Updated on 4/24/2017. "The truth shall make you free". But first, it may make you angry.

PART 1: INTRODUCTION
WHERE ARE WE WITH PUBLIC EDUCATION TODAY?

 

We would like to ask you to look at three charts below showing ACT test results for our example, the Knox County, Tennessee school district, as well as each of their high schools. This is an average school district in Tennessee and slightly below average in the USA.

The ACT and SAT tests measure what children have learned from grade one to twelve. About 60% of the states use the ACT for end of high school assessment. We would like you to find out how easily you could tell what these charts show, and how they compare with what you read and heard about your schools.

Welcome to learning about your children's education! Their and our nation's success or failure depends on how good an education our children get from our public schools. Why? Because our high schools feed our workforce or higher education (who also feed the workforce). How well educated and experienced our workforce is has a major impact on how well they can design and/or support the competitive products and services they created.


Please make sure that you read the NOT ACT READY paragraph in the above chart. Look at the ten-year results above for Knox County, Tennessee, focusing on the last lines in red on each table of information. These percentages represent a very large portion of the graduating class, indicating the percentage of graduates with a diploma who are not prepared for further learning and are likely to be replaced by robotics within five years. We are using them as an example. The superintendent generally commented that "We are doing pretty well, a solid B performance, but there is room to improve". The board gave the superintendent an excellent performance evaluation for these results above. Are these good results? We will get into that later.

Please remember that tests are designed for a specific subject or group of subjects in accordance with the curriculum of the state in which the person studies and/or takes the test. In other words, they are designed such that a 90-100% score would merit an "A" and anything under 60% would be an "F", a failing grade. Test designers are professional people generally with a master's degree in the subject for which the test is created. Unfortunately, some states are changing grades based on what they call a "cut score" where a low score like 45% may be changed to a "B" to make the school system look better, and the student loses.


These are the individual results above per high school in Knox County. Is this good performance? 48% of the best high school's graduates are NOT ACT Ready for job training. 97% of the worst performing high school's graduates are NOT ACT Ready. That is not acceptable. The last two high schools are getting two and a half times as much money per student than the top two high schools. How much good did that do with ACT results? The chart shows that it did not make any difference. They went down more. This clearly SHOWS THAT THE MONEY IS NOT SOLVING THE PROBLEM, IT IS NOT SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES, BUT WE JUST KEEP SPENDING IT. So why are we wasting it? The school district must have known after two-three years that the additional money did not solve the problem. So 14-15 years later we are still wasting the money, and improved nothing.

A school district OBJECTIVE needs to exist with an annual operating plan to reach that objective, in order to improve our results and its management. We would use an average ACT score for a school district objective, that is 5-10% higher than the previous ACT score achieved.

To raise that ACT score, we need to know what is being achieved every single month in each school as a management tool. We have never done such performance measurement monthly or even annually in the individual schools and never created an annual operating plan. Very strange because it is the schools that generate the results. And we never focused management on the schools. We need to see how each school is progressing every single month and that means that we need to have an objective every month, a GPA objective, that we use to measure on a Year-To-Date (YTD) basis by calculating the ACTUAL average monthly GPA YTD. If we are not reaching the GPA objective in any school in any month, the principal may be able to take action to raise it and save the year. That is why we need a monthly objective. To set a GPA objective, we need the average GPA for each of the preceding five years per school and per class as tools for the principal's planning.

There must be an incentive award for the high school principal only for $10,000, who not only meets the objective but delivers the greatest GPA percentage growth during the last fiscal year, and one $5,000 award for the non-high school principal who delivers the highest GPA increase. These incentives must be used for a relaxing vacation of the winner's chosing. The worse a high school's performance is, the faster we must implement the system. To get the best results, principals need to be able to change their resources and make quick decisions. To that end it would make sense to delegate from Central Management, accounting and financial decisions as long as his budget is not exceeded, HR decisions about employees, budget preparation and presentation, and Central Management needs to ensure that the spending difference among schools on a per student basis shall not exceed 50%. For example, there is no point in allocating 150% more money per student to a school if that school did not improve its results within three years.There must be a single objective for every supervisory or management position in every school and in Central Management to help achieve the performance objective of each school (GPA) and the school district (ACT). We need to raise the ACT Readiness of the school district from 27% only in 2016 of those graduating (only 3% for African American students!) to 80% average ACT Readiness within four years at most. Visit Success Academy Schools in NYC who are producing top one percent results passing even most private schools with poor, inner city African American and Hispanic children only! Also visit Finland for the same purpose. Three principals to visit each and prepare a report on their return about what these destination schools are doing differently to achieve higher results and what we should implement in our own schools. Nothing is cast into concrete. The objective is to increase education performance, so be willing to try new ways that you saw working elsewhere with excellent results.

Just to review because it is new, since the ACT is used only in 11th grade, we need a different test to be used by the schools themselves, a grade point average or GPA. Schools never had an objective driven operating plan, although it is the schools that produce the education results. So this is what we need to do.

Look at the average year-end GPA for each of five years, and compute their average. Take the average ACT score for the same five years, and compute their average. Divide the average five-year ACT score by the average five-year school district GPA. The answer is the mathematical relationship between the ACT score and the school district GPA. This will give us about plus or minus 10% accuracy when we use it, and that is good enough for GPA tracking to the ACT score.

Now take the average ACT score that is your objective for the school district, e.g. 5% higher than the previous average ACT score. Divide it by the mathematical relationship between ACT and the school district GPA. The result is the school district GPA that you want to beat in every school by year end.


These are the ACT results above from each Knox County high school for the past thirteen years. Too many children are NOT ACT Ready.

 



DO THE ABOVE GRAPHS SHOW HOW WELL OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION IS PREPARING 75-80% OF OUR GRADUATING CHILDREN TO SUCCEED IN LIFE?


"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."
Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer & physicist (1564 - 1642)



The above charts clearly show that too many of our children will end up increasingly unemployed and replaced by robots. Teachers who are not supported well by their management cannot be blamed for the poor results because students are the products of their classrooms. American teachers deal with much more discipline problems than our international competitors, teachers are viewed as powerless to punish bad behavior by problem children. American teachers do the highest number of classroom hours IN THE WORLD, do the most paperwork, administer/score/review more tests than anyone when some high performer countries developed better methodologies to track student progress WITHOUT TESTING until the middle of high school. Our teachers do not have continuing education programs in a fast moving world like other countries, and do not have the authority to run their classes as they see fit, as high performing nations do. Granted, the high performing nations require more education than our teachers have, for example a master's degree in the subject that they will teach. School district management cannot be blamed if the states' education department does not provide effective management guide lines for selecting objectives, creating a professional annual operating plan AND working that plan. They do not. Our leaders have not done anything for more than four decades to raise the most important indicators of education achievement, the ACT and SAT scores. Only 20-30% of our public high school graduates have a chance and only until 2020, to be trained for a better than minimum wage job. Instead of only 20-30% of our graduates being prepared, we should be graduating 80-90% of our high school graduates with ACT READINESS, prepared to be trained for a job that provides minimal income for a family of four and the opportunity to obtain more education. Instead, 70-80% of our graduates with a diploma plus dropouts, are not ready and will be replaced by robots in just a few years. Among African American students, 97-99% of those graduating from high school are not ready according to ACT and will not be employable. However...the Success Academy Schools in New York (41 schools) with poor, inner city, African American children ARE PRODUCING TOP 1% RESULTS BEATING MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

Obviously it is possible to educate children far better, than we are doing, regardless of the color of their skin, without tolerating any misbehavior.

Our teaching curriculum at our universities needs to be much stronger for teachers above 4th grade, perhaps with requiring teachers to get a standard master's degree first in the subject that they will teach, test them to ensure that they are suited for teaching (e.g., combination of Strong Interest Inventory and Myers-Briggs Intelligence Inventory correlated), and after hired as teachers, send them back to grad school to learn about the latest teaching methodologies and to diagnose learning disabilities, as for example, Finland requires. It is our teachers who decide to teach better or not, and our boards of education decide to tolerate bad student behavior or not. The Knox County Tennessee school board, that produces 73% of our high school graduates who are NOT ACT ready, could learn a lot about how Success Academy Schools are achieving their excellent results, and learn about a system that is better. Go to Finland to learn how the best achieve their FANTASTIC results. Board members in Knox County, Tennessee are paid $25,000 and certainly could afford such trips. We feel that such an investment would be well spent. In the future we will start naming board members if we refer to a board's performance, and we may get into individual voting records if we do not see substantial improvement in ACT results. Around 2020, as the result of robotic automation and the effect of nanotechnology, job requirements will increase more rapidly than before, requiring significantly more knowledge from high school graduates, on par with the top 20 international performers.



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


Too many
children
today
go
from here:
To here
and it
is not
their
fault:

Close to 80% of graduating children (3 million nationally!) plus dropouts are not being prepared by our high schools well enough according to ACT. ACT tests more than 60% of our graduating children nationally, and with the use of sampling theory on such a large sample one can deliver estimates with a small statistical deviation that apply to all. With poor education, joblessness, drugs around our children and robotics replacing them, what do you think will happen to them? YOUR CHILD OR GRANDCHILD COULD EASILY BE AMONG SO MANY YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE IN TROUBLE. If we are approximately right, then speak up and do something about this terrible situation that public schools created, although with good intent, and POLITICAL LEADERSHIP OF EITHER PARTY HAVE IGNORED SINCE THE 1960'S. When you hear the many good things our political leaders have done, rely only on the average consolidated ACT or SAT scores. They show most accurately what our children learned from grade one to twelve. They show, for example, only 20% of our children leaving high school, barely ready to be employable (ACT Readiness), and 80% not! We dropped internationally from the top to 40th in high school mathematics, while our spending per student skyrocketed to the fifth highest in the world. We do not seem to comprehend what is happening to us. Unless our public education improves very significantly or is replaced by one that does, fast advancing robotic technology will replace most of the surviving 20% by the early 2020's.

Read on! Learn the facts! Investigate! And make your own decisions.



PART 2: ACTION TO BE TAKEN: THE GOAL AND THE OBJECTIVES

 

 


WHAT COULD TEACHERS OR BOARDS OF EDUCATION DO TO IMPROVE OUR ACT SCORES TO AVERAGE 25 TO GET THE ACT READINESS OF OUR CHILDREN TO 80% FROM THE CURRENT 27%? Suggested examples:

The quality of education we get is less than ideal - said with political correctness... and very poor - in fact, graduating more than 80% of our high school students who are NOT ACT Ready. This is extremely damaging to the many students we graduate and our economy. It means minimum wage employment for the NOT ACT Ready high school graduate, with that job going to robots by 2020-2025. The ACT or SAT scores are the key indicator of what students have learned from grade one to twelve. Such performance weakens the workforce and weakens our companies in turn, because the poor high school output degrades their ability to create highly competitive products and services in the market place worldwide. Many people may not fully appreciate what we are saying here, and we would like to describe very briefly some management terms and actions, and some important points, without which our schools' performance will not improve and we will suffer economically.

Please remember that tests are specifically designed for covering the material in a subject in accordance with the curriculum for a specific grade-level. In other words, they are designed such that a 90-100% score would be an "A". Test designers are professional people generally with a master's degree in the subject for which the test is created.

The 11th-grade high school Algebra II end of course test was not designed for a senior with a mathematics major in college. It was designed precisely for an 11th grader covering only what that student should know, in accordance with what the curriculum covers for Algebra II. As an example a 55% grade on a test should be an "F" and not an "A". Unfortunately, we are doing such things to make the school system look better, and the student loses when such "low expectation" people make management decisions.

Please read first about UNDERSTANDING ACT SCORES AND READINESS.

  • To get to higher results, FIRST we have to decide how we will measure the academic progress we are making toward an educational goal. We need to know where we are before we plan how to improve to get to an objective, and we need a reliable and realistic measurement tool for that purpose. If we do not or cannot measure where we are, we picked the wrong objective. Most of the time in school districts we really do not have objectives that can be measured. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT AND WILL BE DISCUSSED LATER. There is a very good testing tool for this purpose in Tennessee where our example, Knox County is, a measuring tool that tells us accurately where our children are in knowledge needed for surviving after high school. They are the ACT and SAT tests, with the ACT commonly used in Tennessee.


  • ACT indicates that only 27% of students we graduated in 2016 were "ACT READY", with an ACT score of 21.1. We feel that we should be at 80% ACT READINESS MINIMUM and an ACT score of at least 25 average achieved in four years because robotics will replace those not ACT READY. Robotics already started to go beyond high school. Robotics are already reaching beyond undergraduate degrees. For example the FDA approved two anesthesia robots, one for smaller medical procedures like a colonoscopy and the other for major procedure like open heart bypass. There will be approximately 120 different specific university-educated jobs that will be replaced with robots within just a few years, using cognitive robotics that have artificial intelligence above average human intelligence, know the targeted position, can communicate fluently in multiple languages, access knowledge bases on the Internet, read and do a consistently precise job 24/7 and be down for maintenance 4 hours per month. Nanotechnology will bring major improvements and cost reductions within ten years. New technologies always bring new jobs and eliminate low end jobs. But candidates for the new jobs need more education. Unfortunately today's high school graduates cannot even make it out of high school. The new technology-created jobs will require a much higher-educated high school graduate, to enable that graduate to be retrained for the new technology-related job. And this is just a beginning. The Tennessee objective is an average ACT 21 for the state in 2020. We actually need to be at average 25 ACT with 80% ACT Readiness. With nanotechnology, the new jobs will most likely take young people for reeducation who graduated from high school with a 30 average ACT score and continued education part-time thereafter. The top ten countries in education in the world would fall into 30-35 average ACT range.

    Today's $1000 notebook computer can do about the same number of computations as a mouse brain (has about 8 million neurons). By 2025-2030, the $1000 computer will be much smaller with as much power as the average human brain (has about 100 billion neurons). By 2045-2050 the $1000 computer will be very tiny and will be able to do as many computations as all human brains combined in the world (has about 108 times 10 to the 18th power). The increase in power will not stop there. So expect and prepare for BIG changes! Stop thinking that some children are not college material. He or she will be able to learn much more than what we think today. We just have to learn how to do that. Low expectation objectives are always a big management problem, such as this ACT 21 objective in Tennessee. Totally wrong in our opinion, because the objective should be the ACT score within the current or next fiscal year, and not 4-5 years away. So the ACT 21 would be technically a "goal" for 2020, the ACT READINESS would be at 24% of graduating students at best. That's too low, because by that time robotics will take too many jobs away. We would need to increase the ACT score 5% minimum annually from 2017. THAT cannot be done without management by ACT and GPA objectives and by a proper operating plan driving achievement in every single school. The faster we get to an average score of 25, the more children we can save. The suggested objective is therefore a minimum 5% ACT increase annually.


  • How are we going to achieve the ACT increase? When groups of people are involved in accomplishing anything, one needs the right measurable objective, that is a reliable indicator of success or failure, to be able to measure progress. Without being able to measure progress in knowledge, you will not succeed. That is the ACT test given annually. We would also need an operating plan that identifies monthly academic objectives to measure progress, such as a GPA average for each school, plus management/supervisory staff objectives relating to what they would have to achieve within the schools to achieve the GPA objectives. It should be noted that although school districts are required to set annual objectives, the results are produced by the schools and in the schools academic objectives and annual operating plans do not exist. School districts that select objectives this way cannot have an effective operating plan, and therefore the results will be the same as if they had neither objectives nor an operating plan. Past boards have acted in the past as if they operated without objectives exactly for the same reason. That is why the past boards, and so far the current 2017 board will not be able to improve, until they go to the measurable key indicator of success or failure, the ACT score. That means that the list of "objectives" that the board of education set need to be replaced with an ACT score that is 5% higher than last year's ACT score. Establishing the right objectives within each school enables a principal to deliver better GPA results, because they are the tools for a principal to focus practically all people on what needs to be achieved. Today we do not have such objectives and operating plans to achieve them.


  • Look at some objectives that boards set for themselves for this year and in the past. We communicated the above facts to the Board of Education and the previous superintendent, numerous times, but we were ignored with no response. The current objectives constitute an unmeasurable wish list for how we would like to see our children turn out, but not suitable for measuring and managing academic progress. The board's job is limited to educational achievement by definition. We believe that the board knows that. Why are they creating objectives that cannot be measured and are not related to academic achievement? THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS MATTER THAT WE WILL ADDRESS LATER. The key indicator of EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT, the ACT results are the most reliable, state approved test in order to manage to higher ACT scores. The elected Board of Education is responsible for the management of schools and their slogan was and is "Excellence For All Children". This being a Board of Education, the slogan really means "Academic Excellence For All Children in the courses specified by the curriculum". Objectives need to be relevant to what the school district is required to achieve under the curriculum. The objectives they created to date are not measurable, and they do not measure curriculum-defined knowledge, that determines the school district's responsibilities. Objectives selected to help an education department or district to perform better, must achieve EXCELLENT (EXCELLENCE FOR ALL CHILDREN?) RESULTS IN THE COURSES THEY TAKE TO SATISFY GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS. But this is what the school district actually achieved for the past ten years. It is far from excellence, but they self-evaluated their performance as good-to-excellent.

 

  • The following are the current objectives for the Knox County, Tennessee school district.


    1. Read a variety of complex text, both literary and informational, to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities and broaden their perspective;
    2. Communicate complex information in a clear and articulate manner using effective oral, written and media skills;
    3. Develop conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application skills in mathematics and science to solve complex real world issues and problems;
    4. Participate effectively in civic life with a solid understanding of world geography, economics, history and finance;
    5. Develop positive habits that support good physical, mental, social and emotional well-being;
    6. Appreciate and participate in the arts;
    7. Pursue the acquisition of world languages;
    8. Effectively use current and emerging technologies to access, manage and create information;
    9. Think creatively and work collaboratively with others;
    10. Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability, initiative and self-direction;
    11. Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and personal excellence; and
    12. Develop the 21st century skills necessary for a successful transition to college and/or career.

     

    The above board of education objectives are not relevant to student achievement to graduate from high school, similar to eating ice cream in the coffee lounge is not relevant to the job of the car mechanic at a dealership.

     

    By far the most relevant performance evaluation tool would be the state-required ACT test that shows what children have learned from grade one to twelve. Since performance is extremely poor in the ACT Readiness area (only in the 21-28% range of graduates are prepared upon graduation for gainful employment), the appropriate objective would be an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the one last achieved. That is the only educational performance-related objective that is needed, and it should not be confused by a bunch of "objectives" that are unmeasurable and do not apply.

  • Look at your existing and past objectives. Can you actually measure where children are in achieving a measurable target in the above objectives? How do you know if a score is good or bad if there is some measurement that is not subject to argument? Was there a plan that addressed how to increase the ACT scores? The answer is "NO". When one does not have THE RIGHT measurable objective, you cannot have a plan of action. You are without direction, and you flounder and fail as we are doing in Knox County, Tennessee. IT IS THE SCHOOLS THAT PRODUCE THE RESULTS, YET WE DO NOT HAVE OBJECTIVES AND A PLAN WITHIN EACH OF OUR SCHOOLS TO ACHIEVE THEM?? WE ARE SORRY BUT THAT IS JUST VERY IRRESPONSIBLE. When the individual schools do not have a measurable academic objective, AND THEY ARE PRODUCING POOR RESULTS, you cannot improve what you did before without a plan. NO CHANCE. WE NEVER PLANNED TO ACHIEVE ACADEMIC INCREASE FOR OUR SCHOOLS IN KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE, therefore there was no accountability, with everyone just doing the same thing again and again, year after year. NOTHING IMPROVES UNLESS YOU MAKE CHANGES IN THE WAY YOU DID THINGS! The operating plan is a must if we are to improve our unacceptable results. Now you know why it failed us. With no help from the Department of Education in Tennessee, we did not improve. This is a serious management shortfall, and expecting elected boards to know what to do may be unreasonable.

  • I hope that board members can see why the above listed objectives cannot be used to measure how well the school district has performed, but the ACT score can be since one wants to achieve ACT score results based on the curriculum.


  • For schools, the operating plan must have a monthly, year-to-date objective per school (e.g., at the end of May, you measure January-May averages and compare that result to the operating plan of each school that you planned, using average GPA per school). We assume that GPA averages have been and can be maintained per student, per school and perhaps per subject and per class, and that a plus or minus 10% mathematical relationship has been established between average high school GPA and average ACT scores in high school for the same time period.


  • Based on GPA averages, establish a GPA objective for each month, for each school that is five percent higher than the previous year's GPA average achieved, that upon conversion equals or exceeds the planned ACT objective for the school district.


  • Appoint a team of principals and board members, international company CEOs if possible to identify materials, excellent teaching practices, ideas from any academic source worldwide that has demonstrated very high primary and secondary school performance far above ours, who are to recommend a prioritized list of them for implementation (Finland, Singapore, Canada, France, Germany, Australia).


  • Establish a continuing education program, 50% teacher paid, for teachers obtaining a master's degree in the subject that they are teaching.


  • Establish a zero tolerance policy relating to behavior on school property. Pursue this through legislative channels if needed. Teachers must have total authority in the classroom in the mind of the student and the student's parent.


  • Eliminate as much as possible teacher loads that limit teaching time, e.g., paperwork, too many tests (preparation, evaluation included).


  • Student progress needs to be measured as accurately as possible monthly. Can a testing service provide testing per month for curriculum subjects, each and every grade?


  • It is also very important that every person in a supervisory position have an objective monthly that supports increased GPA achievement in the organization he/she belongs (a specific school), or in Central Management. Supervisory position means all management positions not just those whose title includes the word "manager".
"Objectives" do exist and did exist. The state of Tennessee required for the elected school boards to set them. I looked but did not find any guidance by the state Education Department explaining how to set objectives and create operating plans. They were actually not objectives, because they were not measurable based on the most important indicator of what students learned every single year. But the elected boards not only set them but gave themselves a positive performance review. One could not tell with such objectives if anything was accomplished, and we very consistently delivered poor education, that makes 75-85% of a graduating class not prepared well enough for job training that results in long term-employment. Robotics are replacing the low-end compensated jobs, because the workforce has been degraded so far since 1970 and robotics can do a better quality job today at less cost.

  • Why is this practice that is full of conflict of interest, if not one that defrauds the public, still in place, instead of setting proper objectives to focus at least all people in a school district daily on their jobs, and agreeing on objectives with every single supervisory and management person in the school district about what they will accomplish?


