of high school graduates WITH A REGULAR HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, such that 74-90%+ of the students (depending on the state) with a regular diploma are NOT EVEN READY TO BE TRAINED FOR A JOB according to ACT. All of this is created by school districts that are managed very poorly on the elected board and superintendent level. The great majority are like that unfortunately. THEY ARE ACTUALLY CREATING AND RUNNING FAILURE FACTORIES, INSTEAD OF GRADUATES DEVELOPED READY FOR JOBS OR FURTHER EDUCATION. http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/12/broads-jim-mcintyre-gets-2-earfuls-from.html.

The needed improvement of our education results depends on how quickly we will recognize both our management and teacher challenges, and act to solve them all at the earliest. When 250 teachers show up at a board meeting, in an autocratically managed school district, that is very significant. In business, if you see a complaint, there are more than ten behind it with the same feelings who did not want to go public. That makes this entire school district's teachers very dissatisfied: http://www.wate.com/story/23897839/knox-county-teachers-voice-opposition-to-new-evaluations.

Fixing our poor education cannot happen without the public being informed of all the truth about education. Public support for changes is very important, and that is why our school districts have substantial numbers of full time professional PR staff on board, some more than we have seen in billion dollar corporations. One could legitimately ask why even one is needed in any school district to develop articles for the media that put the school district into a better light than what the entire truth really would about the school district's performance.

There is much more information of importance about teachers: click here.

What do three high performing countries do to retain teachers long term? The chart below explains. See also What brings success in other countries?











"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

Good Morale, The Right Objectives, Annual Operating Plans, And Operating Ratios Without Which Success Will Be Elusive


Good morale is most important in every part of every organization. It is the result of all professional employees being well matched to job and well treated on the job. That does not mean selecting a friend or relative for the job, but someone who is experienced in what the job requires, and someone who is well matched to his/her job requirements, coworkers and bosses. This last one requires tests, like the Strong Interest Inventory correlated with the Myers-Briggs Psychological Inventory. I was fortunate enough to work in a company that did that. The result is happiness in the job, and looking forward to it every day. When 250 teachers complain openly in front of a board meeting, there are at least 2500 teachers who feel that way. The worst thing that any senior manager can do is to do a specific satisfaction survey with leading questions, as our supervisor has done, and decide that money is the problem but we could give only 2-3%. Money is never among the leading issues in morale problems. The workers' treatment by management is. Money is not effective because people get used to money very fast. Compensation needs to be competitive.






"Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle!"
Abraham Lincoln






HIDING THE BAD RESULTS FROM THE PUBLIC

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 36th 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 comingled 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.

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 cognitive robots. This trend just started happening. Read about the first example in Japan (hotel staffed with robots) and in China (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. 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.

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.

SCHOOL DISTRICT PR CAPABILITIES: There has been a significant increase in PR professionals over past decades within school districts to present "good" news and make sure that the poor ACT or SAT are kept from the tax-paying public who pay the bills.

This effort goes so far that school districts like Knox county, Tennessee, distribute the pr capability over several different groups and "partnerships" to increase the number of pr people significantly, hoping that this increase would be hidden. Why cover up the results that count to the public who actually pay the taxes to fund their children's education? The management people make a good living in the school districts and do not want to risk that with bad news. There is no state requirement to promote or publish the tests that are more meaningful (ACT or SAT or NAEP) with the same or higher frequency than the weaker state tests that show higher scores because they are easier tests. The exception is the new Common Core Test and many oppose it for this reason only. The Common Core test results must be published to the public with its scores in the original form. New York State was the first to publish it in August 2013.

We would recommend for reading OECD-PISA's analysis of US academic performance at http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/PISA-2012-results-US.pdf. This organization tests the best educational performers internationally with 34 member countries, plus associate countries totaling 65 countries in total. The following article presents a broad and accurate overview of worldwide education spending and performance and how we fit into it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/oecd-education-report_n_3496875.html.



“Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle!

Abraham Lincoln






THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020-2022



What is certain in this world is change. Faster change than before. What is also certain is that some people will be hurt by change and many others will be afraid of change, perhaps made fearful by the people who do not want change and the unknown. BUT HOW CAN ANYONE IGNORE THE FACT THAT 80% OF THE CHILDREN WHO ENTERED 9TH GRADE WILL BE PUT INTO A LOSING SITUATION WITH THE POOR JOB WITH WHICH THEY ARE LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL. WE CANNOT LEAVE SUCH A SYSTEM IN PLACE WITHOUT A MAJOR CHANGE. WE DO NOT HAVE A CHOICE. WE MUST CHANGE OR WE WILL BECOME A THIRD WORLD NATION WITH A TERRIBLE LIFE.