  • Schools produce the results, not central management or any non-school function. Why is it then that THE SCHOOLS THEMSELVES DO NOT HAVE ANY ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OBJECTIVES TO MEET TO THIS DAY, LIKE A GPA OBJECTIVE? Maybe because:


    • They do not care about what happens to our children, or we are being dumbed down very efficiently.


    • It is impossible that an education system came about accidentally since 1970, that ignored very basic and fundamental management methods that were well known since WWII to produce excellent results, but did require objectives to be set by the elected school boards who had no idea how to create effective objectives and related operating plans, but required five-year "Strategic Plans" that are not strategic, and have been shown to be ineffective.

    • They possibly like the idea that they get paid the same, even with poor results since the education money is guaranteed regardless of the job quality done,


    • It is absolutely unforgivable that we TOLERATE high schools where 90% or more of a graduating class is unprepared year-after-year for anything other than short-lived employment, and we did nothing about it for a dozen years now. Just look at the chart showing ACT Readiness per high school above.



    That leaves the ACT for 11th-grade testing, and for GPA-based testing monthly reporting to actually see, how each class is progressing in each school as the year progresses. Anyone who ever managed an organization with more than 100 people knows that you cannot improve poor performance, unless you have the right objectives in every management position and a monthly plan detailing what each of them will accomplish each month to make sure that the right job is done for our children. Why is it that we do not hold anyone accountable in a school district and within the state department of education for a job that is most importtant for our own economic future? Instead, we are building a powder keg. We would like an explanation from state leadership about why nothing has been done about this huge problem for more than four decades.

    What we know so far is that ten years of ACT scores show in Knox County, Tennessee, that close to 80% of our high school graduates PLUS dropouts are NOT ACT READY. That means that they are prepared only for close to minimum wage jobs. However, all such jobs could be replaced by robots within five years. The ACT test shows what children have learned from grade one to twelve. It also shows that close to 80% of them plus dropouts, are far from knowing as much as what the curriculum calls for. It shows that they did not learn enough to survive, but our public schools gave them a high school diploma anyway.

     



    THE IMPORTANCE OF MANAGEMENT TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE


    Management experience is always discounted in importance by elected school boards, because the board members do not have such training and experience on a scale needed. Not purposefully, they would just see some results not working a year late, but could not tell what caused it and what the fix is. Our elected boards cannot even set proper objectives and create professional operating plans. Superintendents are also likely to be experienced with much smaller organizations, and we wonder why our school results are poor. We are not blaming anyone. We are just explaining how some things work, that are management-related. We will help you with it right now.

    If one worked in a small company with responsibility for 15-20 people, one may encounter some people problems, some misunderstandings, but one can be successful. If one is in charge of 200 people, and 15-20 times more customers, the situation will be completely different. There is a management exercise where five people stand next to each other, and the first one whispers a message into the next one's ear, until the message is whispered from the fourth person to the fifth. Next you compare what the first person whispered to what the last person thinks he/she received, and they are different. So communications has to become more precise and in writing about everything important in the larger organization.

    The person heading the group will no longer have time to personally make sure that all things will get done with the quality required by the customer, the organizational and people problems will grow, communications from the top will change and will be reinterpreted as they pass through a couple of layers of management, the president and the management team has to ensure that all things are done legally, anticipating needs and planning projects will need to be done much more formally ensuring excellent execusion, because people do not do what you expect, but they do what you inspect. People may or may not be different than their boss and they may interpret things differently then the boss, so written communication becomes much more important, written standards become more important, and the written policies about how we do things within the company become more important.

    Some people produce excellent quality work, on time, every time. Some do not. But if you keep changing them, people turnover is very expensive. It can easily cost 6-18 months of salary because it took time for the performance to decline and become a terminal case, for the manager or employee to decide that the job or employee is not a good match, but a company of 200 people will not be investing $500-$1,000 dollars in testing the employee and his/her background to ensure that they hired the right person. Then you hire the person and some jobs can take a year or more of experience just to adjust to the ways the company works and does business. It is the management training that allows one to eliminate such problems or to provide methods for excellent, trouble free performance - TO GET THE MORE COMPLEX THINGS DONE, INCLUDING THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE RIGHT OBJECTIVES WITH PROFESSIONALLY CREATED OPERATING PLANS. Without these nothing will happen or improve, and morale may sink in the area that produces the company results, e.g., in the classrooms of a school district with the teachers.

    That was a very simplified description of what happens in a 200 person organization. The complexity of management problems increases with the number of employees in the organization. At 9,000 employees, things get much more complex, and without management training or guidance good results become "impossible" and politics enter the game instead of good performance. People do not recognize the problem, and produce worse results than they could with a little bit of management know-how. Unfortunately, such problems are many in school districts, hence the poor results.

    So let's learn a little about goals, objectives and operating plans to reach those objectives and goals and be proud of much better results than what many thought you could achieve.

    What is a GOAL? It is a measurable key indicator of success, typically 2-5 years away (e.g., Our goal is to achieve an average ACT score of 25 in 4 years). It is your intense desire to achieve something.

    THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE VERY WELL: What is an OBJECTIVE? In education, it is a measurable key indicator of success in what children learned from grade one to twelve, like an ACT score for annual objective, but for the individual schools a running monthly year-to-date (YTD) grade point average (GPA) to track monthly performance in each class and each school. We need monthly tracking in every grade to avoid annual surprises since the ACT, although the most precise measurement of what children have learned from grade one to twelve at the end of high school. So why do we need the ACT score objective? Because ACT's scores and readiness percentages are the most precise measurements for end of high school. We are to achieve this objective in the current fiscal year for the entire organization, or any school, or anyone in a management or supervisory position. IF ONE HAS MORE THAN 100 EMPLOYEES IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, WITHOUT THIS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SUCCEED.

    Formal written objective in key areas (Performance and Spending for each manager's and supervisor's area of responsibility) is essential, especially if the number of employees in the school district exceeds 100. Without them one cannot make sure that growth in performance is achieved, management problems will develop (e.g., deteriorating morale, bad relationships develop with management, the organization becomes more political and performance becomes secondary and poor) and the work environment becomes more and more unpleasant.

    The purpose of an objective is to focus the entire organization on the achievement the school district objectives, the objectives of each school, and each management position within each school and central management. I found in more than forty years of management, as others, that people rise to your expectations if the objective is a stretch and almost impossible, provided that all on the team know by heart what the objective is. If on the other hand the objective is low, or unclear or not measurable or too complex to remember, they will not reach that objective. This is the case in US education on the state level as well as in school districts. If we don't know where we stand, AND if we don't know where we want to be each year, WE WILL NEVER GET ANYWHERE. This is also the case in many states' education department as well as school districts. These objectives WITHIN THE SAME ORGANIZATION are not identical but reflect what each manager must accomplish in support of the school district objectives.

    There should be care in having more than three objectives for any position because more than three objectives can dilute each other.

    The top-level objectives for the organization and the objectives for individual management people should be very easy to remember.

    Such objectives could be an average ACT score yearly, and a running average GPA per month, year to date for each school.

    The second objective is actual spending in any department per month vs. the approved budget for that organization (district, school, or any manager's department).

    The board, superintendent, principals, and managers should always know where they stand in both academic objective achievement, and spending vs. approved budget at least every week.

    A third objective may be about employee morale and where it stands, with some very easy database measurement based on three questions, or any other action that needs attention to achieve the other two objectives.

    If one wants to be effective, do not set objectives that can be "achieved for sure". Those are "low expectation" objectives. People do not focus on low expectation objectives because they are sure to happen. And they miss them.

    On the other hand, in an organization with good morale, people rise to expectations when the objective is a challenge. Very interestingly, if you pick an objective that is 10-30% above what they actually achieved the previous year, thinking that it is hard, but not impossible - such people will study the best performers, find out what they do that we don't do, and will come up with a better way to teach, organize, present and motivate. They exceed that hard objective.

    Those who keep doing what they do the same way every year, achieve less, year after year.

    Unfortunately, the objectives recommended by the state education department are very low, which is very unhelpful in actual practice.

    THIS SHOULD BE DONE ACCURATELY ALSO: What is an OPERATING PLAN: It is a simple document, that describes what one is to achieve each month to meet his/her objectives, and what resources will be needed to achieve each month the objectives in every management position. It is not to be a beautiful document with hundred dollar words and a lot of adjectives. In fact, if you see one like that, run! And if someone wants a multi-year plan, you have to do it if they are your boss, but 4-5 year plans, especially when they are called "strategic", are a waste of time. Too many things change in the year that is coming, let alone 4-5 years away. Just plan and deliver better results each and every year.

    With the above approach, you can deliver a "zero-based" budget as well that will be focused exactly on the results that one wants. The Operating Plan and the budget for every area within it are prepared through the same effort. They are so closely related.

    Without the Objectives and Operating Plans as defined and described here, it is IMPOSSIBLE to create better results, and the poor performance is guaranteed to continue. This is the only good, professional start that we are describing.

    THIS SHOULD BE DONE ACCURATELY ALSO: TO SUCCEED, THE OPERATING PLAN MUST BE EXECUTED AS PLANNED EACH YEAR. This is quite easy if the people understand what must be done in a timely fashion and why, and have people with the right qualifications to manage all areas within the Operating Plan. IF ONE HAS MORE THAN 100 EMPLOYEES, WITHOUT THIS, IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO SUCCEED.

    EXAMPLE: What never worked in the past and we keep doing it in virtually all school districts is a "wish list objective" that is immeasurable, similar to the following. Just ask yourself: how do we know that we met any of these objectives below? Do we know what these objectives mean or are they up to anyone's interpretation? Without the right objectives, performance will never improve. Ditto with operating plans if you do not have the right objectives.
    It is the schools that produce the results, yet there are no objectives, no operating plans, no monthly spending and GPA trend reporting? Your results will not improve.
    There are serious discipline problems and a very ineffective way of dealing with them. That is also a major obstacle to better performance. This is only a start, there are more. It should be very clear that we have big management problems in the organization, and state guidelines are not helpful enough. The result is very bad performance.



    A SCHOOL DISTRICT WITH THIS LOW PERFORMANCE IS CALLED A "FAILURE FACTORY". FOUR OUT OF FIVE CHILDREN WILL BE REPLACED BY ROBOTS. A 10% failure rate would not be tolerable.In education some states produce more than 80% students who will not make it. THAT WPOULD QUALIFY ANYONE FOR A FAILURE FACTORY NAME.

    OBJECTIVES THAT DO NOT WORK:

    Based on each objective that follows below, how can you tell what is needed, quantity or quality required, and by when. These objectives sound good, but they are unmeasurable, so anyone, based on their opinion, could decide if they were achieved or not. These objectives are unmeasurable, unrealistic, and unclear. These objectives do not measure anything that the curriculum includes, and that by itself disqualifies them as objectives. The descriptions can vary an enormous amount. A more accurate definition would be "To complete the class choices specified by the curriculum" but that is automatic, except for the grade with which they complete it and graduate. An ACT score that is 5-10% higher than last achieved would measure by itself what the child has learned since grade one very specificly with nothing more needed in objectives than the desired ACT score. Numbers cannot lie and cannot be argued. That is what your objective has to be.

    Success Academy Schools is achieving top one percent results with poor, inner city black children in New York City, beating even many private schools. They raise the children's expectations from grade one on, by referring to them as scholars of the year in which they will graduate from college. Every child believes that they WILL go to college and will achieve great things, and every teacher reinforces this. It is a fantastic way to motivate kids.



THE FOLLOWING ARE POOR OBJECTIVES. WHY?

Because they are not measurable or specific, or not the key indicator of success through K-12 schooling. Board members many times describe great personal qualities or meaningless qualities or nice personal characteristics, but neither of those can be measured for achievement so they cannot be an objective.

"Knox County Schools (Tennessee) will provide an educational program designed to help each student to be college and career ready upon graduation from high school. Through implementation of the Tennessee State Standards, students will be able to:

  • Read a variety of complex text, both literary and informational, to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities and broaden their perspective;
  • Communicate complex information in a clear and articulate manner using effective oral, written and media skills;
  • Develop conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and application skills in mathematics and science to solve complex real world issues and problems;
  • Participate effectively in civic life with a solid understanding of world geography, economics, history and finance;
  • Develop positive habits that support good physical, mental, social and emotional well-being;
  • Appreciate and participate in the arts;
  • Pursue the acquisition of world languages;
  • Effectively use current and emerging technologies to access, manage and create information;"
  • Think creatively and work collaboratively with others;
  • Demonstrate flexibility, adaptability, initiative and self-direction;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and personal excellence; and
  • Develop the 21st century skills necessary for a successful transition to college and/or career.



Many of the above are good skills/traits, but they are not objectives. Can one describe how to measure them without bias, what each of them is, how to achieve them, how to tell when each is achieved and how well it is achieved (how does one measure progress toward achievement)? The above examples indicate that management does not understand why objectives and operating plans are necessary for achievement. Objectives must be a 1. key indicator of success, and 2. be measurable.

How do you know what you need to do competitively if you know nothing about the high performers and how they are achieving their good results? The world has changed a long time ago, and because we know nothing about where we should be, we are in the gutter ruining most of the children's lives through our public schools. Most of our public schools are "FAILURE FACTORIES" unfortunately. Just look in the graph at the beginning that shows a list of high schools and the high percentage of graduates who are NOT ACT Ready
. Those poor childtren will not be employable long.


Go here to see more objectives that did not work for obvious reasons. It appears that both in school districts and in state education departments, management does not know well enough how objectives and operating plans work and when they do not work.


THIS SHOULD BE DONE ACCURATELY IN EVERY AREA BELOW:
Important actions and questions when interviewing superintendent candidates

If one is 40th in the world, with others moving forward faster than you, it would take forever to catch up. So the best way to improve one's position is to visit the competitors, study how they are achieving superior results, and implement and use their superior methodologies. Educational methodologies and practices are free from legal problems, if what one is learning to copy and one learns from the other countries' education system.

A superintendent worked for years under conditions that are much more sophisticated than any elected board's voting majority. It is a difficult job. They have to succeed for a limited time period in a very difficult position. But they are missing the minimum legal background to be able to tell if the objectives set by an elected board could be set for performance measurement or not to raise poor results that they ignored for God only knows how long. Such action cannot be the result of accidental choices when thdey occur all the time. On one side they have to please an elected board who may or may not appreciate the superintendent's problem, because they are not management trained and experienced. On the other side of a superintendent you have a bloated central management with good ole boys' networks who could create a lot of problems for the superintendent. To interview such a person, one has to be very well educated about the superintendent's jobs and challenges, behavioral psychology, human behavior, the competition in education, what are the high performing countries doing differently to have much better results, and investigate his resume in detail. A resume is a "selling" document. Sometimes people put things in it that are not true, or word things such that they can be misunderstood. In an interview, the potential superintendent is not your friend. You cannot win against an opponent unless you recognize who is more skillful in some or all areas truthfully. He/she does not want you to discover his/her "warts", and he/she had a lot more practice at this than any interviewer who is a board member. Do not let your ego get into the decision making. Recognize that we never selected and hired a superintendent who produced excellent ACT results. That is what counts.

One has to be honest about performance history, and pick new candidates who have delivered significantly better ACT results than what we have delivered. This principle must not be violated. Take ownership of the fact that Knox County, TN (as an example, but consider your county), consistently picked poor superintendents with insufficient management training and experience, AND delivered poor results. It is not a good idea to celebrate in public the arrival of a new superintendent for 3-4 years as Knox County, TN did the last time in 2008, especially when no one checked his background. We celebrated the arrival of a new superintendent for 3-4 years, calling him a Miracle Maker without knowing that he will do well or not. He did not do well. Yet it was known from the start that he never even managed a single school, and was not management trained, when our opportunity required the management of more than 80 schools with more than 8,000 employees. The qualification mismatch created many conflicts around him. These are the most important indicators about what you will actually get. Most board members never paid attention to such indicators and picked the wrong candidate EVERY SINGLE TIME, because the board selection committee was inexperienced in several important topics, like interviewing skills for a CEO for a 9,000 employee organization, or recognizing every year that the ACT results were poor.

The management skills (e.g., having a successful principal who delivered excellent ACT results as a superintendent candidate) are very important for small organizations up to about 100 employees, but management training and experience becomes key to success as an organization grows beyond 100 employees. We have close to 9,000 employees at Knox County Schools, and we have never picked a superintendent who had at least 5 successful years with increasing performance, with at least one-third as large organization as the new organization will be. So the people-management skills were totally missing, and so was the knowledge required to improve the key indicator of success, the ACT score, for the school district. They will keep selecting failing superintendents unless they pay attention to picking someone who managed a school district that was greater than 3,000 employees and delivered growing ACT performance that was always above the Knox County Schools performance. Ignoring these important elements will continue the same poor trend: picking an unsatisfactory performer.

If one picked ineffective superintendents with poor ACT results every time, and one keeps selecting a new one the same way, a poor performer will be picked again, and you will get political games in behavior instead of good results for our children. That is exactly what we have been doing.

A good candidate already examined the organization before the first interview. Ask him/her about what she found about our strengths and weaknesses and what we need to do in detail to improve. If they cannot answer, we have the wrong candidate.

A good candidate will be very relaxed and will not get upset about any question you ask. Don't hesitate to test that.

Prepare the candidate's ACT/ACT Readiness record for the last five years. Has he delivered at least 0.5 point higher steadily improving average ACT result for each of five years than we did, in a school organization with at least 3,000 employees? For example, the Hamblen County candidate's school district ACT performance was significantly below ours. How on earth will he be able to do better for us? Also, do not bother with any candidate who changed jobs every four years or less. Superintendents have minimum job durations around three and a half years. Unfortunately, there are not too many out there who are good and looking for a job. I wonder if anyone looked up the ACT performance for the candidate to be interviewed. If good candidates are available, don't waste your time on a candidate who was not a superintendent or director of schools, or had less than 20 schools under him/her. That is the most important question. Our own past performance tells us that we never picked such a candidate before because the selectors did not have the training and experience on the management side to recognize the importance of this fact, and if recruiting firms were used, the results were less than ideal. The above example about objectives or goals from the Knox County Schools and our results indicate that no one on the board and no interim or permanent superintendent was or is schooled AND experienced in managing more than 100 employees with success. If they did, then we would see suitable objectives, operating plans, and far better results. ONE CAN SUCCEED ONLY IF ONE OPENLY RECOGNIZES "IN PUBLIC" ONE'S OWN SHORTCOMINGS AND WHAT HE/SHE DOES NOT KNOW, AND THEN TAKES ACTION TO CORRECT THOSE SHORTCOMINGS.

Do not be in a hurry to hire. If you do not have a good candidate, continue searching.

An external candidate always looks better because we know very little about him/her. On the other hand, we know about all warts that an internal candidate has. That is very good because you get no surprises. The key thing is to listen carefully to the internal candidate's idea about what needs to be done to raise our bad results.

One can do a quick background check about any person's public record at intellius.com.

Talk to his/her references, and find out if they know others who are familiar with the candidate? Call these "secondary" references to find out about what the candidate's successes were, and in what areas the candidate needs a little help to become more effective?

What mistakes has the candidate made during each of the last three years, and what did the candidate do about them?

Has he/she managed organizations for at least 5 years that have at least half as many employees as the new organization has, and managed it with good results? Our organization is about 9,000 employees, and having experienced successfully for 5 years the management of one third as many employees is a suitable prerequisite.

  • The management part of a job becomes far more challenging after having managed at minimum a 100 employee organization, and increases in difficulty as the number of employees increase.
  • Unfortunately if someone did not manage a hundred employees in a growing organization and did not have management training, they would not understand this problem as well as someone with experience managing 100 or more employees.
  • The management training and experience with at least a 3,000 employee organization for five successful years is also vitally important. Those who did not have such experience may not understand the importance of this question, although it is the most important question in an organization of this size.
  • Teaching experience, AND having been a principal of a school for at least 5 years WITH EXCELLENT RESULTS EVERY YEAR, are also useful experiences if the candidate did well, and such experience should be present.
  • But the management experience in an organization that has 9,000 employees is far more important. Those who do not have management experience with successful results in any of these areas, will not do well. If anyone claims two years of successful experience in this area, it is too short to be meaningful. If someone claims five years of experience, with poor results, do not hire that person.
  • If one does not check a candidate's background, then let such person work for your competitor and not for you. Unfortunately, in education, such people are everywhere, in important positions - doing a poor job.

We hope that Leroy in the above picture will not be the selected superintendent. But...you never know. We had some Leroys in the past and so did many other school districts.



WHY?! HOW DOES AN EDUCATION SYSTEM JUSTIFY 75-85% OF OUR GRADUATING CHILDREN NOT BEING PREPARED FOR FURTHER EDUCATION OR JOB TRAINING?! BUT THEY ALL GET A DIPLOMA?!

 

Employers have been complaining about the poor quality of high school graduates for more than ten years, and our leaders did nothing to improve the ACT scores. What is a fact is that close to 80% of our children, who are unprepared for life, are the product of our schools, and that our education system is not good enough and must improve rapidly. It appears that our state and school district management does not feel that our teachers need to improve, because they graduate 80% of the children who are not prepared.

Many excellent tutorial programs are available from Internet sources, like YouTube, or the Learning Company or The Khan Academy. They are designed to hold the child's or adult's interest and some are the lectures/presentations from the best professors and teachers nationally. Tutorials in any subject could be very helpful to student or teacher alike. They could be incorporated into the teaching and learning programs in all subjects we teach in primary and secondary schools, except sports. The best company in this area appears to be the Khan Academy. Google them. They also have a collection of impressive tutorial programs for teachers to help them accomplish more in less time. For those in education management, read here what the best education systems are doing in the world differently. How many teachers and education system employees read and used in the past the tools presented here? Sadly, very few. Unfortunately most of us unless we are old enough, feel that we know everything, although we have very limited education and experience. Too many people are not interested in learning, a product of dumbing down for close to 50 years. School board members are not an exception. It is not their problem. It is the problem of old laws, and the state education departments whose senior staff is neither schooled nor experienced in management to be able to provide needed guide lines.

A graduating high school student no longer needs to worry about where he/she will fit in a fast changing world, if he is getting good enough grades. If they are above 17 years of age, there are two tests that I used correlated in about 700 cases for professionals we hired, and the two tests correlated gave an accurate indication of where, in what job the individual will be happiest. That is where he or she will be most successful. The tests are called the Strong Interest Inventory, and the Myers-Briggs Psychological Inventory. The cognitive areas of the brain do change and develop until age 17, after which they remain the same for life. One can download them from the Internet for about $140 total. These two tests need to be correlated ideally by a vocational psychologist. In our case, these tests were 100% correct in all 700 cases, making for a successful and happy work environment. The traits measured by these tests remain the same for life after 18 years of age. There are a number of outstanding public and charter high schools with excellent results in the USA that are comparable to some international high performers. We should be investigating how they achieve their high performance, along with the schools in Finland and Singapore, two high performing international countries with methodologies that are transferable to US culture.

Your child is your child. He or she is not an adult. You, the parent are the decision maker at home. The teachers are the decision makers in school. There needs to be zero tolerance of bad behavior in school. The schools are NOT the providers of baby sitting services. The children's future job and income will depend significantly on how much they have learned in high school. Make sure that they work hard.


IF INTERESTED IN GOING TO ONE OF THESE AREAS IMMEDIATELY, CLICK ON IT:

Charter schools - do they work well or not?
The impact of the new robotics on employment: If you want your child to have a job throughout life, he/she must work harder in school and get top grades to ensure an average ACT score above 25 now and above 27 by 2020, or robots will replace them. Continuing education will be a normal part of life from now on. Other countries like Japan started with that thirty years ago. TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY because without it one will be jobless.
What do student results depend on the most?
What makes school systems perform well?
Six drivers of student success
Lessons for the United States from PISA
What is "ACT readiness" of a student or a school or a school district?
What are vision statements, goals, objectives and operating plans? Why are they important? Boards and superintendents - who manages the other?
Things missing in education management.
Teachers, the most important employees in our schools.
How do we compare internationally?
The USA dropped to 40th in education in the world. What are the best countries in education doing differently?
The 2008 national plan that was ignored.
What the Board members could do differently to improve education
We hope that you will look at this 8th grade test from 1912. Could our 8th graders pass such a test today?



Click here to read the article.




Since 1970 or even before, according to the above Cato Institute report, spending per student and hiring of employees for the school districts skyrocketed. However, our children's education went nowhere, as many countries passed us. It is irresponsible that no school board or governor in school districts or states respectively put a halt to spending increases to question and investigate every year why the results are not improving as they did in some other countries. Such a long-term decline in what our children learned since 1970, dumbed down the public, damaging the workforce, the citizenry and the future of our children. It is most puzzling that in 46 years there was no action by our political leaders to improve the terrible ACT scores, as the public kept paying every year the rapidly increasing cost of education. We suggest focusing on the ACT and SAT scores, because they are the tests that accurately present what our children learned from grade one to twelve. We cannot expect negative news about how the education of our children is going from politicians and those working in a public school district. It is also very strange that shortly after 1970 we started putting emphasis on graduating students as soon as possible, instead of graduating them only when their knowledge rose to a level required by employers (e.g., ACT Readiness level). We dropped to 40th in high school mathematics in the world in 2016. Other nations did the opposite. They improved their teachers, schools, and student results - and passed us.

Why is that important? Workforce education creates the products and services from our companies nationwide to compete worldwide to be profitable in order to create our national tax income. It is a solid, well-rounded education in high school that makes a good worker that employers want. A good education creates the basis for a competent workforce and well-employed future for our children, both vitally important to a healthy economy. Four out of five children who entered high school leave our public high schools poorly educated and they will be mostly unemployed. Robotics will easily replace from 2017 our children who graduated from high school not "ACT Ready" and an increasing percentage of those who graduated "ACT Ready". That is a very bad result considering that we are the 5th highest spender per student in the world. This is a major concern to our companies. We need today at least 80% of our high school graduates to be ACT ready (having above 25 average ACT score) of those graduating from high school. Only 20-30% being ACT Ready when graduating is far from enough (20-22 average ACT score). That is what we have in 2017 in the majority of school districts. There are no steps taken currently, as of 2017, by our political leadership in individual US states, that would increase the ACT or SAT scores enough. These are the only tests that show accurately what children have learned from grade one to twelve. No explanation to the public and no corrective action has taken place for many decades. Our public school districts, however, kept informing the public falsely, that "we are doing well, a solid B work, but there is room to improve." (superintendent 2008-2016).

The "solid B work" comment was based on the TCAP, the Tennessee state test. It is easier than the ACT and therefore its scores should be higher. But the typical scores on the TCAP are in the 35-45% range. Clearly that is a failing grade. The percentage score reflects student knowledge correctly. To make such poor scores "look more acceptable to the public", the Tennessee Education Department came out with something called "cut scores", to make poor scores look good. The cut scores are a conversion table that converts a 35-45% low score to a "respectable" B grade. We wonder why we decided not to fix and make the education system more rigorous, because tests are always designed to test student knowledge on the basis of the curriculum for a given grade. This way, we are short-changing the student, so that they become unemployable in greater numbers.


"The foundation of every state is the education of its youth."
Diogenes Laertius, Greek Philosopher, ~C.E. 300



WE HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES OF POVERTY IN THE WORLD (SEE BELOW). BLAMING POVERTY FOR THE POOR SCHOOL PERFORMANCE IS NOT A GOOD IDEA, WHEN IT IS THE POOR EDUCATION THAT CREATED A LARGE PART OF THE POVERTY.

A drop in our education since 1970 must have effected job readiness for a fair number of vocations. The only thing that can increase employment and earnings ability is a much higher education level. We have more than three million open jobs because our employers cannot find suitable educated candidates. The deterioration of our primary and secondary public education is turning into a very poor investment of millions of our tax dollars. But that is not all the damage. There is a lifetime loss of income that could be associated with the dumbing down of the public, that could be extremely damaging financially, all because public education has been mismanaged.

New technologies eliminate many low-end jobs, and open up many new jobs with better pay. The new jobs require more education. In 2016 we had 3.5 million jobs that employers could not fill because our high school performance was/is very poor. Poor education decreases income and can lead to poverty. Too many public schools are "failure factories", that do not train our children well enough for jobs.

Increasing education is the only way out of poverty. However, poor education is the best way into poverty. Since 1970, our public education declined. That in turn increased poverty and spending to attempt to maintain our living standards.

Poverty is a self-inflicted wound of a poor education system, especially for African American and Hispanic children, who have additional challenges.

How do you get a job if you do not have the right education for it or if you have a bad history with past employers?

The right education must be completed first, before we can expect to get a job. Income will depend on the education one gets. Low end jobs with a high school diploma only will be replaced by robotics. By 2020, a number of jobs will also go to robotics, e.g., in healthcare, accounting and others. During our life, continuing education with higher degrees will be the only way of life in the future. Continuing education does not mean additional degrees. It means additional knowledge obtained by any means.

Children's success with education depends the most on how well teachers are suited for teaching as a career, how well they are educated and kept up to date about the subject they teach and with improvements in teaching methodologies included. Teachers must be excellent motivators, which means that they cannot be struggling with low morale as they do today. School district management must be much better trained in management of people, to resolve teacher problems that exist today.

Please note below the ACT score and readiness performance of the Knox County, Tennessee school district as an example. They are close to average performers in the USA. We will cover it in more detail with explanation later, but we would like to ask you to form an initial impression. How good is this performance on a first view? What performance evaluation would you give it without learning any more below (good, so-so, bad)?




And now please look at the percentage of graduates from each of the Knox County, Tennessee public high schools who are ACT Ready and the percentage who are not ACT Ready. Remember that ACT Readiness means only a 50-75% chance to finish ONLY the first year of a tech/vocational program or a college program. This excludes even the first year of science or engineering programs in colleges because they have a much higher ACT mathematics score requirement than the ACT Readiness benchmark's math requirement. Those who are not ACT Ready, will not be employable longer than a few years with the following.

Looking at the charts on the left and above, the ACT Readiness percentage is very low for those who graduated with a diploma. We are pushing children to graduate instead of being properly educated for the work place or college. Isn't that foolish? It is not what parents want. Parents want 100% graduates with a diploma, all of whom are ACT Ready. Only foolish people would say "90% graduated AND 27% of them are ready for job training or further schooling, but 73% are not ready but maybe they will get a minimum wage job." So four out of five children graduate not ready today. However, the ACT Readiness of African American students is extremely poor, only one or two is prepared out of fifty. THIS IS A DISASTER. Note that a charter school chain in NYC called Success Academy Schools, that started in Harlem in 2006, with 41 schools as of 2016, is achieving a TOP ONE PERCENT result in the NY State Common Core Tests in mathematics, WITH POOR, INNER CITY AFRICAN AMERICAN AND HISPANIC CHILDREN. THEY ARE PASSING EVEN MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS! At the same time, we are getting a bottom 2-5% ACT Readiness result only in our public schools for African American and Hispanic children. IT IS POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE FAR BETTER RESULTS THAN WHAT WE ARE ACHIEVING IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. IT CAN BE DONE, IF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION VISITS THEM TO FIND OUT WHAT THE HIGH PERFORMERS ARE DOING TO ACHIEVE HIGH RESULTS. Success Academy Schools have a zero discipline-problem policy. Teachers have excellent benefits and compensation, and expected to do a good job. Some parents don't like the "zero discipline-problem policy". A minority of teachers do not like the work-related expectations. We would humbly suggest that you cannot have excellent results with children who are a discipline problem, who disturb all children in a class, and you cannot have success without teachers who work hard, AND LEARN ALL THE TIME ABOUT HIGH PERFORMERS BECAUSE THEY ENJOY BEING AN EXCELLENT TEACHER. Our board of education members (mostly teachers in Knox County, Tennessee IN 2017) do not even want to visit the Success Academy Schools to find out why they are getting a top one percent result, because those who produce the bottom 2-5% ACT Readiness result (the Knox County, Tennessee school board) feel that they will learn nothing that could improve their dismal 2-5% ACT Readiness for black students! And we just touched on the biggest problem with our public school performance: most teacher training is poor (at the US university level), teachers are not matched to the profession and lack of supporting a "zero tolerance for discipline-problems" policy, that must be there for good results. More details later.

Tennessee's performance is very poor, but not the worst in the USA. Parents would want for their children a better life, they think that they are getting the truth from the schools about how good the schools' performance is, but with both parents working do not have the time to be involved. Such articles many times misstate the facts, for example: this Kentucky op ed. Our states all operate the same way in education and have virtually identical problems to varying degrees. Very small percent of public high schools produce good results that will ensure our children's economic survival. Some in public became aware of the fact starting from the 1990's that our high school graduates cannot communicate, read and write in English properly and cannot even do basic math. Public schools are not improving enough, but instead are slowly becoming worse as of 2016, and their comments indicate that they do not want to change. They present arguments against charter schools, vouchers, and tax credits that allow parents to have a choice of better schools. An answer to such articles may be: "The ACT scores impartially measure what children learned from grade one to twelve. If you are better than charter schools, why worry so much about charter schools? Just compare your ACT scores." Employers are very concerned about whether or not they will have a well enough trained workforce, and robotics will satisfy that need. See Kentucky example on the left show very poor ACT scores and readiness. Kentucky, however, does not use ACT's Readiness "unofficially". What they use is about 30% better than what ACT's benchmarks show.

Remember how US spending per student skyrocketed since 1970 (CATO report above), but the school results went nowhere to date in our public schools? Did that increase or decrease the knowledge of high school graduates since 1970? Internationally we dropped to 40th place in high school mathematics in 2016 from the top during the same period. That's the bottom of the industrialized nations. We obviously decreased the knowledge of high school graduates big time as many other nations increased it, so the general population WAS AND IS BEING DUMBED DOWN. We have about 96 million people out of work, and we have more than three million jobs today, increasing, that employers cannot fill because they cannot find candidates with good enough education. IS THAT ACCEPTABLE?

According to ACT, nationally 74% of graduating high school students, among them 95% of the African American students, were not prepared in 2016 but for close to minimum wage jobs that robots will replace in a few years. IS THAT ACCEPTABLE?
In NYC a school chain is getting top one percent results with poor, African American inner city children! We could do much better if the elected boards uniformly acted using the same standards to achieve the kind of results that we should have. In Tennessee the state goal for more than a dozen years was to reach an average ACT score of 21, by 2020!! The ACT Readiness percentage of graduating students at ACT 21 is around 25% only, with 75% not ready. That's no improvement. Just look at the chart. Such a "no improvement", very low goal means that the management has no idea what to do to improve. Our children's education is out of control in public schools, but the education districts through the newspapers tell the public that "we are doing fine, but there is room for improvement." If you live in another state, you are not much better. I fear the time when soon we will have to deal with too many jobless young people, and the public will discover that they were fed lies by the education district, while poorly educating our children for which we, the public paid many billions of dollars.

Who sets the standards for all decisions in a school district, like objectives, priorities, spending, standards to be met? It is not the USA. It is not the individual states. It is the individual school districts! About 14,500 of them doing their own thing nationwide, based on an elected board of education, with a high school diploma as the minimum requirement. The explanation given is that "the local public knows best how to educate our children". THAT IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING WITH THE ELECTED BOARDS FOR DECADES. We are forgetting what happened to the public since 1970 and forgetting that we fell all the way to 40th place in the world, weakening our workforce, the general knowledge of our population, our products and services. We are getting dumbed down by the public education system, for which WE, the public, pay.

Our national income dropped as a result to a "break even level" for about ten years we are told. Not quite. The national debt rose at the same time to more than twenty trillion dollars as of 2017. Let me see if I understand this in very simple terms. We keep spending as long as we have some money. Unfortunately we kept spending on the wrong things, not on things to ensure a good future national income, LIKE MAKING PUBLIC SCHOOLING EXCELLENT. Our public schools kept producing poor results while spending many billions of dollars. The education departments and school districts were and still are telling us at the same time how well they are doing. The majority of high school graduates can get only minimum wage jobs for a short time. McDonald's piloting of robot solutions showed customer preference for communicating with the robot, the robot could "upsell" AND robots did a better job for less money, increasing net income almost 20%. Not a problem! We did not and do not stop spending on things that do not improve education. We "borrow" money (using Treasury instruments to sell the debt), because our tax income is poor, and increasing taxes when we are the highest in corporate taxes in the world, is a very bad move. What we "borrow" becomes "The National Debt". It is about $20 TRILLION now in early 2017. It is so high that we had to pay over $258 billion dollars in interest on it in 2016 (that's $167,000 per tax payer!!) the national debt interest is payable FOREVER at our current interest rate that was 6% in 2016. Just imagine what we could do with $258 billion, instead of paying interest to countries who purchased our debt (or "loaned us the money"), with China and Japan being the biggest. The interest rate is too low and it is likely to increase. The national debt is also likely to increase more, in order to strengthen national income-producing activities and our weakened military.

The elected board members' majority doesn't know (and the state's education department does not provide or also doesn't know):
  • where we stand vs. the best international competitors,
  • what the higher performers do differently than us and why
  • ,
  • how to hire the right superintendent for a school district with 200-10,000 employees (a medium to huge management job), who knows how to increase our poor results because he/she was educated for it and has done it for minimum five years
  • ,
  • how to set objectives that work,
  • how to prepare operating plans that work,
  • how to improve teaching methodologies,
  • how to keep employee morale high and do all of it by facing and telling the truth.
Elected board members get paid for it, e.g., $25K/year in Knox County, Tennessee. They do not want to or do not even think of learning what the high performing school systems do differently worldwide to get better results, and are not even willing to visit a much higher performing school in New York City to learn how they achieve their fabulous results. By doing so, they have been throwing most of our children under the bus, with very few exceptions. For the average ACT score of 21 in Tennessee, a state goal for more than a dozen years, if reached, we would get 74% of our high school graduates plus 5% dropouts not being prepared by their schooling to be trained for a job, for which us, tax payers, paid $10,000-$12,000 per year for each and every student. HOW CAN A GOVERNOR ACCEPT SUCH A LOW ACT SCORE OBJECTIVE LIKE 21, FROM THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT THAT GUARANTEES 79% OF THOSE WHO ENTERED HIGH SCHOOL NOT PREPARED TO BE EMPLOYED?! That is a lot of money, for which we must and should get better results.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SUCH POOR PERFORMANCE IN OUR SCHOOLS THAT DAMAGES OUR ECONOMY AND OUR CHILDREN? It is not the elected school boards. After all, they are from the general public and cannot be expected to know how to do many things. The state Department of Education is to provide such guidelines, but those guidelines are inadequate and lack management experience really shows. Both the governors and Department of Education apparently decided not to bring education laws up to date. That is where the responsibility lies: the state department of education and the governor.

Difficult and sad to believe that this is where we are.



 



LET US EXPLAIN SOME TERMS AND FACTS FIRST BEFORE WE GET INTO SOLUTIONS OF THE EDUCATION PROBLEM


Let us try to explain a very dangerous problem we are facing with public education in Tennessee and other states as well. The example I will use is Knox County, TN, an average performer in Tennessee. The performance is ACT-based. Let's cover a few important definitions first.

  • "ACT Readiness" is a term that ACT, the testing company, uses. It means that a high school graduate will have a 50-75% chance to complete only the first year of a tech/vocational training program, or first year of a college. The "ACT Readiness" percentage of graduates as a group is based on a four-subject benchmark ACT establishes as needed based on what employers need, but…
  • Excluding a science or engineering program's first year, because such programs require a 26-27 ACT score in math, much higher than the ACT Readiness benchmark in math. This area represents many jobs.
  • In 2016 many fast food providers decided to replace their workers with robotics, e.g. McDonald's decided to convert 25,000 stores fully because its pilot studies showed that customers preferred to deal with the robot, better communications, faster service, good attitude, additional significant profitability, at a total cost below minimum wage.



THE OBJECTIVE:
An objective is just a fancy word for something you want to accomplish, or to get to some place or result that you want to get to by a specific date or time or hour. The complexity of achieving an objective increases enormously as the number of employees increase to achieve it. If one started a "small" office for a professional service, with 20-25 employees, some employees will focus on getting revenue so that all employees can get paid, and the rest are supporting those who get the revenue. One person would have managerial duties as well. When one starts such a business, it will be very challenging: organizing everything, reminding all employees about what the objectives (or jobs) are for each of them, what their decision making authority is, what we must achieve by what date, solve many people problems and financial problems. And then some day, it will all come together, but there always will be new challenges in the management area. Getting problem employees to change for the better, letting go of those who are not working out are very sophisticated and unpleasant problems. Handling them is a management problem/task. One could direct quite easily "who is to accomplish what" in a small organization like that, but there are some people who could not do that. They may be excellent working for someone, but not managing others. Next I would like you to imagine how complicated things could get, when you have 200 employees, with varying jobs, and 10-12 people who help the president to manage such an organization. Now the management task becomes at least 100 times more difficult, and you would be also keeping an eye on competitors, learning from those who are the best, and ensuring that all employees are assigned duties such that the 200 people produce the best possible results, with minimum management. If your employees lie to you, they can hurt you and your entire organization a lot. Your communications will need to be in writing so that everything is very clear to employees. These are management tasks, and they make the management job much more complicated with 200 employees. Job descriptions in writing, objectives in writing, action or operating plans in writing, policies about what the organization does, have all became more complex to keep 200 people focused in the same direction to get the best results for the entire organization. In addition, you have to know what each of them are doing. Happy employees who are well suited to the job, will do very well. On the other hand employees who are not happy in their job, cannot do well. Imagine now an organization with 2000 employees. There are quite a few managers to guide various areas of the organization, and the top job becomes much more complex. If that person did not have management training in many areas, and in addition knows how to set objectives and create an operating plan in all operating units of the organization that are producing the results, success will be impossible. That is what any school board needs to understand very well, and the superintendent has to be very good at being the best advisor to his/her direct employees, appreciate their problems and be of help in assuring that they improve. Education programs are a great investment, and should be completed before that employee is promoted into a position that needs such training. The worst thing that happens most of the time is people not wanting to admit that they don't know how to do something and do not learn on the side about what they do not know. Many companies and people fail because of it. So the job of management and related education is extremely important if you want to succeed.

An ACT 25 average score is a reasonable minimal goal for survival to improve ACT Readiness from a current 27% of a graduating class, to 80% of a class within four years. That is what teachers have to be very good at, and their performance review should reflect how good they were in improving their students learning. If we started in September 2016 to use proper ACT objectives in Knox County, TN, a reasonable performance evaluation for teachers along with an operating plan that focuses all supervisors and managers in each of the K-12 grades in every single school on academic objectives, provide continuing subject and teaching methodology education to teachers and institute zero tolerance discipline management, it would take minimum four years to see increases in ACT scores to 23 average with ACT 25 as a goal, with parallel improvement in all twelve grades. We were at only a 27% ACT Readiness of graduating students in 2016. That is a poor result. We should be above 80% ACT Readiness, for which an average ACT score of 25 is necessary. There can be no improvement when performance is this low, without the right ACT score objectives. That did not happen in September 2016 with the board of education, and it is uncertain if it will ever happen in places like Knox County, Tennessee. Unfortunately there are many school districts like that.

The correct measurable ACT score objectives and operating plans were not in place as of 2017 April. The point we want to make is that any corrective action will take 4-8 years minimum. Experts are forecasting that by 2025, a third of current jobs will be replaced by robots, (reference on spreading of robots), depending on how fast we can improve – or become even worse. All of this depends on the district's elected board. They are responsible for operating decisions. There will be significant public reaction because of the poor job the boards and superintendents have done in public education, and even worse, our law-makers could have solved this problem but did not. Waiting at this point will significantly increase the damage.

The first decision is about what test result is the best, impartial indicator of achievement at the end of 12 grades and end of each year, in order to measure where we are, where we want to be at year end (objective) and what our goal is 4-5 years out. In our opinion the ACT score is the best impartial and most secure indicator of results. We would feel that because we are so low in performance, we should plan the objective at last year's ACT score, plus ten percent to give us a solid reference point-based objective. The last ACT score and readiness percentage indicates where we are when creating this plan. TO KEEP IMPROVING RESULTS, AN ORGANIZATION MUST HAVE A COUPLE OF PROPER OBJECTIVES AS DESCRIBED FOR THE ENTIRE ORGANIZATION, AND ALSO FOR THE SCHOOLS, AFTER ALL, THEY ARE TO PRODUCE THE HIGHER RESULTS. THE SCHOOLS MUST HAVE MONTHLY ACADEMIC OBJECTIVES. BECAUSE THE ACT IS GIVEN AT THE END OF HIGH SCHOOL, A GPA MEASUREMENT MAY BE THE BEST AND COULD BE USED EVEN FOR CLASSROOM OR INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT MONITORING. IT CAN BE AUTOMATED QUITE EASILY. WE SIMPLY CANNOT ACHIEVE BETTER RESULTS WITHOUT MANAGING GROWTH BY OBJECTIVES IN THE SCHOOLS WHO GENERATE THE RESULTS AND EDUCATE THE CHILDREN. WE SIMPLY CANNOT CONTINUE AS BEFORE.