Teachers are the part of the education system who deliver the necessary level of knowledge to our children to get them ready to learn more for higher level jobs, or to be trained for a job by an employer. Today, the best lectures, the best tutorials are available from the Internet from the best minds on ANY subject (go to "Great Learning Tools" in the menu above). TODAY, the best universities like MIT and Stanford offer the public for their child to learn on the Internet and earn a fully accredited high school diploma OR MORE, for much less money than what public education is costing us per student (Example 1: http://www.pgbovine.net/advantages-of-name-brand-school.htm, Example 2: http://ohs.stanford.edu/, Example 3: http://www.lincolnonlinehs.com/index-landing.php?gclid=CKKey_KCs7wCFZRr7AodGH8A6g). It should be very obvious to everyone that primary and secondary education will change, and the old schema of public education that is producing poor results will disappear whether we like it or not. Who are the best positioned people to take advantage of this opportunity? They are the great teachers of today who understand this picture, and who want to deliver an excellent result: high school graduates who match the best international performers in the world. Nothing remains the same. Things are changing faster and faster. Public schools will not go away. Some will change and become excellent. Others will disappear. In the best performing nations like Finland, Canada and Singapore, public schools are very successful. In Finland even private schools are financed by the government and their standards are controlled by the government. Any fears about people like Bill Gates or Common Core Curriculum and its test are totally unfounded, spread by people who want to preserve status quo.

No changes would come if the results were not so poor and damaging to the great majority of our children's lives and to our economic future.

The trio that wants to preserve status quo at any cost: Boards of education in education districts, teachers unions, and foundations that solicit funds from the public to support only the education districts, do promote the state of education in a much more positive light than what reality is. Many people in the management of these organizations make an excellent living from our schools' poor performance by pressing for and getting more money "to save our children". The system worked a hundred years ago, but it is not working well enough today. THERE IS NO PERSONAL INCENTIVE FOR THEM IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO DO OTHERWISE. Boards and superintendents having to meet an average ACT or SAT score objective would change that in a hurry. Teachers are not treated well by central management and their morale is low. Many of them would welcome change.

THE UNSOLVED DESTRUCTIVE DISCIPLINE PROBLEM IN THE CLASSROOM: Imagine working in an office where a few employees call your boss derogatory four-letter names to his/her face and pour pee in his/her coffee behind his/her back or throw various objects or even feces at him or her; all of this in front of other employees. Can you imagine what would be done immediately with such an employee in any place of employment? He or she would be fired immediately. This is done to our teachers (the "boss") by a minority of students ("employees") and it disturbs the entire class for a day or more in each and every case. The worse the school, the more often this happens. Unfortunately we have many such poor schools. The teachers can report it to the principal but can do nothing about it. The offending student may be sent home, but will be back the next day, a hero now to a few other kids. The teacher's authority suffers another blow and he/she becomes an easier target, because he/she has no authority. How can anyone expect a teacher to have high morale and do their best without any authority to deal with such behaviors on the spot? How could anyone achieve anything under such barbaric conditions? See more important data about teachers at www.usaedustat.com/index.html#howareteachers.


The biggest impact will come very soon through a new generation of robots that are cognitive, multilingual and can learn and make decisions. Artificial intelligence passed average human intelligence in 2014. We will see the first cognitive robots entering the US in 2015 that will compete for the jobs of many with a high school education or less. They will certainly be welcome by businesses who cannot find workforce without a bad attitude, who can communicate well and know more than basic math. They will cost less than minimum wage, and they will rapidly improve, just by downloading artificial intelligence and job knowledge, like a PC can today. One of 125 jobs being implemented with them is an assistant teacher. We think that the end of employability for those not having been well prepared in high school is within two years, by 2017.

Good performance results only from setting the correct objective, making it a personal performance objective for the board, superintendent and central management leaders such that it counts for their annual performance review, and the importance of having an operating plan to ensure the achievement of the annual objective.

A measurable objective has to exist first, one that is a key indicator of the entity's successful operations. The objective cannot be vague, like increase the number of graduates in a school system, because just getting a diploma does not mean that all graduates with a diploma are ready for job training or to enter a college or technical school. The objective also needs to include a numerical target, in this case the percentage or number of students graduating. Unfortunately in virtually all states in the USA only a small percentage of high school graduates with a regular diploma are prepared to be trained for a job (24% according to ACT in 2013), or to go on to further learning. The school systems promote the percentage of diplomas achieved in order to look good, but not the readiness figures. Furthermore, some states created their own readiness definition of high school graduates, that present better results, than the readiness figures published annually by ACT that tests students nationally and conducted empirical research since 2000 in order to provide precise readiness indicators.

For testing, ACT, SAT and NAEP are the reliable national tests. For percentage of high school graduates with a regular diploma, who are ready for employment training or to finish only the first year of a college or technical school, the ACT is a reliable source.

Objective setting needs to start at the top of an organization, as with a school board and superintendent, and then trickle down through the management layers to teachers, in order for the entire organization to be in harmony to work toward the same objective. Unfortunately education is unique in not investing in management training, and therefore management problems are common (e.g., low teacher morale, autocratic management styles, poor results). Again the objective must be THE key indicator of the school system that measures academic performance, such as an average ACT or SAT score, or ACT's Career and College Readiness Percentage of Regular Diplomas, for the school district or a high school. For elementary schools the state test would suffice, provided that the average raw score is used for an objective and not a "cut score" that is used to "translate" the poor raw scores to better looking scores for the public.

If one wants good performance, then such objective like an average ACT score must constitute at least 60% of the annual performance evaluations for the board, superintendent and central management senior staff at minimum. Lastly a professionally prepared operating plan per school and for Central Management is essential with monthly objectives, to ensure that the school district ACT, or SAT annual objective is achieved.






"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



HOW IS THE PUBLIC MISINFORMED?

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”
Lenin (1870 - 1924)

Disinformation or misinformation is created not only through repeated lies, but also by presenting news frequently that sounds good although it may be meaningless, but keeping important news quiet if it is not positive. In both cases the entire truth is not presented, especially the truth that is more important and significant for the good of the public, e.g., ACT scores and ACT Readiness at end of high school. Unfortunately, it is very common in the way education districts and the media present our education results.

We feel that the public who pays their hard-earned tax dollars for our public education system, deserves to know the entire truth about how well their children are educated, and what the education they receive will do to prepare them for a reasonably tough but successful life to be able to maintain a family of four. The important thing is not just to present good news to make a good impression on those who pay the bills, as we currently do. The important thing is to tell the truth, the good and the bad, so that we can together go after what is not going well and correct it. I fear for what is happening to our country.

Is a good grade or grade-improvement promoted by a school district or newspaper or the media always means the truth about our children's education? Are articles in the local newspapers, that are telling the population how great a job the school district is doing, always truthful and tell the entire truth?

Unfortunately, not. Positive comments about state test-based scores are meaningless, except for Florida. Florida's state test rigor is in the ACT, SAT, NAEP rigor whereas other state tests are much weaker. Such state tests are weak for the purpose of showing higher grades, and the difference is so great that an A or B grade can mean a failure in reality. Such tests are used to qualify for federal aid dollars and to create the impression for the public that the school system is doing well, when in fact it is doing poorly.

The national test results (ACT, SAT, NAEP) on the other hand represent the students' knowledge correctly as it relates to becoming employable or entering a college or technical school after high school, or being internationally compatible. There is very important good news in Tennessee in 2013: the NAEP test results for grades 4 and 8 have improved more than any other state, coming close to national average, setting an all time high for the state (Statement from the national institute for excellence in teaching on the 2013 NAEP results and Nations reportcard).



GRADE IMPROVEMENT sounds positive, but it may or may not be important. The maximum ACT score is 36. As the average ACT score increases, it does not represent a proportional (linear) increase in the regular diploma holders' readiness to be ready to be trained for a job. For example, an average ACT score of 21 means that only about 20% of those with a regular diploma will be ready to be trained for a job, and 80% will NOT be ready to be trained for a job. But the situation changes fast once we get the average ACT score above 22. To achieve an 80% readiness for job training or to finish only the first year of college or a technical school those with a regular diploma would need to be close to an average ACT score of 24. Job trainability readiness is not something to celebrate. A 0.5-1.0 average ACT increase at the lower numbers does not change job training readiness much. But such a change above an average ACT score of 22-23 brings big improvement in the "readiness" percentage of regular diplomas for job or college training.

Unfortunately our poorly performing school districts make any improvement positive news, sometimes so extreme that a publisher in Knoxville, Tennessee called the superintendent a Miracle Maker for an A or B Tennessee state test result that is meaningless because it represented less than 30% good answers on a test. The Tennessee state test (TCAP not the NAEP) is too easy in order to produce high grades, but in reality it represents F level performance for a 45-50% score when compared to ACT's measurement for job or college readiness; not an A or B as represented to the public. Under the same superintendent also in 2013 we set an all time low record in the average ACT score at 20.2 that represents only 21% of the regular diplomas being ready for job training or to complete only the first year of college or a tech school; with 79% of those graduates with a regular diploma not being ready. They are minimum wage candidates. But the publisher chose not to mention that, when the ACT score was the more important information. This is what journalism has become in many places. We are presenting that article as an example further down below. The point is that the public is informed only by what appears to be good news, but they are not told about the bad results that really count. One can legitimately wonder why such journalism misrepresents the results coming out of our schools, when we, the public, are paying for it.



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



UNFORTUNATELY THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE:


WHEN WE NEED THIS!
WE START WITH THEM...
AND THEN, OUR SCHOOL BOARDS AND SUPERINTENDENTS DO THIS TO MOST OF THEM...ON OUR DIME AS THEY BLAME OTHERS.
PLEASE...JUST LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE WITHIN THIS WEBSITE. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE...BUT THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING AND IT MUST CHANGE.


"The most pressing task is to teach people how to learn."
Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Father of 21st Century Management By Objectives

WHY WE MUST IMPROVE URGENTLY: It Is A Good Idea To Peek Into The Future With The Videos Below To Understand Why Better Education Than What We Currently Have Is Absolutely Vital For The Future Existence Of Our Children.



Dr. Michio Kaku, world famous scientist, in "America has a secret weapon":


What will the future look like? The reason for more education:


...and if you would like to understand more about the future in depth, here is Dr. Kurzweil, a world famous scientist.


"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



Copyright(c) 2008-2015 V. Spencer
This is a work in progress.