Very strangely, we do not have objectives and operating plans for the individual schools. They are the ones who produce the results and who could optimize the operating plan to their own specific needs. Not having an operating plan for each school is like not having an operating plan at all. No one can deliver against an increasing objective unless one has an operating plan per school.

The school objective must be a monthly objective for each of twelve months, so that any problems that prevent the delivery of one months objective is known right away so that action can be taken to remedy the problem.

Objectives in a growing environment are realized only if an operating plan was created per school to meet them. To create the operating plan, identify the academic performance-related objective of every supervisory and management position in each school, and also in Central Management. The operating plan for the school district will be a collection of all operating plans from each school and Central Management.

During this entire process, everyone and especially the superintendent should be making sure that Central Management employees do not exceed 1% of the school districts total number of employees, and any excess should go to the schools to produce better results.

In terms of importance and allocation of resources the priorities are: 1. schools, 2. Research how the best in the world achieve their superior results, 3. everything else.

When an organization has vague and immeasurable objectives like we do, it will have no incentive to do anything better or to work harder or smarter. In such a case, the results of performance evaluations will become political relationship-based, because the objective created by the board is not measurable. The result of such a situation is always based on politics, and not on work results. That means that the effort everyone makes is driven by what their boss and people above their boss think about them, instead of improvement in student results driving the organization. That makes focused performance impossible at all levels and opens the door to continuing poor performance, because actual accomplishment to improve the results will not be the basis of performance evaluations, as we experienced to date. Performance evaluations will depend in such a case on how much a worker is pleasing his/her boss, the boss's friends and family. Achieving good results through his/her job performance becomes less important. This could become very unpleasant for an attractive female worker, and the business or activity will not do well when useless objectives are used. Therefore a performance objective must be measurable, expressed in a number, and it must be the most important indicator of success measurement activity or business. A second objective is generally keeping the spending under a monthly, year-to-date expense budget. Having more than two or three objectives on the top level can easily dilute the importance of the objectives.


THE COMING EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY TRENDS

Robotics are spreading into many different industries, replacing even college graduates, reducing high school graduates' job prospects, since our high schools are graduating poorly prepared children. Too many cannot communicate properly, cannot perform basic math, are not reliable and have a bad attitude. See robotics.

Our student performance is limited by how well teachers are educated about the subject they teach and teaching methodologies, and capable to teach, such, that they motivate the children to learn more. It appears that our teacher training is weak compared to many nations. It needs to be improved and working conditions for teachers need to be improved as well. See The teachers challenge.

In 2016 Tennessee, only 20% of a graduating class was "ACT Ready", and in Knox County 27%. That makes 73% in Knox County, TN, and 83% in Tennessee of a graduating class with a diploma "not ACT Ready". When the results are poor, and you are the fifth largest spender per student in the world, YOU DO NOT NEED MORE MONEY AS IN THE PAST.
The results are poor, BECAUSE THE MONEY WAS AND IS NOT GETTING TO THE RIGHT PLACES, AND NO ONE KNOWS THE DIFFERENCE. The school boards and superintendents created these poor results by foolishly spending billions of the public's hard-earned tax dollars every single year, damaging the future of our children, the workforce and our economy, did not inform the public truthfully about the results. And we the people, whose taxes pay for this education, do not have any legal recourse on people who hired people who made such poor decisions with our money? With such people, there is a trail of bad decisions, it did not just happen out of the blue. For those "not ACT Ready", this will mean a short-term, close to minimum-wage job only, followed by joblessness and homelessness for many. For these results in the chart, the board members gave themselves and the superintendent good-to-excellent performance reviews every year, and chose not to set an ACT score objective and a proper operating plan with GPA objectives IN ANY SINGLE YEAR to ensure improving performance by each and all of our schools. Instead they chose objectives on purpose that are vague, and/or unmeasurable, but sound good, so no one can see if their "objectives" were achieved or not. Unfortunately the public majority assumes that the board of education and the superintendent must know what they are doing, and they do not question them about anything.

JOBLESSNESS is increasing among young people who are not educated well enough. Employers can survive only if they have well enough educated candidates for jobs. We must recognize this fact. If the employers cannot find well enough educated candidates for jobs, then they will have to go to places that have such talent, or go to robotics, or close the company. For jobs, a parent thinking that "my Johnny is smart enough, just hire him and teach him the job" is not a good substitute. Demonstrating for more jobs is not a good idea. There cannot be more employed people if they cannot satisfy the schooling and on job behavior that an employer needs. BUT...DEMONSTRATING ABOUT NEEDING A MUCH BETTER EDUCATION FOR ALL THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WE, THE PUBLIC PAID FOR IT, THAT IS WELL JUSTIFIED ACTION. HAVING A SCHOOL IN YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC AREA IS NOT A GOOD IDEA IF THE SCHOOL EDUCATES OUR CHILDREN SO POORLY THAT THEY CANNOT GET A JOB. WE MUST HAVE MUCH BETTER SCHOOLS FOR ALL CHILDREN.

A "not ACT ready" high school graduate will have no chance of employment as early as 2019, and that an "ACT ready" graduate's future without a university degree IN DEMAND, will be short lived, unless we start graduating students from high school with 80% "ACT Readiness". That is unlikely to happen because the majority of elected boards have not been able to create better performance and don't seem to be interested enough in high performing education systems to learn or to get others to learn better teaching methodologies from them. The current thought in the upper level of state planning is to focus on junior colleges with vocational training to provide high school graduates with a vocation for life. That will work only for a short time without fixing the poor education from pre-school onward, before high school graduation. Robotics are already planned on the vocational level and will be available within 5 years, eliminating many jobs by even professional humans. The two year vocational education on top of a poor 12 years of education cannot overcome the bad attitudes, poor behavior, and weak educational preparation. Fixing public education is already necessary for survival via new job training as new technologies eliminate old jobs, and create new better paying jobs that require more education. A ROBUST PRESCHOOL, AND MUCH BETTER 12-YEAR PROGRAM IS NEEDED INSTEAD TO BUILD A MUCH BETTER PREPARED FUTURE WORKFORCE, WITH CONTINUING EDUCATION BECOMING A NECESSITY OF LIFE.

THE OPERATING PLAN: The next most important thing in planning and managing results in each and every school to its monthly objective (GPA), in order to meet the top level ACT score objective for the school district. One cannot get good results unless all "operating units that produce results" or all schools, have a monthly GPA objective, year-to-date, so that if we discover a problem one month in achieving the year-to-date GPA, action can be taken immediately to adjust the plan to ketch up with or exceed the original operating plan. Under the operating plan, every single management and supervisory employee must have a monthly action plan with measurable objectives that support directly the achievement of their immediate organization's objective. For example, supervisor within a school must have Monthly Year-to-Date GPA objectives that the school must achieve, plus another objective based on what the supervisor has to accomplish every month to help that school objective's achievement. It sounds complicated, but it is not, and it can be very easily automated with a database management program. If the supervisor or manager cannot detail in writing what each of his/her people should achieve each month, then you have the wrong person in their position.

New technologies will appear faster, bringing more unemployment and new jobs that require more education. We need a much better foundation in high school for students to survive this, more education in mathematics and science, with 80% ACT Readiness, plus lifelong continuing education to be able to do well with such future changes. You can view all the backup data at my website, usaedustat.com. This is not a pessimistic view, it is a best case view based on what we are doing today. We have been heading in the wrong direction with public education for a long time.

To survive, we have to be competitive internationally with US products and services. We sell most of our products or services internationally. It is a big part of our national income. Product and service quality and pricing depend on the quality of the workforce. Our workforce has been declining both in numbers and capability as the high school output declined. The quality of the workforce everywhere depends on the knowledge of high school graduates the most. Our high school graduates dropped to 40th recently in international math tests of 15-year-olds (OECD PISA) of 73 countries. We just keep dropping because our high school output is poor and getting worse. Why? Because our elected boards of education will not set appropriate ACT objectives and operating plans in every school to ensure GPA progress to achieve the ACT objectives. One does not need such objectives in a school system that performs well, meaning 80% of ACT Readiness of high school graduates and not just 20-50% ACT Readiness. Our situation and its management is poor, and such a condition cannot be reversed without the right key success indicator-based objective. People who have not been management trained extensively and have not managed at least half as many employees as the school district has for at least five continuous years may not appreciate this fact. Hopefully they will appreciate that the time for experimentation IS OVER. We have been doing education the same way for a hundred years, it generates declining results, it did not work.

To turn education around, an ACT objective has to be a 5-10% increase from the last ACT score achieved, as long as the ACT Readiness in graduating classes is under 80%. Only two top level or primary objectives are needed for the board and superintendent. One is the ACT score objective. The other is achieving it within the approved budget. All other objectives are secondary to these two and apply to positions under them, and must be supportive of these two primary objectives. If your objective is not measurable in the key indicator of success, such as an ACT score that shows what students learned from grade one to twelve, then our school districts will not improve enough to survive.

Whatever we do, if we do not have the right objectives and operating plan to achieve it, we will continue failing. We are leaving four out of five children behind today. The public is paying for it and they deserve better from boards of education and legislators. Set the right ACT objective and operating plan to meet it please! The boat is sinking and we don't even know where the holes are…or worse…we are keeping it a secret.

Please note that the dumbing down (providing less and less education compared to other nations) of the public, our public schools took place over a 46 year period, very quietly, with 39 countries passing us as of December 2016 (OECD PISA tests of 73 nations). The USA is 40th now and below average of all those nations in math of 15-year-old students in the world, a very poor showing. The general public appears to be under the impression that "our high school education is all right, a solid B performance, but there is room for improvement" to quote a superintendent of Knox County, Tennessee, during the 2008-2016 period. That is what our school districts told and tell the public via newspapers and the media. They are not telling the public the truth. They also reconditioned the public's expectations, by repeating often the idea that "everything is all right, but there is room to improve". Companies who experienced high school graduates are of the opinion that since about 2005, most high school graduates could not communicate properly in English, could not even fill out a job application correctly, and cannot even perform basic math. Employers became so concerned about the educational output of high schools, that many areas opted since 2016 to replace employees with robots. The cost of robotics is below minimum wage and customers preferred to communicate with the robot in pilot studies. Please read some details about robotics here.

With the long-weakening public schools, the employers do not have the quality labor force they need to survive. The choices are to leave and move to another country with a better-educated workforce, or close the business, or go to robotics. Going to robotics is the least expensive solution without sacrificing customer satisfaction in many industries. Most parents of today's high school graduates did better in high school. The point we want to make is that with the slow dumbing down since 1970, many in the US population, including school board members, lost track of where we need to be, because they don't know how far we dropped from other nations with whom we compete and why that is important. Poor public school performance is destroying public schools, by necessitating the establishment of more vouchers, private schools, home schooling, superior Internet-based educational programs and improved charter schools. If public schools were performing better than these, why would we need them?

The world has become "small" during the last 20-30 years. We can call, video conference or fly to any country today, we can see their newspapers on the Internet the same day. The US companies were very competitive 40 years ago with their products. I saw well respected US products everywhere in 65 countries to which I travelled regularly. As our high school education weakened, so did our products and services in the international markets and at home as well. Coincidence? Definitely not. High school output feeds the national workforce. A weaker high school output weakens the US workforce, as foreign countries strengthened their workforce by significantly improving teacher education, matching potential teachers to the profession, getting teachers from the top 10-30% of their Master's programs in the subjects that they will teach in order to create much better educated high school graduates than what most of our high schools produced for a couple of decades now. The declining high school education in the US resulted in a gradual reduction of the quality of US products in both US sales and profitability of US companies, with very few exceptions. We have about three million jobs that employers cannot fill today because the candidates with the right education have not been developed by our public schools. Only 26% of our high school graduates with a diploma were ready nationally for further training or better than minimum wage jobs in 2016. The objectives set by the states for public schools are very low. Using ACT scores, for 80% of a graduating class to be prepared, that class must be at or above an average ACT score of 25. Not where we are today.

Nationally in 2016 74% of graduating high school students were not ACT Ready. They will not succeed. Robotics will take their jobs.


Well, things not going well with the education of our children, is an understatement.

What would you do if, in the only hospital available to you, 80% of patients became infected with an incurable debilitating infection and die? And your child is sick, requiring hospitalization. Would you be very concerned? This analogy is better than you think right now. Public schools are the only option for many. Considering dropouts, more than 80% of those children who enter public school in grade 9 are "dead" from the career point of view when leaving high school. You should be VERY concerned!


A school's success with students is limited by how well-trained and motivated their teachers are. What is certain is that teachers may say that "They have taught for decades but these students have not learned." That is the same as if someone said "I have been selling for 30 years, but no one bought." In addition, teacher training in the USA needs to improve both in subject knowledge and teaching methodology, because it is not competitive with the top 20 higher performing nations in education results. Our teachers come from the bottom third of university classes. Our competitors' teachers come from the top 10-30% with a master's degree in the subject that they will teach. The drop in school performance since 1970 reduced many families' earnings, increasing poverty in the nation. We forget the dumbing down result on and by public education, jobs and earnings, when we blame the education results on poverty.

Another contributor is boards of education not wanting to learn what to do and why, we have been creating less and less educated people for five decades now or maybe more. The states' education departments did not or cannot provide appropriate operating guide lines in the area. In the top performing countries, such help is provided country-wide centrally, and not by school district boards. We must correct this situation if we want more employable people.

We seem to support the philosophy that many decisions must be made by the local school districts' boards, because they, as representatives of the people know best what we need to improve education. We have about 14,000 different school districts nationally with elected boards as a sample of the population, and the entire population was dumbed down since 1970 or before the tests indicate. So every single school district must do the work to reinvent the wheel without professional guidelines from the state education departments, or better yet nationally, to work together to reach the same standards to improve performance. Such an approach creates disorganization, and lack of focus on the right objective, and that can bring only bad results. That is what we have.

We unfortunately must create an opportunity for better education through vouchers, tax credits and charter schools because public schools are not improving. However, these are not always successful. There must be a function within the state ideally, or within the school district to have actual facts showing to the public which charter school, or private school (vouchers) could be most beneficial.

States must become much better in setting the right measurable academic objectives, like an ACT or SAT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved.

State guidance of school districts must become much better, the curriculum must stronger, the teachers better educated with a master's degree in the subject they teach (and with continuing education) and better supported by their management giving the prepared teacher full authority about classroom decisions.

We must educate significantly more of our children with university degrees that are in demand. Not just any degree. That, in turn, depends on how well they do in pre-school, and in grades one through twelve. That is where we have a big problem with the great majority of public schools.

Teachers need to check all students understanding while they are teaching, so they do not move on with unlearned material that can accumulate and stop that students progress. We don't do this. This is one big difference between us and high performing internationals. For example, in Finland such students are switched to additional tutoring the same day after normal school hours until 6 PM.


Elected boards of education could not develop our children during the past 20 years to a well enough educated level, to satisfy the needs of employers. We have more than three million open jobs. But they cannot find well enough educated employees for them. Employers have been complaining during the last ten years that our public high school graduates cannot communicate in English properly and cannot even do basic math. Boards of education set objectives. They do not work decade after decade. They cannot create a good operating plan with proper objectives to improve. The state cannot provide guidelines to school districts evidently, and they should. But the problem is much bigger than that. Neither elected school boards, nor state political leadership noticed a key error. Who educates/produces the students who will be graduating from high school? The schools do. Yet we do not have appropriate easy to understand monthly objectives, GPA-based, and operating plans within each and every school, who produce the results. This is a gigantic management oversight by the state's political leadership and its education department, as well as school districts if the others do not provide it. Our elected boards of education are not the only ones who could not solve this problem - and they should not be the ones. This is a huge mistake by governors, state education departments and by the congressional education committees in the states. No one recognizes yet that if you do not plan properly with the right objectives and operating plans, covering the areas that produce the results, YOU ARE ACTUALLY PLANNING TO FAIL. THIS HAS BEEN VERY OBVIOUS FOR DECADES. We have been doing a very poor job in education for many decades.

This is not a teacher problem. Some teachers are not suited for teaching. Many are great. School districts do not check that upon hiring a teacher. Too many teachers are discouraged by school district management, instead of being motivated by them. These are big management problems. Most are not interested in learning, like anyone demotivated, whereas in other fields/industries it is very common for employees wanting to learn more, even at their own expense. People who love their job do that. Too many students who could not produce good grades in their selected major in college, transferred to an education major because it was easier. On the other hand, in the high performing countries, they accept only the top performers from the master's level programs for education, with a major not in education but in the subject that they would be teaching. Thar makes a huge difference. There are excellent learning sources out there for our teachers, or students. For example the company we list as an example publishes the best lectures from the best professors in any high school or college subject, and could be an excellent source: The art of teaching best practices from a master educator. Or an excellent company that produced more than 40,000 outstanding tutorials in primary and secondary school subjects, the Khan Academy. Both of these examples had major impact on teachers as well as students.

"Next in importance to freedom and justice is public education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained."
James A. Garfield (1831 - 1881)

A child is born with a 100 billion neurons (special brain cells). Almost all neurons he/she will ever have in life, unless exposure to heavy metals, drugs, insufficient nutrition, cigarette smoke, lack of nourishment or genetic abnormalities prevent enough brain cells from developing during pregnancy, creating learning disabilities. The exposure of the child to abnormal family behavior, absence of a loving environment, alcohol, continuing exposure of what we mentioned during pregnancy, and drugs will also have a negative impact on the child's behavior and ability to normally develop for life. From birth, brain cell interconnections start developing at a high rate until age 6, and slower thereafter for life. This is how learning, coping with difficulties, behaviors and personalities develop, and this is why the high performing countries create excellent preschool programs to start educating children through games very early in life. We don't do that. We do not prepare children as well for elementary school and later high school as other countries. We want to graduate them as soon as possible, and we have cases where teachers are instructed to change student grades for the better. Our elementary school performance ends up very weak, with continuing weakness in reading and mathematics, making high school learning more difficult. This process of insufficient foundation produces the poorly prepared high school graduates, and it makes college and job performance more difficult as well. We must eliminate this handicap by providing excellent preparation for subsequent classes, and stop providing an incentive for instructing teachers to alter scores in order to get more children advancing into the next grade faster, for faster graduation. The state's focus on a 90% graduation rate, instead of focusing on a 5-10% ACT growth is creating this problem is not doing the state itself any favors. The graduation rate is not worth more than the ACT Readiness rate which is a function of the average ACT score achieved. Employers do not want children who are not educated well enough. They cannot use them.

WE ACHIEVE HIGHER GRADUATION RATES, 85-90% OF THOSE WHO ENTERED 9TH GRADE, BUT ONLY 20% of them are ready for job training, 80% will be ready only for minimum wage jobs, and virtually all will be replaced by robots in the low end jobs by 2020-2022. Why do this? The 12-13 year education costs us about $120,000-200,000 per child, and for that investment, we get someone unemployable who will need financial support until his life ends? It is interesting that our education did not recognize this problem and acted on correcting it in 46 years to date. One wonders why it was and why it is ignored: Example1, Example2.

Unfortunately, the lack of proper interest in our long declining public secondary education to date, and lack of action to increase ACT and SAT test scores significantly by now, presents a disturbing outlook. Lack of interest means that no change was introduced by Governors or legislators that raised ACT and SAT scores from the poor performance areas like today.

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them."
Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer & physicist (1564 - 1642)

There are too many tests. Some measure correctly (ACT, SAT, NAEP, and OECD-PISA internationally), and some show better grades for public consumption (the state tests), because they are easier. ACT checks its scores against what the tested high school student achieved a few years after graduation and adjusts its ACT Readiness benchmarks if needed. Their scores and Readiness percentages are accurate. Because the emphasis is on graduating as many children as possible instead of emphasis on academic achievement, we do have a problem with grades being changed for the better by teachers, principals and support for the same by their Central Management. This problem could be solved if the test is taken on a computer under a program that does not allow changing of grades without identification of the person who authorized the grade change (Examples).

We graduate close to 90% of those students who entered 9th grade in high school. Only 26% of our public high school graduates (and ONLY 5% of black students!) were "ACT ready" nationally in 2015 for training to go beyond a minimum wage job. The necessity to graduate more children is discussed at board meetings. Teachers have been mysteriously instructed from "above" to change grades so that some students who would fail, actually move on to graduate. The educational performance, the ACT results were and are terrible, because state set average ACT goal of only 21 (equals 24-27% ACT Readiness only). It should be an average ACT score of 25 or above (80% ACT readiness). In twelve years we never heard of any board meetings where increasing the ACT or SAT scores, and what we need to do to achieve that was discussed, and a plan was agreed upon to do so. Most of these poor students will be replaced by robots within a few years. As an example, in Knox County, Tennessee, the board members are paid $20,000 salary plus $5,000 for expenses and car allowance every year, but they never have time for discussing how to improve the terrible ACT scores. Their results are worse than the above results. The public is not informed about this fact. They just pay for the poor education with their hard-earned money in taxes. We were one of the top performers worldwide in 1970. What we see today, the poor performance, the lack of relevant knowledge and interest by elected board members, the state education department or governors to correct the poor academic performance by taking steps to increase what counts, the ACT scores, is revolting. Although we became the fifth highest spender in the world per student by 2015, we, the USA, dropped to 40th place in mathematics that our public schools delivered (2016 OECD PISA tests). Some states like Tennessee, our example, are worse than that.

All governors and many local elected boards and superintendents started programs that "will improve education" with additional spending of many millions of dollars, all state tests were made easier to qualify for federal funding (No Child Left Behind Act) and a big effort is made to date to identify learning disabled and children of poverty, because the school district can increase the federal cash they receive for such students. School districts also proposed programs that would permanently increase the school districts' budget annually under the law. No governor of either party stopped the aggressively growing education spending in 46 years or started increasing ACT or SAT scores, that went nowhere! The old education laws gave (and give today) all management decision-making to the elected school district boards in every state along with a guarantee for them to receive at least as much funding as they received in the prior year, regardless of performance. The old education laws that no longer work were not amended. There are approximately 14,500 school districts in the USA, all doing their own thing, but very few who do it well. The requirement to be elected to them is a high school diploma only. Central management is bloated compared to what is defined by two authorities and presented (below). What appears to be motivating school districts is to increase the money they can spend any way possible, then push the students through each grade qualified or not, so that they can graduate 90% - with readiness for job training or further education of only 27% of those who were given a diploma!! The remaining 73%, plus those who attended but did not graduate, plus those who dropped out will be replaced by robots before 2020. Obviously our school districts are interested in money (we became the 5th largest spender per student in the world), and are not interested in the knowledge they teach our children (that is why we just dropped to 40th place in the world). We did an excellent job developing FAILURE FACTORIES.

One of the latest programs to improve the education of our children is a free additional two-year college education program. Remember that children learn and pickup all kinds of behaviors and habits as they increase their brain capacity during pre-school and the following 12 years of education. Without correcting the elementary and high school education, many children finished with limited knowledge below what they should have for graduation, bad attitude, bad ideas like a feeling of entitlement, and they learned all that in their FORMATIVE years. Two years of additional education cannot correct the formative years' behavior problems and poor study habits, but it may provide almost enough remedial training to improve the odds for a job short-term. Since it would be a miracle to educate those children who did a poor job in high school, it will provide a limited benefit, but at a very high price. To get a full benefit, the money should go to fixing the pre-school, elementary and high school education itself, make it competitive with the best internationals, such that we get much better performance out of them, including a good attitude toward work. Then consider a remedial program for those who finished high school previously. Putting only a "bandaid" on mistakes after the fact is never a good and efficient solution. THE BIG QUESTION IS: WHY ARE WE NOT FIXING THE MANY FAILURE FACTORIES, CALLED PUBLIC SCHOOLS?

CHARTER SCHOOLS AND VOUCHERS. Charter Schools are also public schools. They are less restricted by state and federal laws than traditional public schools. However, many are forced into a working relationship with the low performing traditional public school districts. Any such connection should be avoided. Public schools have an elected board. Charter schools have an appointed board and that can be an advantage. The need for these measures arose because the public school performance was/is dismal and over several decades they were not corrected. Private schools produce an 85-99% ACT Readiness. Public schools produced a 0-50% ACT Readiness of those who graduated. Charter schools had very mixed results but improving during the past twenty years. Of the top three high schools in the nation, two are charter schools. Some but very few charter schools can perform better than most private schools (Success Academy Schools, New York City, 42 schools in 2017 for poor black inner city children with top one percent results!). Their teachers, and superintendents come from poorly performing public education, with teacher training that is less than what the top international school systems are doing (Master's in the subject they will teach, psychological tests to match them to the teaching position, more graduate level training on learning disability diagnoses and the latest about teaching methodologies - before they start teaching in a few high performing countries). The only thing that will remove the need for charter schools and vouchers, is public schools who exceed charter school performance and deliver 80% ACT Ready graduates instead of just 25-27%. What will remove public schools is the good charter schools, vouchers, home schooling that produce much better results on the ACT and SAT tests than the public schools do.

"There is a plot in this country to enslave every man, women and child.
Before I leave this high and noble office, I intend to expose this plot."

President John F. Kennedy
Seven days before he was assassinated.
What did he know?





LET'S DIGRESS TO EXPLAIN A FEW THINGS THAT ELECTED BOARDS NEED TO UNDERSTAND FOR SUCCESSFUL PERFORMANCE

PAY VERY CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT FOLLOWS. So far what we see is expenses skyrocketing yet the ACT and SAT education results, the only annual tests that reflect truthfully what children have learned, have not gone anywhere in 46 years, but our international competitors improved significantly as we are about to see below.

We all tend to think that we have expertise in areas in which we have neither education nor experience. Especially when the life of children is involved, we should be more careful in recognizing where our limits are. Whenever we work with larger groups, 100 people or more, a science is involved called management. It is unique in that when it comes to increasing numbers of employees, many things in management become more complex. To avoid any misunderstandings, it is extremely important to understand a few basic management terms that are often misunderstood by elected school district boards. Let's look at a few of those. But if you ignore your own children and grandchildren, and you failed to do anything about the poor school performance when you were on the school board, you will pay for it dearly. Look at the last 13 year's ACT readiness of the children we graduated. Those on school boards should think about that real hard.

If the public schools cannot improve dramatically, as they have not improved for decades with few exceptions, then why object to ANY TYPE OF SCHOOL that prepares our children better for work or college than the poorly performing public schools and do it at lower cost per student?


The state-set performance requirements for schools are too low. That is an average ACT score of 21, that produces upon graduation only 25% of those who earned a diploma minimally ready. The state does not have appropriate objectives and operating plans to reach a 21 ACT score, so they could not reach it now for more than a dozen years. When the objective is too low to motivate or wrong, one cannot stop the poor escalating performance. It is like chasing a big bolder downhill on a mountainside. Most such children would not be accepted by employers if they graduated. Those children who do not want to work or are a discipline problem, should attend different classes or handed back to the parents so that our teachers have a chance to produce better results. We must change being a baby sitting service, and create excellent ACT scores instead.

Why do we allow public schools to exist without closing them if more than 50% of their students with a high school diploma are not even prepared to be trained for a job?! WHY DO WE GIVE STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT READY A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA?

Why do we continue operating high schools at public expense for MORE THAN TEN YEARS if more than 90% of their graduates were not prepared for job training, AND WE ARE SPENDING TWO AND A HALF TIMES AS MUCH PER STUDENT ON THEM THAN IN THE BETTER PERFORMING HIGH SCHOOLS? IF THE INCREASED SPENDING MADE NO DIFFERENCE FOR TWELVE YEARS, IT IS A FACT THAT MONEY IS NOT GOING TO THE RIGHT PLACES AND/OR FOR THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THAT SCHOOL. HIRE A SUPERINTENDENT WHO CAN IMPROVE THEM SIGNIFICANTLY WITHOUT SPENDING MORE THAN DOUBLE PER STUDENT...OR CLOSE THEM.

Why do we make excuses for such poorly performing public schools instead of making changes to improve their results? If a superintendent cannot make such changes within a couple of years, one needs a different superintendent, instead of letting hundreds of children become not educated well enough to survive.

We hear objections against "corporate ideas" in education, but no one can explain what these are. It would be better if public schools and leadership worried more about their results and improved them.

Many different schools and programs offer higher ACT READINESS than most public schools. Why should not the public, who pay for public schools via taxes, be able to choose a different school such that their child will succeed instead of having to attend a poorly performing school? If you don't like such choices, do something to make sure that the public schools perform better. Why should anyone support schools that prepare our children so poorly that the great majority, as much as 95% of the students, are likely to become homeless? We pay more than twice for more than a decade per student in the poorly performing schools without any improvement, than what the good schools spend per student. Is that good management of the people's money? If something does not work for two years, the money is not being spent in the right places, or the goals, objectives and operating plans are absent or wrong. If it does not work after two changes, then you have the wrong superintendent.



ROBOTICS TO THE RESCUE OF EMPLOYERS WHO CANNOT FIND WELL ENOUGH EDUCATED WORK FORCE WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.

A new generation of robotics will replace not just those who are not ACT Ready, but more. Please look at some examples below. The poor education-created knowledge-drop of our children and a new family of robotics is already creating a major social problem. Many of our companies complained to governors about the poor education of our children, and having to move if they are to survive where the workforce is better educated. The ACT scores did not improve indicating no change. It is more important than ever for our children to attend schools with a high percentage of ACT Readiness among its graduates. All new technology-based products experience some delays/changes with initial use, generally not more than two years. That includes robots as well. Any such delay will not make any significant change in the 40-45 year working life of today's graduates.
Reference1: What are robots, will they take our jobs.
Reference2: Middle class workers are losing their jobs to robots
Reference3: Anesthesia robots deliver sedation in some medical procedures
Reference4: McDonalds replacing employees with robots
Reference5: Robots threaten jobs
Reference6: Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years
Reference7: Computers making decisions in robotics
Reference8: Robots replace 5 million human jobs
Reference9: Science Daily
Reference10: BBC: Robotics
Reference11: Many examples of artificial intelligence today at the heart of robotics
Reference12: How a brick laying robot builds a house
Reference13: Example of pizza making via robots is advancing
Reference14: Robots replacing construction workers
Reference15: hotel staffed with robots,
Reference16: Shenzhen China, FOXCONN, a million workers replaced. China and Japan have much better education results than we do. Their objective is clearly to provide the best quality services or products at the lowest cost in a competitive market without falling behind in either quality performance or cost.
Reference17: The effect of robotic and software automation on jobs.
Reference18: Supermarket automation with robots and only three workers,
Reference19: How do robots plan and make decisions
Reference20: Robotic nurses making decisions
Reference21: Dr. Kurtzweil previously forecasted this event for 2045-2050. His current forecast indicates an incredible acceleration in the development of robotics and biological computing. That in turn means an incredibly high number of high level new jobs with high pay requiring a high level of education.



USA TEACHER TRAINING HAS FALLEN BEHIND OUR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITORS IN BOTH SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE AND TEACHING METHODOLOGY

School results are limited by the subject knowledge of teachers and their ability to motivate the students. Student scores are the results of our teachers' work. US teachers are handicapped somewhat by the largest number of classroom hours in the world, too much testing in especially Knox County, Tennessee beyond what the state requires and too much paperwork that could be automated. Their union is not helpful to resolve such problems. There are many excellent teachers and some who would be happier in a different position. Quite a few college students changed to teaching in college because it was an easier study. However, teachers need to understand that they, as a group are not as well prepared as the best in the world. That is why we have dropped to 40th in the world. The superintendent stopped supporting teacher efforts to get a Master's degree: a big mistake. Teacher subject knowledge and teaching methodology needs updating to the top ten internationals' level. They require a Master's degree in the single subject that they will teach, they must be a good match psychologically to the teaching profession, and have to come from the top ten percent of their Master's class. American teachers qualify with a Bachelor's degree in education at most that covers several subjects. Some obtain a Master's degree and a few even a PhD in Education.
Reference1: Why American students do poorly
Reference2: Research suggests poor quality of teacher training programs in US compared to other countries,
Reference3: Why students do better overseas,
Reference4: US science teachers are behind in training degree requirements.
Reference5: The impact of school leadership on student achievement,
Reference6: US teacher training is not good enough
Reference7: Why we must fire bad teachers
Reference8: What is great teaching,
Reference9: A collection of more.

Teachers need to improve, but they have legitimate problems as well that must be solved with a sense of urgency. That makes the education system and its management responsible for poor performance, more than the teachers, but they are contributing as well.

Principals who turned around poorly performing schools

For the last 46 years, as the CATO study showed, our primary and secondary education deteriorated. The school districts kept delivering good news to the public, as one by one 39 countries went past us as we dropped to 40 place, the bottom of the international countries. During all that time we just kept spending more money per student and today we are the fifth highest spender per student, delivering poor results. That means that we became accustomed to the poor performance and we do not even see that when the result of such poor performance is loss of competitiveness with barely breaking even as a nation in national income for the past ten years. So we turned to debt and set an enormous record by driving our national debt to $20 trillion dollars.

It is not enough just to turn around and start increasing the ACT scores. That is a turnaround, but it is not enough. We must become more competitive, and start rising again in the national rankings. Today, our education is so bad that 74% of our high school graduates will not be able to exist financially and cannot compete with robots and more and more countries as a result.

For several decades now, our strategy became one where we simply throw more money at a problem - and the problem does not get solved. We have been pouring more and more money into low performing schools, two and a half times as much per student as the better performing students get. And for decades, such extra spending did not create a change for the better. Why? Because we did not change the way we actually run our schools, teacher subject knowledge and teaching methodology and the way we handle student behavior that interferes with teaching and learning.

It is good to see that some principals managed to turn around their schools. We should be able to learn a few good lessons from them. But we as a nation must do better and get back among the top ten nations in high school math, where we used to be four decades ago.

References: A list of schools that were turned around, and how their principals did it.


HOW DO WE COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND THEREFORE WORKFORCE QUALITY?

The knowledge of high school graduates depends significantly on the standards a country sets. Many of the foreign countries teach more under the same subject heading than we do. A parent told us that their two boys went to two different high schools in Knox County. They took the same courses, but in one school they covered much more material in the same course than in the other school. Their teachers' subject knowledge, teaching skill and ability to motivate students from preschool to high school graduation. We, the US, dropped to 40th place internationally in mathematics, so ours needs to improve significantly. The quality of our workforce depends to a great extent on the quality AND quantity of K-12 education. The quality and competitiveness of our products and services depend on the quality of our workforce in all of our industries. Our national income depends on the quality and competitiveness of our products and services in a domestic and international market place. Our national income depends to a great extent on the quality, education, and subject knowledge of teachers, and their ability to communicate with and motivate students. Isn't it obvious that we should be comparing our high school output to the best performing countries in the world and the way we teach and manage education to the best international competitors? Instead we always compare against our own poor 40th performance in the world. Our fourteen thousand different elected school boards set objectives that cannot be measured, but no problem! They do their own performance reviews. No wonder that the results are so poor, as we are graduating more and more students each year Isn't it a necessity to be competitive worldwide today with our high school results, since our industries compete with the best worldwide? Why don't we visit the high performing internationals to find out how they achieve excellent results but we do not? Why don't we learn from them and then make some changes? Read about one of the best, Finland's education system.


"When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bustling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
Dale Carnegie


Technology like video conferencing, the Internet, airplanes made almost every country easily reachable in the last few decades. The world has become "smaller". Anyone can sell in any country products or services that can meet local requirements, and we compete against products or services from other countries here in the US. A worldwide competitive product or service must ensure that it has a well-trained workforce that is better than its competitors worldwide. The competence of the workforce depends on how well educated they were coming out of high school and how much they improved after that in additional schooling and years of experience. We were on top in 1970, but in mathematics we dropped to 40th by 2015 internationally of 15-year-olds of 73 countries (OECD PISA). According to the 2014 World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report on 149 nations, the USA is:
  • 41st in Quality of Primary Education, and
  • 66th in Primary Education Enrollment Rate. We do not educate all of our children as some claim, but a list of countries do.
  • 49th in the Quality of Math and Science Education,
  • 49th in Secondary Education Enrollment Rate,
  • 18th with Internet Access in Schools,
  • 12th in Extent of Staff Training (teachers),
  • 9th in the world in grade 4 mathematics (but becoming 40th by the end of high school!), (TIMSS - Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study given every four years),
  • 12th in grade 8 (TIMSS) math of 49 nations and
  • The fifth highest spender per student in 2013 of 65 nations.

These are the latest figures as of 2016. The big challenge for the USA is high school performance where we are 40th (OECD PISA) of 73 countries or 49th of 149 countries (World Economic Forum) in the world. WHY IS IT THAT WE DID NOT TAKE ACTION TO CORRECT OUR SHORTCOMINGS IN EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN DURING THE PAST 46 YEARS SUCH THAT THE ACT AND SAT SCORES CONFIRMED SUCH ACTION'S EFFECTIVENESS?



Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan methodologies may not be culturally transferable to the USA, because the high achievement is the result of parental pressure, e.g., homework until midnight, and getting on the train to school by 6 AM. In addition, Shanghai tests and admits only the highest performing students into its public schools.



The graph below provides an international view of expenses per student per country. The US is one of the highest spenders, but unfortunately, our performance is poor. THAT MEANS THAT THE MONEY IS NOT SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES.



"People do what you inspect, not what you expect.
Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Chairman, IBM


This quotation is about a very important practice, yet ignored by school board members and many companies. Delegation of responsibilities does not mean that we can turn our back on it by trusting the individual to whom we delegated. "Trust but verify." - said President Ronald Reagan. Many elected board of education members, nationwide, don't know what ACT or SAT scores mean, and they believe what the superintendent says without knowing if it is fact or not. They certainly could not "inspect" how a school district is doing on a monthly basis, since there are no monthly measurable academic objectives in our schools. In some countries like Finland, teachers are more educated, the teaching methodology is different than in the US, and a teacher knows exactly how each of his/her student is doing DAILY as accurately as with a test. If a student is slow, extra help is provided immediately. Therefore no testing is required. Our education board members could inspect the ACT (or SAT) scores annually and insist on them improving, but most do not even do that.


ACT tests 64% of our children nationally as of 2016. Their 2016 results show that 74% of high school graduates nationally are not prepared for higher level education and future training for employment - they are not ACT READY. In Tennessee the ACT scores increased slightly, because the state allowed students to retake the ACT a second time. Making it even worse, many of them have bad work attitude, a feeling of entitlement regardless of how well or poorly they do their job, no ambition, in addition to poor English communication and science knowledge and don't even know basic math.

It is not enough to demand jobs, if people during their young days are not willing to work hard in our schools and learn what employers need. Just look at the very poor ACT results of Tennessee and its Knox County below.

One cannot ignore the impact of robotic automation from 2016 on ACT Readiness. Robots will increase the qualifications needed for the jobs that remain, hence the importance of much more science and mathematics knowledge and higher student achievement that will be needed from those graduating from high school. This will become necessary to remain trainable for frequent job changes to higher level vocations, because the lower level jobs will be replaced by automation.

If you are not certain about what ACT readiness means, please click on the following and read it: Explanation of ACT scores and ACT Readiness



Take a good look at the above chart results if you were an elected board member at the time in this school district. The NOT ACT Ready percentage of diplomas indicate how many students of those who graduated WILL NOT be prepared for the first year only of a tech/vocational school or college and pursue any science or engineering related course. What we have is a very high failure rate that we call "NOT ACT Ready" based on those students who already earned a diploma and graduated high school. There is another version of NOT ACT Ready, that is based on all those who entered high school in grade nine. Increasing the ACT scores to improve the poor results is the most important task of an education board in our opinion, yet this problem is not discussed and a plan of action is not created at education board meetings to do so. Approving spending bills is a large part of every board meeting. Do you really think that these were good results? The superintendent worked for you, the board. You gave yourselves, the board, and the superintendent good performance reviews for these results every year. About 80% of the graduating children, including 98% of black children, are and will be having a terrible life because you did nothing to ensure better results as board members. A school-chain called Success Academy Schools in NYC is achieving top one percent results with poor, inner city black children, passing even most private schools in New York State. New York State is the 5th best performing state in the US. As a board member in Knox County, Tennessee, you are paid $20,000 annually, plus another $5,000 to cover expenses and a car allowance in Knox County, Tennessee. Yet board members cannot afford to go and visit Success Academy Schools in NYC to find out how they are achieving those high results with poor, inner city black children when black children in Tennessee achieve only a 2% acceptable result? Something is very wrong here with public education. Such inaction about educational performance is building a powder keg that will blow sky high. The low national income cannot support the amount of social services in welfare that our very high percentage of those not ACT ready (74% nationally plus dropouts) put on the street with the help of robotics that replace them.

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


The chart above shows the Knox County, Tennessee school district's annual results and ACT readiness. Look at the high percentage of high school graduates who are "Not ACT Ready". These are terrible results for the county, but the state is even worse! Yet no one does anything about it. The school board gave itself and the superintendent excellent performance reviews every year based on these results. Yes, they all set their own objectives and then performance reviewed themselves every year. See ACT scores and readiness explained. Those not ACT Ready are trainable only for close to minimum wage jobs that will not last long. Unfortunately such jobs are beginning to be replaced by robotics in 2016 and virtually all will be replaced by 2020. Please read this area about robotics. Robotics will make success increasingly more difficult for ACT Ready high school graduates to succeed and impossible for those not ACT Ready. The only path to reasonable success between now and 2020 is to have students take two more science and math courses beyond the core curriculum, initiate an excellent preschool program for all, and strengthen primary school performance without rewarding earlier graduates.

The chart below shows the poor ACT readiness within each high school in the same school district. The best high school has only average readiness, and the worst has not a single student ACT Ready! IS THIS THE RESULT WE WANT FOR OUR CHILDREN?! This is shocking. It is rather obvious that measurable academic objectives do not exist for this school district and for any of its high schools. It is impossible to deliver good results without such objectives and school level operating plans in the hands of school management when one is dealing with poor performance like school districts within the entire state of Tennessee and in other states.

In the graph to the left, we show a poor three-year average ACT score history and ACT Readiness of each high school in Knox County, Tennessee. We spend more than twice the amount of money for each student in the two poorly performing high schools - for more than a decade now. Why don't we spend only one percent of that money we spend in one high school, go up to New York, visit the Success Academy Schools, because they are achieving top one percent results with poor black inner city children, beating even most private schools, in the entire state of New York. Some teachers do not like this school. They have excellent benefits, good salaries, but they have to work long hours, generally 8 AM to 6 PM. WELL, WHO SHOULD DECIDE IF WE SHOULD IMPROVE OR NOT AS THIS SCHOOL DID? NOT PARENTS BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT INFORMED OF THE REAL SITUATION WE FACE. SCHOOL DISTRICT MANAGEMENT MUST DECIDE. WHY DO WE EVEN ASK SUCH A QUESTION WHEN WE ARE DOING SO POORLY? UNFORTUNATELY, SIMILAR HIGH RESULTS FOR WORKING LESS HARD IN POORLY PERFORMING STATES LIKE TENNESSEE, KENTUCKY AND SO ON, IS NOT POSSIBLE. ANYWHERE.

The graph below shows a twelve-year annual average of each high school also in Knox County, Tennessee with performance going nowhere but down. It is rather obvious that neither the state of Tennessee, nor this school district had any effective management controls, the right objectives and operating plans in place ever. Consider that the worst performing high schools spend more than twice as much money per student as the higher performing ones FOR TWELVE YEARS OR MORE, WITHOUT ANY IMPROVEMENT. They just keep delivering lower ACT results year after year. What is the major contributor to this failure? The wrong or no academic objective, and 90% graduation rate. When you push children through high school when some may require a year or two more, you miss the important thing - their education. The result: lack of A HIGH ENOUGH ACT SCORE OBJECTIVE leads to poor employment for life. We spend more money per student in Knox County, Tennessee than the great majority of the top twenty countries in education, whose cost of living is higher. The poor results indicate that our money is not being spent on the right people and programs.


Our "ACT Readiness" is only 24-27% of those students who graduated with a diploma. What is the logic behind graduating 76% of the students who are NOT ACT Ready and therefore will not have a chance for any job in a few years? IS THIS ACCEPTABLE? We do a poor job in education with one of the highest expenses per student in the world. That means that a large portion of the education money is not spent in the right places and on the right, well-trained people. Who are we helping with such an outrageous long-failing system for many decades? Not our children, not their teachers, not the quality of our workforce and therefore not our economy or country.



With the years passing, most job requirements and related education increased as robotics and software automation replaced lower level jobs, and as new technologies created new jobs. ACT changes one or more of the four benchmark target scores to define ACT Readiness accordingly. Such a trend will continue in the future, but faster. According to ACT, in Tennessee 83% of the graduating students (98% of black graduates), plus those who did not graduate, plus dropouts are not prepared to be trained for a job as of 2015. Nationally, 94% of black children (74% of all children) who earned a high school diploma, plus about 10% who attended but did not graduate, plus dropouts, were not prepared for anything other than close to minimum wage low skill jobs, and have no chance to finish even the first year of any tech/vocation training or college. ARE THESE ACCEPTABLE RESULTS? ONE WONDERS IF STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENTS AND ELECTED SCHOOL BOARDS UNDERSTAND THE HUGE PROBLEM THEY ARE CREATING BY NOT ACTING ON IT. Some people blame this on parents and poverty. But a 42 school system in New York City called Success Academy Schools takes ONLY poor, inner city black and Hispanic children. They scored TOP ONE PERCENT in the NY State Common Core Tests, PASSING EVEN MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS! They have a waiting list of more than 19,000 families! There are no inner city areas that are more difficult than Harlem in New York, where this school system started in 2006. The responsible people for the poor performance are the governors, the education subcommittees in legislature, the state boards of education, the departments of education and the elected district school boards. A very large percentage of our children will be replaced shortly by robots as a result of our poor public education, and because we did not fix our poor education a long time ago. We are not developing the great majority of children in our public schools (very few exceptions) for the future that they will face. We are creating soft, undisciplined and poorly educated children to face a tough world after high school. We are developing a huge powder keg that is about ready to blow up on us.


The above example is Tennessee's and its Knox County's performance. Look at the high percentage of high school graduates who are not prepared for more than minimum wage jobs. Add to them 10-15% of those who entered high school who did stay in school but did not graduate, and add about 5-7% dropouts. All of these children will be replaced by robots. These results are very bad, yet we, tax payers have to pay for these students as well. Our employers know this. Our politicians do nothing about raising the ACT scores. Our public school districts lie to the public about their own performance. The employers know that unless the education results become much better quickly in high schools, their only option to survive here is with robots, because American public education is not correcting the declining quality of education. Forget asking for more jobs. It is a good education that creates good jobs. We do not seem to care enough to improve our poor public education system. We need to improve with much higher results to produce graduates who meet employer and higher education needs with qualified graduates. That means 80% ACT readiness of a graduating class, and not just 24% or less. Spend more money on education? We don't think so. We have become the 5th highest spender per student, but internationally the quality of our graduates dropped to 40th place.

In 2015 we had more than three million jobs we could not fill because our companies could not find well-educated potential candidates (Click here for report). Our schools need to understand that they are preparing a "product" called a student, who are required by the "customers" called employers and/or universities for further learning, to supply what employers need. The ACT is a test used by 59% of graduating high school students to show how well they are prepared for employment or further education. The poor ACT results indicate that no one in political leadership either cares or understands this fact and are doing nothing about it. It is totally unacceptable to spend $120,000 of the people's money MINIMUM per student for twelve years of education, 74% of whom are not ACT ready nationally to be trained for a job. With robotics coming now to replace fast food and higher level jobs, the 74% unreadiness of high school graduates will rise. (Click here for report).

Product and service competitiveness depend on the workforce's education. At the upper end PhDs design and make the products...and they all depend on the quality of high school graduates they produce as a nation. With only 26% of the graduating high school students being ACT READY in the USA, we have been doing a very poor job having our children educated for many years, and Nanotechnology will have an additional major impact by 2020, requiring more education, impacting the great majority of jobs.

Our children's education declined, but robotic artificial intelligence (AI) passed average human intelligence in 2015 and their cost dropped below minimum wage. Fast food companies plan to automate every store fully. For example, McDonalds plans to replace 25,000 stores before end of 2017 or about 500,000 jobs. However, we are beginning to see robots that replace people with a graduate degree, e.g. new fighter plane pilots, nurse anesthetists and even anesthesiologists.


We cannot expect teachers to do their best if they do not have full authority to deal with student discipline problems decisively on their own, and if they are loaded down with paperwork, too much testing to reduce their preparation and teaching time. Performance evaluations cannot be done 3-4 times a year without such evaluations being student results-based. After all the purpose of the teachers' and the schools' existence is to provide excellent internationally competitive education for our children. THAT IS NOT THE CASE TODAY. JUST LOOK AT OUR ACT OR SAT RESULTS.




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


It would be reasonable to expect that all 3.5 million children who graduated nationally from public high school with a regular diploma, would be (ACT) Ready for job training or further education. Unfortunately, 74% or 2.59 million of our graduating children are not ready each year, and we wasted more than 31 billion dollars per year covering their TWELVE YEARS SPENDING $372,000,000,000 to graduate children who are not ready (there is no adjustment to constant dollars because the twelve years of education could shift back or forward. These are very low conservative assumptions and the real cost will be higher). They will have minimum wage jobs for a couple of years and then...NOTHING. Robots will replace them. There are very few public high schools nationally who are exceptions. The public should be aware that private high school graduates have 85-99% readiness. But they cost $8,000-15,000 per year. Since the public pays for the poorly performing public schools, the public would deserve a voucher or tax credit in the entire amount of the public school average expense/year/student, if a parent wishes to have his/her child educated in a private school instead. We feel that we, the public deserve a good enough education for our children, that supports minimally a family of four, and improves each each year to make it possible for our children to qualify for the better jobs that new technologies will create. What the public does not deserve is for 2.59 million of its children nationwide to be sentenced to failure factories for schools EVERY SINGLE YEAR for whom we paid $130,000 constant dollars per child or $336.7 BILLION DOLLARS of the people's hard-earned tax dollars, and be ruined for life by the poor quality of public education.
A third of a TRILLION dollars is an enormous amount of money that is wasted preparing children poorly, compared to many other nations. They cannot communicate properly and cannot even do basic math. We are one of the highest spenders per student in the world, and dropped to 40th in the world in performance. Just look at the numbers we are presenting. They are the government's numbers. How many decades do we need to wait and accept such a poor job that we, the public are paying for? We cannot afford to wait. We wasted a lot of money for more than four decades on these failure factories we call schools. We could change for the better. We need changes urgently.

There is a new development that most of the public does not know as of 2016. A new class of robots are starting to replace many low-end jobs in 2016, some of which require a college degree, not just a high school diploma. How do you think those 2.59 million children will survive, who are not prepared well enough each year?

We have been competing worldwide for decades. Our education management, teaching methodology is about 100 years old. Others improved, especially after WWII. We dropped to 40th in high school math in the world in 2016 because we did not improve teacher preparation, the way we teach and manage school districts and schools, as many other countries did and passed us. If we want to learn about how to become better, look at how the best in the world are achieving their fabulous results, like Singapore and Finland. Study how they do everything in education and adopt their methods. Their methods are transferable to US culture. Then you will have an excellent chance for improvement in student results.

We are enclosing here a comprehensive document from Finland, one of the best systems in education in the world. Try to read every page of every link in it. This is how the best countries in education plan and conduct the education of its citizens. Click here to read it.



AS TIME PASSES, THE WORLD IS GETTING "SMALLER", AND MORE INTEGRATED, MORE FAMILIAR WITH EACH OTHER'S CULTURE

We are moving toward faster technological changes, they bring with them faster job changes. Jobs replaced by automation at the low end, and many new jobs open - but they require more education. That means that the fundamental education children get in primary and secondary school needs to create a stronger much better foundation of knowledge than it has created to date. We need to teach at least as much as in the honors courses to all, not just in science and math with an expanded curriculum, but also with music and art to develop both hemispheres of the child's brain. This is important for good decision making and creative thinking. We are talking about it, but we are not doing it.

We compete worldwide but we compare ourselves only to US results and US ideas. Our high school graduates dropped to 40th in math in the world. Dropping to 40th in math when you are the fifth highest spender in the world per student, raises serious questions about how we spend our tax dollars to deliver such a poor result. What percentage of public school students who take the ACT in the US are ACT Ready upon graduation? ONLY 26%. What percentage should be ACT Ready? AT LEAST 80%, but preferably all students who graduate with a diploma should be ACT Ready. Since our high schools feed the workforce-needs of all industries, the poor high school output is destroying us from within.



"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."
Albert Einstein


SOME THINGS HAVE TO MAKE MUCH BETTER SENSE IN OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS. WHY DON'T WE ELIMINATE THINGS THAT DAMAGE US? DO MORE WHAT HELPS US INSTEAD.


When a school district picks low expectation objectives like a 21 ACT score, THAT IS MORE THAN 10 YEARS AWAY, you have a board and superintendent who have no idea how to set the right objectives in each school, how to organize an operating plan to achieve that objective to achieve better results. Why are our education standards so low that we cannot produce 80% minimum ACT Readiness instead of 26% among our high school graduates? Look at Finland whose methods overcome even most learning disabilities.


BLOATED CENTRAL MANAGEMENT - A BIG PROBLEM


This is a huge problem-creator in large business organizations. The same in large education districts, but it goes unrecognized. There are many smart and well paid employees in Central Management. They notice when their job is not needed, and embark on activities to justify their survival. The easiest for them is to go fault finding all over the organization. If top management is not management experienced, which is common in education districts, such excess employees create a multitude of internal problems politically. There are specific organizational operating ratios that define the maximum size of central management. They exist in education management as well, and we present those standards here as well. One source is the American Association of School Administrators. The other is the the result of a research project under Dr. Allan Ornstein, dean of the Graduate School Of Education at St. John's University, an excellent private university in New York City. Both are presented below. Dr. Ornstein wrote more than 50 books on education management exclusively, and published more than 2,000 research papers on the subject.

Keep central management small (less than 1% of total school district employees), and delegate as much decision making to the individual school principals as possible to increase the ACT results. There are two formal references for this. One is the American Association of School Administrators, read it here: "Consider the actual staffing pattern in public schools. U.S. Department of Education data show that total central-office administrative and professional staff represent less than 1 percent of the total staff of public school districts. Principals and assistant principals add only another 2.4 percent to this figure, according to data published by the National Center for Education Statistics". Decades of history shows that our bloated central management did not achieve any improvement in the poor results. It would make good sense to transfer the excess millions of dollars spent in central management to improve education in the schools, as soon as possible.

The other authority about the size of Central Administration is Dr. Allan C. Ornstein's Research on Education Management below.



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

All Central Management employees, meaning all school district employees who do not work for a school and whose performance evaluation is not performed by a school principal or the principal's staff, should not exceed 1% (one percent) of the school district's total employees. The Knox County, Tennessee school district exceeds this limit by more than eight times! Such an increase represents many millions of dollars that could be producing better results in the classrooms.





These references are based on USA averages. It should be remembered that the USA dropped to 40th place in the world in 2015, and that makes us significantly less efficient than the top 10 nations in education. They are managing with much smaller central management, than what is recommended by the American Association of School Administrators.

Between 1995 and 2014 Knox County, Tennessee students increased only 14% but administrators increased 130%. The spending would have been more appropriate in the classrooms. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Administrators hire people to work for them. The real increase ends up 650-900% if they hire 4-6 people per administrator for only a 14% increase in students. However, with this huge increase in management, the ACT results dropped like a stone setting an all time low record in 2013 with a score of 20.2! ACT Readiness reports indicate that as a result more than 80% (statewide 89%, nationally 76%!) of those students who enter 9th grade are ready only for minimum wage employment, the types of jobs that will disappear. It is common knowledge in management that if you increase management numbers beyond standard operating ratios, managers (administrators) will start justifying their management positions by actually creating problems generally through fault finding, interference with other areas, playing politics because real objectives do not exist. Such efforts hurt results.

This huge percentage of management increase was not reversed to this day, and it did absolutely nothing but cost a lot of money! So...money is being shifted away from the classroom producing poorly prepared children in large numbers. Management overhead was increased purposefully, but the results dropped like a stone. I am sorry, but the wisdom with which the public's money and these decisions appear to be handled by boards and superintendents is mind boggling. No one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up and reverse such foolish spending.


THERE ARE MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CENTRAL MANAGEMENT THAT ARE NOT APPLIED TO INCREASE THE LOW ACT SCORES. SUCH RESOURCES CAN BE CONVERTED FOR USE WHERE THE RESULTS ARE COMING FROM: THE SCHOOLS. SAME IN CASE OF A SCHOOL THAT DELIVERS VERY POOR PERFORMANCE FOR DECADES, WITH LESS THAN 10% OF ITS GRADUATES BEING READY FOR JOB TRAINING EVERY YEAR, WHEN ONE IS SPENDING MORE THAN DOUBLE PER STUDENT. WE CANNOT KEEP WASTING THE MONEY FOR DECADES IF ITS PRINCIPAL AND ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS CANNOT FIGURE OUT HOW TO INCREASE PERFORMANCE WITHIN TWO-THREE YEARS. DOESN'T THAT TELL US THAT MANAGEMENT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM? DOESN'T THAT TELL US THAT MANAGEMENT HAS NO IDEA HOW TO MOTIVATE THE STUDENTS AND THE TEACHERS? SUCH MANAGEMENT ALWAYS FEELS THAT MONEY IS THE SOLUTION - AND IT IS NOT THE SOLUTION.


THE CHALLENGES

We are using Tennessee as an example with more details. The problem with US public education is the same everywhere, for the same reasons, slightly better in most states and slightly worse in a few other states.

"Learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn."
Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Father of 21st Century Management By Objectives


ACT (or SAT depending on the state) IS THE BEST INDICATOR OF THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR CHILDREN'S PUBLIC EDUCATION



Look at the above graph. In 2006, ACT indicated that their empirical research (comparing ACT scores to jobs or additional education the student was able to obtain some years after taking the ACT) shows that college entrance and workforce training have the same requirement in English and math from 2006 onward. That has changed over the years, because ACT started using a four-subject benchmark test for READINESS, plus university degrees in engineering and science require a higher ACT score in mathematics than the ACT Readiness benchmark in mathematics. ACT defined the additional benchmarks for and definition of "Career (job) and College Readiness", that indicates what CHANCE (not a guarantee) the ACT READY child has to finish the first year only of a college or tech/vocational school. Those who are NOT ACT READY (and DO NOT meet all four subject benchmarks) do not have a chance to finish the first year of any tech/vocational or college program and will have spotty minimum wage employment for a limited time. Robotics will replace them. Passing only one benchmark means that the student does have a chance only to finish the college freshman version of the same subject only as the benchmark that the student passed. However, in addition, the robotic technologies that many US companies have already contracted by 2016 will replace them rapidly.


Some of the new robotic applications are replacing jobs FOR THE FIRST TIME that require more than a college degree (anesthesia robots, already installed in some hospitals, however some robots that are involved in healthcare will have slower growth because of public acceptance). We will see more of such applications within a year. Artificial intelligence passed average human levels in 2015 and it is growing faster. Under these circumstances, those who graduate from high school even ACT Ready, will not be employable within a couple of years at most, unless we increase both the high school curriculum and increase the material within each course of the curriculum significantly, and increase the teachers' subject knowledge to Master's level and improve teaching methodologies, to the same level where the top performing international education systems are.

With the above poor results - just think about this for a moment: we have poor ACT performance leaving most children behind.

  1. Investigating how the best school systems achieve their results worldwide is NEVER discussed in board meetings to improve what we do.
  2. School board members never take ANY TIME at school board meetings to discuss and plan how we could improve our poor ACT scores.


Do you think they are interested in doing better? The evidence is not encouraging.



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


THE PUBLIC PAYS THE HIGH INCREASING PUBLIC EDUCATION COST. THEY DESERVE THE TRUTH AND BETTER SCHOOLS WITH A MUCH HIGHER ACT READINESS.

One cannot solve a problem long by covering it up, or by "packaging" it in good news for those who are paying for it, the public. Unless...those in charge don't want to or don't know how to solve it.

"A half-truth is a whole lie" is a popular proverb that has been directed at newspapers and politicians since the 1880s. However, the majority in public education management beat them all. For example in the Knox County School District, Tennessee, 76% of those who graduated with a diploma in 2015 are prepared only for a close to minimum wage job. They will not even have a chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college per ACT. A new generation of robotics will replace them in a few years.

At the same time the superintendent published everywhere, including on his letterhead, that we provide "Excellence for all children" and knowingly and purposefully told the public that "We are doing well, a strong B performance, but we have room to improve". It was a lie about actual school performance. Tennessee did celebrate the highest growth in the USA in 4th and 8th grade NAEP test scores one year...but we were still below the USA average, which we did not mention. Nor did we mention the fact that Knox County did not even take the test, yet some people and foundations partnering with this school district used it as if they did and this was a county achievement. We as a country should also consider that we dropped very significantly from other nations to 40th place in mathematics. In 2013, the same school district set an all time low average ACT score record at 20.2. The ACT is the most important test. It shows what our children learned from grade one to twelve. No one said a word to anyone about the all time low ACT score in 2013. The bad news and the complete truth was and is ignored. Anything that sounds good is published by the school district communications group. What the public gets is a lie, when all this poor education and the lies about their results are created with the public's hard-earned tax dollars within the education budget.

TCAP state test results for Tennessee show approximately double the score of the national ACT or NAEP tests, because they are much easier tests. The TCAP's rigor or toughness was 58% lower than the ACT. In other words, the much easier state test shows much higher grades, putting into good light performance that is a disastrous failure. As a result, we hurt a very large percentage of graduating children who are not ready for a meaningful job or for more education without two years of full time remedial courses.

Praising and calling a superintendent a Miracle Maker with our TCAP results is not a true representation of the actual results for which the public is paying with their hard-earned tax dollars. Frankly, one would reasonably expect a more truthful representation made to the public in an article like the one below, by any journalist or especially an editor or publisher of any newspaper. The ideals and standards of journalists have changed unfortunately.

All the above shows a planned, willful and purposeful misrepresentation of the truth, to create an impression that the school district is doing well, when, in fact, it is doing very poorly according to ACT's impartial college readiness figures. The misrepresentation starts with the Boards and superintendents of school districts who are not telling the entire truth. The public is paying for it. The public is misinformed PURPOSEFULLY with partial truth using the easy tests that provide higher grades. Tennessee is changing those tests in 2016-2017.

 

THE SHOCKING COST OF ONE CAREER AND COLLEGE READY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE'S EDUCATION WITH A REGULAR DIPLOMA


One will not survive at minimum wage. With robotics taking the low paying jobs, those not ACT Ready cannot survive. If 80% of graduates are not ACT Ready, then eight out of ten high school graduates will not make it under robotic pressure in the job market. But we will be paying for the education of all ten in our example. Therefore the expense of developing one ACT Ready graduate will actually cost five times as much as one graduate. The average per student cost in Tennessee is above $10,000 per year including capital and interest expenses. We will assume $10,000 for easy calculation. For twelve years the cost of educating one student is $120,000. Remember that we pay for all students. Those students who do not test ACT Ready, will be short term minimum wage material. Therefore the cost of 12 years of education for those who leave high school who are not ACT Ready, becomes part of the cost of all those students' education who ARE ACT ready. to be trained for a job or go on to college. We spent $10,000 per student in 2016 in Knox County, Tennessee that included almost all education-related expenses. These expenses are rising every year. This is the public's money - our tax dollars. Under these conditions, the 12-13 year MINIMUM cost of one career (job) or college ready high school graduate, with a regular high school diploma is sky high, because we also pay for those students who dropped out and those who did earn a regular diploma, who are not career or college ready according to ACT. THAT makes the cost of one ACT Ready student in specific demographic areas as high as presented hereunder, because of the ACT Readiness percentage in a specific demographic area is so low. We did not consider inflation adjustment on these dollars because the twelve year education could be spreading to the past (less $) or future (more $) in different degrees, and the future ACT Readiness may vary up or down.



One ACT Ready Black Student: $3,960,000
One ACT Ready Hispanic Student: $1,200,000
One ACT Ready Average Student: $600,000
If All Students Were Ready Like In The Top Ten Nations In Education
One ACT Ready Student would cost: $120,000 - $140,000



...because we also have to pay for the many students who are not prepared and ready in the same demographic group.

If 75-98% of those students who earned a regular diploma (plus dropouts, and those who "finished" high school but did not earn a diploma) are not ready to be trained for a job, then our diplomas are worthless - and they are. So why push a 90% graduation rate? That means very low income for the majority of those entering our high schools with increasing unemployment and a huge negative impact upon our economy for lack of a well-trained workforce.

Recommendation: Do not push children to graduate 90% of them, when 76% of the "graduates" are not ACT Ready or not prepared for more than a short-term minimum wage job. Give them a year or two additional education to ensure that they are prepared.
For example, do not promote them to the next grade in grade 4 if their Mathematics and Reading scores are not up to what they should be. The state requirement for graduation is pushing you? Look at the state's ACT performance in the chart. How are they doing with education results? Appeal the "advice" to graduate 90%. What no one wants are the enormous expenses associated with developing an ACT ready graduate above, plus the social expenses associated with students who are not ACT Ready for the rest of their lives. It would be more beneficial if we prepared students in pre-school and elementary school well enough so that 80% graduates from high school in twelve years ACT Ready. Do not promote students to the next grade if they are not ready. Investigate how well Success Academy Schools perform in NYC with all poor inner city black children! Top 1% passing even private schools! In Tennessee 98% of the black children do poorly. SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT THE WAY WE TEACH THEM IN TENNESSEE.



THERE ARE MANY JOBS - WE JUST DO NOT HAVE WELL ENOUGH EDUCATED CANDIDATES FOR THEM.

In the USA, 74% of our schools are public schools, 22% are private schools and 4% are charter schools a form of public schools also. The lower skill manufacturing jobs have been disappearing to robotic and software automation for more than two decades. More and more low-end jobs will be replaced by robotics and many new jobs will open with new technologies faster and faster, but they will require more education on the high school level, not just what we know as job training. There were more than three million jobs open in 2015, that could not be filled because employers were not finding candidates with the education that they needed for such jobs. Such new jobs will require a much better education coming out of high school than what public schools deliver today. The stories about good education are true only with very few public schools. What's going to happen to our children? THREE OUT OF FOUR OF OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND TODAY IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN ADDITION TO DROPOUTS. What is going to happen to our state and country? I fear the answer to this question.

The poorly educated workforce, mostly untrainable (80% per ACT), is a major concern of corporations who are paying most of the taxes. To do well, they need a well-trained workforce. They are holding onto cash instead of hiring. To survive, they will have to expand elsewhere or move entirely, or depend on the new generation of robots. This trend just started happening. Expect such changes happening here on a much larger scale. We will not survive the poor objectives and lack of a professional annual operating plans on the school district management level.

It is common in high performing nations to hire teachers who have a Master's degree in the subject that they would teach, come from the top ten percent of their Master's major, and then they send them back to grad school for learning the latest in teaching methodologies and in some cases diagnosing learning disabilities as well. US teachers come from the bottom third of four-year college programs that are the easiest.



The graph above shows a demographic breakdown of the unreadiness percentage of those who graduated from high school nationally. The results are horrible nationally because all states and school districts operate the same way with poor objectives and poor plans. You are looking at a powder keg, that is about to blow up. Our employers must go to robotics, because our graduates not only cannot do the job, they are poorly educated, and they have a bad attitude. If they do not go to robotics, they have to leave and go to where the workforce is better trained - or close the business and no one will be employed. But...in New York City there is a charter school chain with 41 schools in 2016, that started with one school in 2006. They are called Success Academy Schools. This school is scoring top one percent passing even most private schools in the entire State of New York WITH POOR BLACK AND HISPANIC INNER CITY CHILDREN!
Anyone with such high performance will have plenty of critics. Misbehaving children who disturb entire classes are gone. So are teachers who do not meet their high standards. Guess what the public wants? They want their child to have an excellent education and future. Obviously our traditional public schools have no idea how to provide excellent education to our children of ANY COLOR, and the states are not doing anything about it! They know however, how to spend more money each year than the majority of the top performing twenty nations in education. What do you think will happen when robotics will dump 50-80% of our children on the streets because they have been poorly trained in our public schools? This is very likely to happen by 2020-2021.

The countries that passed us in education, teach significantly more advanced material per subject per year than we do. Unless we bring up both teacher and student knowledge with a tougher curriculum and life-time education for degrees that are in demand, we will not be economically competitive against robotics in problem solving, critical thinking, decision making and job skills by 2025. Poor results shown in the above charts are unacceptable. In Knox County, Tennessee, and in many other school districts and states, we just keep dumbing down the population with the poor results from our public schools, as the elected school boards keep giving themselves and the superintendents an excellent performance review for the poor performance, and increasing education spending every year.

As a remedy, some governors announced a free two year college program after high school, that will cost more money and will not solve the problem of declining education, because:
  • We do not take advantage of the fastest brain development that occurs under six years of age with an effective pre-school program,
  • We are not improving and increasing knowledge in K12 education and are not correcting behavior and attitude problems that developed during those formative years. We are not correcting the fundamental K12 problem that limits young people's brain in how much they can achieve for 12-13 years of K12 schooling,
  • We are enabling only some remedial education with the free two-year college, to get closer to the low state standard of today. This does not solve the problems of the K-12 education shortcomings that became set in concrete in our children during the formative years. Yet we will have to pay a higher rate for the additional two years, without fixing what caused the problem in K-12.
  • It would be more effective for the people's money to fix some basic areas within K-12 education to solve the poor performance problem, such as:
    • Raise expectations with a measurable objective, such as an ACT score objective that is 5-10% higher than the actual ACT score achieved the previous year,
    • Create an annual operating plan that simply specifies a monthly year-to-date GPA objective that is minimum 10% above the prior year's monthly year-to-date GPA for all management people and for all teachers. There has to be many years of GPA history available per student. Based on them, an average GPA baseline could be established for at minimum covering the preceding 3 years, using this baseline GPA for every class in any subject before the class starts, and measuring against this baseline GPA what individual teachers achieve at the end of the school year as an average class GPA.
    • There must be a fair assessment of what teachers achieve in average GPA increase beyond the baseline GPA that reflects their class members actual performance for the past three years. Teachers are not treated well compared to the high performing international school systems. They must be treated fairly, and to that end some state laws will need to be changed to allow them to do their best with high morale.


Our governors, state departments of education and the elected school district boards managed to develop FAILURE FACTORIES nationwide with their inaction instead of good results, through incompetence in management, with weaker teacher training, limiting teachers' authority and preparation time with unproductive tasks. Teacher morale is low. The higher performing countries require teacher candidates to have a master's degree in the subject that they will teach, they are tested for suitability for the teaching profession, and must continue to update their education every year in teaching methodologies and subject knowledge. We do not seem to be interested in learning from the top performing countries. When one dropped from the top to 40th in the world (and our example state, Tennessee, is much lower than that), one does not have the experience to come up with a winning methodology to become one of the best based only on USA experience in education. No wonder we have poverty problems. We don't even recognize that our dropping education results dumbed us down for 45+ years, weakening our work force, creating more poverty plus a huge problem for employers, who have only two options to survive: move to areas with a better-trained workforce, or replace low-end jobs with robotics.

McDonalds decided in 2015 to replace 25,000 stores totally with robotics by end of 2017, so did Wendy's and many others. Robots were announced in 2016 to replace anesthesia nurses whose education goes well beyond high school. We better improve education very quickly by focusing on ACT score objectives and learning as much as possible from the highest performing countries in education about how they are achieving their fabulous results. The result for us will be increasing social problems with the unemployed. There will be no money to solve them, because our national income has been struggling for ten years at break even only. All of this happened because the poor high school education output weakened the workforce in all industries, from the low end jobs, up to and including PhD's. For several decades now foreign students made up 50% of the PhD's we needed for research and development, but for the past few years many are returning to their home countries because they find better opportunities there.

THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE...


...WHEN WE NEED THIS!!




WHY ARE WE ONE OF THE HIGHEST SPENDERS PER STUDENT IN THE WORLD DELIVERING ONE OF THE WORST EDUCATION RESULTS AMONG INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES?

School districts do not identify all education spending for the public to see. We try to do that and relate the approved budget to it although the approved budget itself does not include all education-related expenses. We would advocate the board of education being fully responsible for a budget that includes ALL education-related expenses.

The "Current" budget is approved at the beginning of the school year. It excludes certain education-related expenses, like capital and interest expenses, legal and other expenses that are co-mingled hidden in different county cost centers. That means that we do not know exactly how much we spend on public education. A special investigative audit, called a forensic audit would be the efficient way to identify ALL education related spending.

The "Current" budget is overspent 15-18% every single year (2008-2014), and we get the above poor results for it. The state publishes the Grand Total Education Expense Spent in the same school district, that is overspent 28-38% every year beyond the approved budget, including the capital and interest expenses covering school renovations and new schools that the education department decides to renovate or build respectively, but excluding them from the budget they present. Even the Grand Total doesn't include all education-related expenses. All this points to another very important thing that is not being done: ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING, AND PRESENTING TO THE PUBLIC ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL-RELATED EXPENSES. It is the school system that initiates or causes all such expenses, but they do not have responsibility for the outcome. This is not a good way to manage to success.

ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING means that the budget being prepared for all departments identifies first all actions that they will have to take during the coming year to improve results and reach a specific performance objective. Then each department and school puts the budget together for themselves on that basis. That is how one can make sure that any surprises are minimized for the coming year, and it is an important part of planning and creating an operating plan for the coming year only. Poor planners do a quick and easy way, called INCREMENTAL BUDGET PLANNING in which one looks at what one spent last year, and modifies it by adding or subtracting amounts that one just guesses without planning. For small organizations that total less than 100 employees one can do that. For larger organizations, the end result is overspending beyond the approved budget every year, and that is what is happening in Knox County, Tennessee and in many other school districts. When one starts putting together multi-year plans, like the five year plan, it just does not make sense because too many unanticipated things will be changing each year that no one can predict that far ahead. Therefore in well-managed operations one sees zero-based budget planning for a ONE-YEAR OPERATING PLAN, based on which the spending can be managed accurately. That is what well management schooled and experienced superintendents do.

When one sees a five year plan, that looks beautiful with color charts and pictures, with simply a fixed percentage increase on some activities every year, and then adds a tenth year result that looks just OK, no serious planning went into that plan. The superintendent in such a case prepared a "selling document only", it is always a beautiful colorful document, but without any serious planning. Five years are too long. Too many things can change even within a year. What many school districts do not have is a one year operating plan where there is a measurable performance goal like an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved, and measurable objectives are defined for every management and supervisory position in every single school and in central management. One cannot achieve good results with only titles. The Five Year Strategic Plans of the Knox County, TN superintendent, were good examples of this.

The Knox County, Tennessee school district has an unusually large PR group as of 2015 whose planning and execution on any action they target is excellent. They do not report all of the news. They report only what looks good, creating a positive image in the eyes of the public. As a result, the public is unaware how poorly their children are prepared in our public schools.

One sees significant additional money requests annually from the board of education, with two big problems.
  • They are never tied to a plan to show how much they will raise the ACT results that count. The promises are endless.
  • Most such programs do not produce any improvement in the ACT scores. However, the amount approved one year just keeps included every year thereafter and no one questions it. It is sad how the people's hard-earned tax dollars are wasted in education without any improvement in results.


HIDING BAD RESULTS FROM THE PUBLIC

"A half-truth is a whole lie" is a popular proverb that's been directed at newspapers and politicians since the 1880s.
"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Lenin
"Present good news to the public and repeat often, no matter how insignificant it is. Do not present the bad news to the public, no matter how important it is" - Goebels and Hitler
All these methods are used in most PR organizations in school districts.


We overspend the people's money every year in education in Knox County, Tennessee and produce one of the worst results at the same time within the USA. Internationally, we dropped to 40th place in math, a new all time low record - that's the bottom of the industrialized countries. Our education spending per student is the fifth highest in the world. Our school districts are always pushing for more money as the solution to fix the poor results. We also do not identify for the public all of the money we spend on education. Some such moneys are commingled with non-education related expenses and hidden in different cost centers. I think that the public who is paying for the poor results and high expense levels deserves to get a detailed accounting of how much money we really spend on education-related expenses.

We need a forensic audit to identify exactly where the money went and why it was not getting to the right place in the school district, destroying most of our children's employability, our workforce and our economy as a result.

Proposed programs costing additional tens of millions of dollars in each state by school district management, did not and do not deliver higher act or sat scores. They are the only tests that show the real end of high school results. Could these kinds of ineffective actions be accidental after more than 40 years? No, they cannot and they require uniform statewide control via laws.

More than 30 states cut back education spending since 2008. See http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4011. Even with such reductions in spending, the US is the fifth largest spender per student among the industrialized countries, with the lowest academic performance among those nations.

All things are possible - if one is smart.


The chart below shows very poor expense management without any reasonable monthly control per school that disregards the approved budget with overspending without any recourse and with poor academic results.

No report covers all expenses going into education, although the state report covers significantly more in its Tennessee Education Statistical Report for each year than the Knox County education district itself.


The problem is that when board members look at a chart like this they do not recognize poor results or excessive spending. Most of them do not understand what not being ACT Ready means, and most importantly do not understand how robotics will impact all children who are not ACT Ready, and within just a few years will be impacting some jobs that require training beyond high school. Most board members do not want to learn and do not question the superintendent about academic results and spending vs. objective or budget every month at board meetings. In our opinion two questions are vital in managing poorly performing education districts. THESE TWO QUESTIONS need to be answered monthly:
  • How are we doing with the most important academic results (e.g., annual ACT and monthly year-to-date GPA) year-to-date vs. plan in every school and the school district, and
  • How much money are we spending per school and project, year-to-date vs. the approved budget.
Neither of these is presented or discussed.





WE ARE FACING FOUR MAJOR THREATS AS A NATION CREATED BY POOR PUBLIC EDUCATION

MAJOR THREAT NO. 1 is to our national security (most importantly as a result of cyber warfare), that requires very well educated soldiers, civilians, operators and developers for tools, "weapons", and decision making. Everything is computer controlled for operational and economic reasons. Our electric power grid could be hacked and disabled or destroyed by a better educated enemy. Our technology developments and designs for vitally important things that cost us billions to discover/develop could be hacked and stolen free by a better educated enemy. Intelligent weapons require very well educated soldiers to use them correctly, educated beyond high school. We need a healthy economy (money) to be able to develop the best well-educated people to defend ourselves and to improve our economy. That makes our failing education strategically the most important problem that we must correct. We must change many things like our immigration laws and practices, but most of all, we must improve greatly the poor education of our children urgently. This is how a third world war would begin today, and this kind of activity already started. See: Our educational decline has been jeopardizing our national security.

MAJOR THREAT NO. 2 is the impact of poor public education on the entire population since 1970. In 2015 74% of all US high school graduates was prepared only for minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robotics within just a few years, because these students cannot do even the simple jobs as required. WE HAVE BUILT A HUGE POWDER KEG BY IGNORING PUBLIC EDUCATION PERFORMANCE. The most dangerous in domestic affairs and education is black student performance, with 95% not being ready for any but minimum wage jobs when graduating from high school nationally (98% in Tennessee). WE HAVE CREATED THE FUSE FOR THE POWDER KEG AND WE ARE IGNORING IT. We blame parents when our school performance is poor with all students. Many black students deal with more poverty and single parents than others. Granted that we saw US education dropping since 1970 and that reduced the job required knowledge of today's parents, in turn reducing their family incomes. As far as bad inner city environments are concerned, Harlem and others in New York are probably the worst in the country. However, a 42-school charter school in New York City's inner city areas produces top 1% results (Success Academy Schools) with the New York State Common Core tests statewide, beating even most private schools, without parental help. They are achieving this with poor inner city black and some Hispanic children since 2009! They have mostly primary schools, now beginning to open middle schools, with plans for high schools as the middle schools start delivering. Why are we not producing the same great result? Why are we not visiting Success Academy Schools to learn how they are doing it? Or better yet, Finland. We should be ashamed of ourselves for the black and Hispanic students' results, for not doing anything to improve it. Instead, the above poor results like 98% of black students not being ready when graduating from high school, very foolishly builds a big fuse for the "powder keg" by not learning from the high performers how to teach successfully any demographic group. Not only we produce terrible results for an entire class, school or school district creating at least 3 out of 4 students not being prepared, but we are destroying the future of almost all black children, when an example in New York and especially Finland clearly shows that THEY CAN DO FAR BETTER THAN WE ARE DOING NOW.

MAJOR THREAT NO. 3 is to our economy. We compete worldwide with our products and services in all industries. People and companies buy products and services based on their quality and cost. That in turn depends on how well educated each company's workforce is, from research and development PhD's through sales and service, down to manufacturing/production. How well the high school graduates are educated in any company of any country is the most important gateway to a high quality workforce that can create and make/provide the most competitive products and services worldwide. Internationally we dropped to 40th in high school mathematics, and dropped in other subjects as well. That in turn weakened our workforce, weakened our product and service competitiveness, and that lowered our national income and tax income. We have lost entire industries to international competition. Initially we lost to lower labor cost, but after a few years they lowered their cost by robotic automation on a larger scale than we did. For example, China is replacing one million workers in one huge electronics company with robotics to improve quality in 2016-2017. We have been under 3% national income for ten years now, our national debt rose to TWENTY TRILLION dollars in 2016, on which we have to pay many TRILLIONS in interest. 3% is not a gain. It is only a break even level with current expenses. High school education must be improved very significantly to reverse this dangerous trend, and find a solution for those under educated in the past who will be replaced by robotics with job suitability testing, education for the best job so indicated, and help to get those jobs.

MAJOR THREAT NO. 4 is to a large percentage (60-80%) of high school graduates and today's workforce. New technologies will arrive faster and faster, offering new employment opportunities. The new jobs will require more education in addition to job retraining. The problem is that today's high school graduates did not receive enough education that would lay a proper foundation for the new jobs. With such fast changes, education becomes a life time learning effort, which would require a large amount of remedial education to start the new technology-related education for jobs. Unfortunately, our high schools have done a very poor job during the last four decades, making the learning of new jobs based on new technologies impossible for most.

If we wish to save this sinking ship, we must focus not only the school districts, but every single school with a monthly, year-to-date academic objective. We need ACT score school district objectives that are 5-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved, and we must also have monthly year-to-date academic objectives (e.g., GPA) in every management and supervisory position in every single school and central management that support the achievement of the ACT objective.

SPECIAL NOTE: For the past twenty years many people were of the opinion that the central management of the Knox County, Tennessee school district was bloated. We found two standards published about what the maximum size of central management should be. One is the research projects of Dr. Allan Ornstein, Dean, St. John's University's Graduate School of Education in New York City. The other was presented in a letter by the American Association of School Administrators. They both agree that central management administrators and their support staff should not exceed one percent (approximately 90) of the total employees of the Knox County, Tennessee school system (approximately 9,000). The said school district's own published head count for Central Management has been between 300 and 400 people or three to four times the normal size. In view of this huge difference, we requested under the Tennessee Open Records Act a list of school district employees, who are neither directed or performance reviewed by a school's principal or said principal's chain of command within his/her school. That number is above 1300, or 12% of total employees, six times normal, but we need to examine its organizational structure to decide what the real size of Central Management is. When we know the answer, we will publish it here. There is no question that Central Management is bloated. The question is how bloated it is.

Personal income levels depend on a person's education, if his/her education specialty is in demand by employers. Poverty is increasing but no one ties it to education's decline. But we certainly tie poor school performance to poverty. It is not a good idea to scream for jobs when one does not have education in a field that is in demand. But there is no screaming for a turnaround in quality of education, to provide a sound foundation in high school to ensure future employment for our children and grandchildren.


The Public Is Not Getting The Truth About How Poorly Public Schools Are Educating The Majority Of Our Children


"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

Vince Lombardi

To get more public support, tell the truth. Generally both parents have to work today, and single parents have a tougher time. We need more support from them. Giving the public good news only is not helpful under the circumstances. Another important consideration is the fact that the public is paying everyone's salaries in public education. They deserve to know the truth. IF THE PUBLIC FINDS OUT WITHOUT FOREWARNING THAT THEIR CHILDREN CANNOT GET A JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM OUR HIGH SCHOOLS, WE WILL SEE A VERY BAD, VIOLENT REACTION. IT WOULD BE SMARTER TO ADMIT THE PROBLEM WE FACE WITH OUR POOR EDUCATION AND TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR WHY IT HAPPENED. THERE WOULD BE SOME INITIAL REACTION, BUT THE PUBLIC IS FORGIVING IF THEY SEE AN HONEST ATTEMPT MADE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

Only 26% nationally, 16% in Tennessee and 24% in Knox County, Tennessee of our graduating students with a diploma are ready for job training or have a chance to finish the first year only of a college, tech school/vocational program - in 2015. However the school system tells the public that all is well, and complains about parents not pushing the children enough to study. This level of readiness of public school graduates for job or higher level training is very poor and it is not improving. Many including the schools blame the parents when there are examples of some of the best school systems in the world achieve very high results parent-independently. Our education management has no interest in how they achieve that.

The graph below shows the percentage of high school graduates nationally by demographics, who are not prepared for any job other than minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots shortly. The Tennessee figures are worse.

We produce only 26% readiness of high school graduates nationally for job training or to have just a chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college according to ACT. But much worse, we produce only 5-6% ACT ready black high school students nationally (Tennessee 2%). The 42-school charter school, Success Academy Schools of New York City, produce top 1% results with poor, inner city black children. At the same time, a new generation of robots started replacing low and medium level jobs. See examples further down. As a result, those students' chances who are not ACT Ready, will evaporate for any job. If our governors and legislators cared, this would not be happening.


When Performance Is As Poor As Ours, It Is Vital To Have Two Objectives Only To Focus The Entire Organization On The Key Measurable Indicator Of Academic Success, Like An ACT Score That Is 5-10% Higher Than The Last ACT Score Achieved. The Second Objective Must Be A Limit On Spending To Stay Under The Budget That Was Approved Before The School Year Started.

Anyone requesting additional school funding must commit to an ACT score increase in return with a plan in writing that explains how the ACT score increase is going to be achieved. State leadership, education committees, state school boards, and the state department of education, all must be focused on achieving an ACT score objective that is 5-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved along with the school districts. There is much more effort going into spending more money on programs that do not improve the ACT or SAT scores that represent our graduates' knowledge, or making excuses on the state or local level.

There Is No Effort To Learn From The Top International Performers To Improve Our Poor, Hundred-Year-Old Public Education System Practices That Has The 5th Highest Cost Per Student In The World, While Dropping To 40th From The Top At Great Cost To The Public.

All ACT objectives require that an operating plan exist detailing what committee members, board members and all management and supervisory personnel need to achieve by each month's end.



Look at the high percentage of graduating children who are not ACT Ready in the chart. Not being ACT Ready means no chance to finish even the first year of a tech/vocational school or a college. They are qualified only for minimum wage jobs, which will be replaced by robots in a couple of years.



"Denial. Ask any psychologist what the major obstacle to recovery is, and the likely answer will be denial. It's fundamental. Until you admit there is a problem, you can't begin to solve it."

John McCormack "Self-Made in America"


The elected boards have to oversee the management and success of a school district with typically 100 – 10,000 employees, and a $10 million - $1 BILLION annual budget through a superintendent that they interview and hire. That is a huge management job, for which the voting majority or even a single board member would not be experienced and qualified. One requires substantial training even to interview and decide to hire a superintendent for an organization of that size. The state cannot provide management guidelines because the old education laws block it and they are likely to not have the experience to give it. School districts have meaningless objectives. They don't know how to change the way they manage and operate to create better results.

The elected board has to set objectives for the coming school year. Their objectives are always very vague, never about achieving an ACT score and never about not exceeding the budget approved at the start of the school year. The result is poor ACT scores, poor readiness after graduation and the budget exceeded every year. Then they perform their own performance review. The superintendent does the same and gives himself excellent marks, although the academic results are terrible. All objectives turn out vague and immeasurable. The superintendent is to prepare a five-year "strategic" plan according to the state, again with vague goals, many $100 words that no board-member dares to question for fear of looking uneducated. The plans do not include academic and financial objectives for schools, and school performance is the most important area. With such an arrangement, life becomes very political, and a poorly performing mayhem where sexual harassment can happen without the individual being fired. You hire and promote friends and relatives. You do nothing about helping teachers and principals to make their life more productive with higher morale so that they become more effective with students. All within current education law.

When the state itself is performing as poorly as Tennessee, it is not happening because they have the right management experience in the Department of Education, in the state Board of Education or even in the governor's office. If you disagree, just look at the ACT results. What does that tell us? It does not tell us that we have brilliant people with the right management experience, they just decided for a very important reason not to solve the problem that is destroying our children's future.

The public is paying a huge increasing bill for education with a school system failure rate at 74% nationally. For black students, it is an outrageous 95% ACT Unreadiness or failure rate, when a NYC chain of 42 charter schools, Success Academy Schools scored top one percent passing even most private schools with poor, inner city black students! IT CAN BE DONE. VISIT THIS SCHOOL, FIND OUT WHAT CREATES THE SUCCESS, LEARN AND IMPLEMENT ANYTHING THAT WOULD HELP.

"It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."

Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers






SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM


This website lists the ten best tools that could make learning easier for students and make teaching easier for teachers, in any school environment: http://www.teacherswithapps.com/top-10-most-effective-online-tools-for-academic-classes/.

Teacher morale needs to be restored, by increasing their classroom authority to handle discipline problems immediately to eliminate class interruptions, and increase through a continuing education program their subject knowledge and improve their teaching methodology to the level of the top international performers. Eliminate any teacher activity that can be automated to free up more classroom and preparation time. In addition teachers must become more creative to deliver better results. Teachers must participate in any effort to develop better performance in the classroom, and to learn about how the best performing school systems achieve their great results, internationally or domestically.

Measurable goals and annual objectives that are a key indicator of success, such as an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the previous one actually achieved, and an annual operating plan for every single school with monthly measurable objectives, are vital to achieve much better results. A ship will never get to a destination port unless they know exactly where they are at any one time, and know accurately how and when they will get to the destination port. Let us say that the "destination port objective" is 80% of the graduating students being ACT College or Career Ready (employability to make enough money for a family of four) when graduating. Today only a quarter of those with a high school diploma meet ACT's readiness percentage of diplomas in Knox County, Tennessee, and the same nationally. The public is not informed of this, and don't know unless they read ACT's Readiness Reports. About three out of four students will be in close to minimum wage jobs (in Tennessee more than 80% of those with a diploma), to be replaced by robots in just a few years. Why? Because there is no sense of a common objective among teachers and their management, what their part of the academic objective is and what they have to do about it. To make it worse, the state's objective for education is too low. People rise to reasonably high expectations, but strangely, they have difficulty meeting low expectations. Many teachers have very low morale (this is a classic upper management problem). How can you motivate children if your morale is down? You cannot.



Having a single academic ACT score primary objective on the board and superintendent is a necessity in poorly performing school districts especially, that are producing less than 80% ACT Ready high school graduates. A proper objective would be an ACT objective that is at least 5%-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved. It is a vital necessity to focus the entire organization on this objective to increase the ACT score. To support the ACT objective, there would be monthly Grade Point Average (GPA) objectives under it on the level of every manager and class within every school. The key question to answer would be "How can we increase the GPA from last year's GPA 5%-10% as well? What new tools and how we need to change what we do in every school to achieve it?" Do not use any other objective. What we had are two different groups of unmeasurable, unclear and too low objectives IN 2015 and before. One is on the board's website. The second set is in the Superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan. THEY ARE EITHER IMMEASURABLE OR VERY LOW EXPLAINING THE POOR PERFORMANCE.



AVOID OBJECTIVES THAT CANNOT WORK. SEE THESE EXAMPLES.

Many objectives dilute each other. A second primary objective is also needed, monthly, to not exceed the expense budget that the board approved at the start of the school year, with each and every school principal being responsible for meeting a corresponding expense objective and academic objective, spending and personnel decisions without interference. All other objectives are secondary objectives applying to specific management positions under the board or superintendent.

The objectives set in the past that one sees below, cannot achieve good results, because those who produce the results, the schools and support staff are not focused on the right two elements, a measurable academic and expense objective monthly. Schools are not research institutions. They are production institutions of the highest importance, whose national result has a vital impact on our children, every industry and our economy.

In the school district's website the superintendent mentions that: "In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is:"
  • "100% of students completing high school" (What is the value of "completing" high school with 80% of those who entered 9th grade not being ready per ACT but for minimum wage jobs at best?)
  • "At least 90% graduating with a regular diploma" (What is the value of a diploma when 77% of those with a regular diploma are not even ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school per ACT?)
  • "At least 90% of our graduates taking the ACT, and" (All students take the ACT by law. What is the value here? Just taking a test has zero value in any case.)
  • "At least 90% of ACT takers scoring a 21 or better" (An average ACT 21 score means that 73-75% of those who entered in 9th grade are NOT ACT READY and are prepared for minimum wage jobs only. This is a shamefully low objective. A neighboring school district's objective is ACT 24. The top twenty countries in education are delivering high school students in an ACT equivalent range of 26 to 31)."
In the superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan we have these different objectives that are also not appropriate, unclear, not measurable, neither academic nor spending related. Ask yourself on each one of these "How on earth can I tell if they met this objective or not? How do I measure how well they have done?".
  • "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. Can all workers be focused on these objectives so that the GPA and ACT scores go up in every school? Absolutely 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. Such a situation ends up with politics becoming important and achieving good results become less important. Poor, unmeasurable objectives increase the importance of politics in organizational behavior for survival.

You may want to read "Objectives are vitally important if you wish to accomplish anything" with a group of people - or even alone - especially in a poorly performing organization.

That is why we are producing the 40th result internationally in math. Tennessee is worse. We were on top in 1970. Teachers do not take the initiative to find out how the best nations in education are achieving their excellent results. They are focused on resolving their own personal issues with management, they have been demoralized over the years and not even given the basic right of being in charge of the classroom with full backing by management over discipline issues in the classroom. That is demeaning to teachers and reduces their credibility and authority in front of their students. Although the states should do this centrally, we do not see teachers making an individual effort to learn about why the top competitors are producing much better results, learn about them and implement such new methods. Unfortunately such attitudes are understandable with low morale but not helpful.

Most parents are not pushing their children to study harder. A few decades ago only one parent worked and the other parent could focus on what needed to be done at home, including focusing the children on studying. Today, both parents are working, and most parents take the child's side if a complaint comes from school about the child's behavior. When the school district PR machine lies to the public about things going well, it is not helpful in getting single parents to help the school because they are working long hours every day. Many parents are not supportive enough to get their children to work harder today. It would be very helpful if the public was well informed about the poor performance of schools, to motivate them to help.

However, there are school systems that produce uniformly excellent scores from all students, minority or not, without parental involvement, e.g., Finland's teaching method, or the 42-school Success Academy Schools in New York City that achieved in 2015 top one percent results with poor inner city black children, an amazing achievement. Finland's teacher selection and teaching methodology is better than ours. We are covering them in more detail later. Unfortunately our children pay a heavy price for all this. Four out of five graduates are unprepared for better jobs and robotic automation will replace them. All because our schools are not doing a better job. Parents we cannot control. Schools are to be controlled by their elected board and elected board members do not have the experience to do so.

Some people show better OECD PISA results for the USA by showing only OECD member country results (35 countries), a smaller number. OECD as of 2015 publishes both member and non-member countries' results, 73 total, on the same page in its results. We dropped to 40th in the world in math in 2015.

The potential working years of a high school graduate is 40-45 years. More than 75% of graduates in Knox County, Tennessee (more than 80% for Tennessee) are not prepared for any employment other than close to minimum wage jobs with increasing unemployment during their short working life, as robotics replace the low-to-medium level jobs.

Excellent high school results are critical for our nation and individual graduates to be employable or what is called ACT Ready. Not just by one student in five being ready for employment as we have it now, but at least by four students out of five. Those who are ready, become part of our workforce. We need an outstanding well-educated workforce to create competitively priced outstanding products and services that our various industries can sell worldwide. Our workforce declined in skills. Our national income, GNP, and tax income depend on the success of US industries worldwide. Our GNP has been under 3% in growth for the past ten years. That's not good enough. It is the result of the poor readiness we deliver from our high schools. It is vital for us as a nation to fix our schools' performance.

The world is everyone's market. That means that we must become competitive in the world market and that means that our high school output must be one of the best. It dropped to 40th in math. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW WE COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN PERFORMANCE.

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


WHAT COULD BOARD MEMBERS DO DIFFERENTLY AND BETTER TO IMPROVE EDUCATION?

Between 1995 and 2014 Knox County, Tennessee students increased only 14% but administrators increased 130%. The spending would have been more appropriate in the classroom. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Administrators hire people to work for them. The real increase ends up 650-900% if they hire 4-6 people per administrator for only a 14% increase in students. However, with this huge increase in management, the ACT results dropped like a stone setting an all time low record in 2013 with a score of 20.2! ACT Readiness reports indicate that as a result, more than 80% (statewide 89%, nationally 76%!) of those students who enter 9th grade are ready only for minimum wage employment, the types of jobs that will disappear. It is common knowledge in management that if you increase management numbers beyond standard operating ratios, managers (administrators) will start justifying their management positions, and such efforts actually hurt results and morale.

This huge percentage of management increase was not reversed to this day, and it did absolutely nothing but cost us a lot of money! So...money is being shifted away from the classroom producing poorly prepared children in large numbers. Management overhead was increased purposefully, but the results dropped like a stone. I am sorry, but the wisdom with which the public's money and these decisions appear to be handled by boards and superintendents is mind boggling. No one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up and reverse such foolish spending.

Why is the state allowing the wasting of so much of the people's money and dumb down virtually the entire workforce year after year? That is what the ACT results indicate under the governor.

Any school district could reduce total Central Management employees to 1% of the total school district's employees.

Any school district set as their most important two objectives as 5-10% higher ACT score than the ACT score last achieved, and an objective for all managers in any school that is a monthly, month-to-date GPA objective. The second objective needs to focus on not exceeding the spending budget.

The ACT and SAT tests show that our public school results are extremely poor. It is not surprising. If you attend any school board meeting, they never discuss the poor results and how those results could be improved. In addition, it is the schools that produce the results, yet we do not have monthly year-to-date GPA objectives in our schools that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. THAT EXPLAINS THE OUTRAGEOUSLY POOR PERFORMANCE.



In our state's plans to improve math and English requirements, we are focusing on public opinion about what the school district should be doing. Education spending per student rose aggressively since 1970, and student performance went down. None of our leaders suggested any changes to our education system that would have increased the ACT and SAT scores, the key indicators of what children learned before graduating from high school.

The public became less educated as a result, was dumbed down since 1970, and public opinion would not know anything about what our international competition accomplished and is planning, and what our employers need. As you see many foreign products around us, it should be very clear that we are competing with foreign countries whose education systems passed ours. We must catch up with the best. It will not be the local public's advice that will improve us.

After all, it did not do any good so far for many decades, especially since they are misinformed by the school district PR groups about how well our schools are doing. It will be the detailed knowledge of what makes the top performers in the world much better than we are in the OECD PISA tests, that will tell us what areas we need to correct in primary and secondary education. We need to forget the old American slogan that "WE ARE THE BEST". We are 40th in high school math. That is not the best. Be honest with the public, and have objectives and operating plans achieved to become the best.


One should be friendly and fair, but never become personally attached to anyone who works for you. It will bias your judgment about them. You may have to make hard decisions about them. If they are your close friend, you will not be able to do that. You have to judge your employee's performance through measurable key indicators of success in their job, their specific objective. THIS IS NOT BEING DONE.

Board members must understand VERY WELL what ACT's definition of Readiness means (go to ACT scores explained), as it is impacted by the development in robotics to replace low-to-medium level jobs. Most do not understand this area. They must appreciate the impact of new technologies on existing jobs, and also the new job opportunities they create and the education required for them (go to robots). They must understand that we are competing internationally, and that we therefore must compare our progress to the countries that passed us. It would be important for board members to be familiar with two high performing countries' education system, Singapore and Finland. THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEM. It would be important to know exactly what Singapore and Finland cover in each subject in their curricula and try to do better than that. The state education department should be doing such work. But if they do not, we need the school boards to be creative. One can request such information from the Ministry of Education in the country. ACT does provide in their annual readiness report statistics about how to increase the ACT scores. At minimum, Board members must understand these areas well. THEY DO NOT.

If the board member was a teacher, they need to realize that we have to become much better. Our teachers did not improve in subject knowledge, teaching methodologies and education management like other nations who passed us. THEY ARE NOT AWARE OF THIS AND WE ARE INCLUDING REFERENCES. We have some serious work to do.

A potential superintendent is very experienced in operating in a political environment whether he/she accomplished excellent results or not. Superintendents last in a job only 3-4 years for a couple of reasons: they take direction from a board who may or may not agree, and he/she is more experienced in the job than the board members. Or he or she cannot produce better results. In interviewing them, ask meaningful questions, such as:
  • How would you measure monthly what a school district or a school achieved academically?
  • How can you tell which high school graduates are prepared to get a job after high school that can minimally support a family of four?
  • What does ACT Readiness mean?
  • What ACT or SAT average did you achieve during each of the last three years?
  • What mistakes did you make in each of the last three years?
  • How do you know that morale is high or low in your organization?
The superintendent is the board's employee and not the board's boss. Board members must understand what ACT Readiness and ACT scores the superintendent is to deliver. That is the superintendent's responsibility. If the superintendent is delivering poor results for seven years and the board gives the superintendent good performance reviews, the Board is responsible for the poor results. The board has destroyed the future of up to 76% (those not ACT Ready) or more of our high school graduates. If the board cared about them, this would not happen - or perhaps the board had no idea what to do and made no attempt at learning what to do.

When the results have been bad for decades, one must focus the entire organization on one performance and one spending objective like the ACT score and spending vs. budget in education. Without such focus, there is no chance for recovery.

Look at the chart below about ACT results. If only 24% of the high school diplomas are "ACT Ready" qualified, we are doing and extremely poor job, and both the Board and superintendent do not deserve a good performance evaluation. Yet that is what we gave year after year. It is not acceptable to do a job under which 76% of the graduating children's jobs will be subject to replacement by robots within a few years, and they have not been educated well enough to learn a more sophisticated new job. 76% not being ACT Ready means that they have no chance to complete even the first year of a tech/vocational school or a college. Science and engineering programs require a 26 ACT achievement in math, in addition to the ACT Readiness benchmark in math, and that is way above 24% ACT Readiness. Also in addition, look at the examples listed here for immediate robotic applications. Some of these are replacing employees with four-year college degrees. It is fair to conclude that those who are not ACT Ready have only a few years of employment, because robotic capabilities will increase rapidly from now on. See examples of robotics.

The ACT achievement and budget compliance objectives need an operating plan. The operating plan requires a monthly year-to-date objective per school in two areas: one is an academic objective to be determined, most likely a GPA average, and the second a spending objective not to exceed a monthly year-to-date expense budget. It is necessary to have a monthly year-to-date progress measurement in both objectives for schools to identify any shortcomings early toward meeting the annual average ACT and budget goals for the school district. Performance-related objectives are needed for all supervisory positions in schools, in central management and for teachers also.

All objectives at all levels need to be measurable, a key indicator of success for the job of the individual, that contribute to ACT district objective achievement. They have to be brief and simple enough to be remembered precisely at all times by the individual. No current objectives at any level meet that criteria today in 2016.

Click here to see ACT scores explained for the graph below http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html .

A useful document to read would be this guideline from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that covered 65 countries' primary and secondary education, with the best in the world among them.

We can see in the OECD chart above spending per pupil for each of 65 countries. We in Knox County, Tennessee are one of the top spenders per student compared to these 65 nations. But in results, we, the USA, are 40th in math - very poor. Tennessee is at the low end of USA performance. Knox County, Tennessee results would be much worse than 40th worldwide. That means that we spend enough money, but the money is not being spent in the right places. For example not enough money is getting to the classrooms that results come from, and there are requirements on teachers that cut down their preparation and teaching time, so that they cannot do their best. See chart below.



Credit For The Poor ACT Performance And Overspending

...goes to the superintendent and the board of education in Knox County, Tennessee. The superintendent joined in 2008, with his job ending in July 2016. As you can see from the chart below, his results were uniform every year, showing that 78-84% of high school graduates were not ready for more than a minimum wage job. Robotics will replace such students very soon.

The superintendent was offered a position by the University of Tennessee before July 2016, to head its Center For Education Leadership. On its website the function of this center is represented as "...taking an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to school leadership development, which will seek to integrate research-tested education leadership theory with proven, effective practice. A unique partnership between the University of Tennessee and local school districts will define a new era of university-school district collaboration in the formal preparation and career-long professional development of educational leaders." We could benefit greatly from such a group, if its management came from a high performing area such as Canada, Finland or Singapore. We wish them a lot of success because both this county and its neighbors provide very poorly prepared public high school graduates.

The problem is that when board members look at a chart like this they do not recognize and/or have no time to learn and understand poor results and do not insist that the superintendent improve them. Unfortunately, some or sometimes most elected board members believe that they are to help what the superintendent wants to do. The results show that most superintendents are highly political and do not know what to do to increase results.



If we want 80% of those with a diploma to be ready to get better than minimum wage jobs, we need to be at an average ACT score above 25. That simply cannot be done with the poor management performance shown in the above charts. A diploma generally means that the person is fully prepared for a job or further education. With a 20.7 (Knox County, TN 2015) ACT score we produce only 24% of the graduates with a diploma who are ACT ready. That makes our Tennessee public school diplomas - worthless. What is the point in issuing worthless diplomas?

We are raising both at home and in school very soft and poorly trained children for a much tougher and more competitive world after high school. Schools and families must get tougher so that our children can survive in this tougher market. Otherwise they will not survive.






The Public Is Purposefully Misinformed About How Poorly Our Children Are Prepared In High School. It Is Done Both By The State And The School Districts. They Employ Professional PR People At Public Expense For Which The Public Pays With Their Hard-Earned Tax Dollars In Order To Produce Good News.

It is the ACT or SAT scores that indicate every year how well our children have been educated from grade one to twelve. They can claim that they have done many things, and they blame teachers and parents - but they have not initiated any program that raised the ACT or SAT scores since 1970. Those are the only tests that count and are given every year. But they organize big celebrations if we show even tiny gains in tests that do not count, because they are easier to show higher scores. This is how they misguide and lie to the public, who pay more and more every year for the poor results.

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either".
Albert Einstein
Are school boards and superintendents telling the public all the truth and nothing but the truth about their results?



Raising the minimum wage instead of increasing public high school performance and improving behavior to internationally competitive levels, accelerates the demand for the less expensive and more productive robotic automation.

Among black high school graduates, 95% were not ready nationally in 2015. 95%! At the same time a charter school chain in NYC (Success Academy Schools 1, Success Academy Schools 2) with poor, inner city black students with 32 schools scored top one percent in math in the New York State Common Core Tests in 2013 beating even most private schools. They demand excellence in teaching and in student behavior. New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA. Tennessee, a state we use for some examples, is in the bottom half of US performance. Or better yet, look at a world top performer, Finland with methodologies developed that are pure genius to produce excellent results in less teaching hours and lower cost than ours, although their cost of living is higher (Finland 1, Finland 2). Excellent results are possible, but not the way we have been running public schools in any state for the past hundred years. We do not visit those who excel to learn from them.


"With the long-term declining of primary and secondary education, we are developing a nation of sheep.

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."

Edward R. Morrow, Journalist, 1908-1965



TCAP state test results for Tennessee showed a much higher score than the national ACT or NAEP tests, because the state tests are easier. In addition, if the percentage score of right answers is low, e.g., 45%, normally it would be a failing grade. To make it look better, the state translates the low 45% score to a "B". They call this failing grade translation "Cut scores". The result about how well the students know what they were taught, becomes a lie to the public. The TCAP's rigor or toughness was 58% lower than the ACT. Tests are never designed to show less than the intended results for a grade. In other words, the much easier state test shows much higher grades, putting into good light performance that is a disastrous failure using these "Cut scores". As a result, we hurt a very large percentage of graduating children who are not ready for a meaningful job or for more education without two years of full time remedial courses.

 


TAKING A LOOK INTO HOW AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES COMPARE TO OTHER NATIONS' GRADUATES

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


For black students the percentage of those not ready for a job is 98% in Tennessee (95% nationally). 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: http://educationnext.org/what-explains-success-academy-charter-network/, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2: http://successacademies.org/about/, A virtual tour: http://virtualtour.successacademies.org/tour/#welcome) 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.

What brings success in other countries?

(Statement from the national institute for excellence in teaching on the 2013 NAEP results and Nations report card).



Most national income tends to be generated internationally, because the international market is huge. That happens only if American companies who sell internationally are selling competitive products in quality and pricing. Such competitiveness depends on the quality of their workforce, which in turn is dependent on the competitiveness of the high schools. That in turn depends on the nation's position on the OECD PISA tests, how wisely that nation spends money on education per student, and how teachers are prepared and managed to educate the coming workforce.





Education results depend on the quality and management of teachers. That quality needs to be high internationally to have internationally competitive children in the workforce after high school graduation or to go to higher level learning. The graph below shows the excessive hours that US teachers have to work in the classroom compared to the high performing internationals in education. They also have a large load in paperwork and in tests relative the competition. COMPETITIVELY THESE ARE EXCESSIVE AND DO NOT IMPROVE THE POOR PERFORMANCE. The results of the teachers are not good, since we dropped internationally to 40th in math.



"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


The very low black student performance is likely to become the fuse in this "powder keg", that our state departments of education and elected school boards in our school districts allowed to happen, unknowingly.

Before anyone says that improvement is not possible, a charter school system called Success Academy Schools in New York City with 32 schools and poor inner city black children, scored in the top one percent in mathematics in the New York State Common Core tests in 2014. They beat the majority of all state public AND private schools
(Success Academy Schools of New York City 1: http://educationnext.org/what-explains-success-academy-charter-network/, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2: http://successacademies.org/about/, A virtual tour: http://virtualtour.successacademies.org/tour/#welcome). The big difference between a charter school and a public school is the board of education who are in charge. In a charter school, the board members are appointed by the school system management. In a public school district, the board is elected. The results mirror the quality of the voting majority on these boards. New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA.

In our opinion, we are facing a national emergency. No one took sufficient action in any state's leadership to raise the ACT (or SAT) scores, yet the Success Academy Schools clearly show what can be accomplished! At what average ACT score level should we be to be ACT Ready for a job or to enter a college? Assuming 80% ACT readiness ( note that we are 80%+ NOT ACT READY) of high school graduates. More than an average ACT score of 25 would be needed, instead of 21 nationally and close to it in other states for 80% of our high school graduates to be ACT Ready. THE 21 ACT REQUIREMENT BY THE STATE BY 2020 IS TOO LOW.

We are not doing as well as the school districts' PR groups tell us through the local newspapers. The education laws allow the school districts to conduct their business in any manner whatsoever. They get fully funded under the law. They don't have to be competitive. The public has to be reasonably satisfied, and the school district PR Groups achieve that. Lenin, the father of "disinformation" theory said that "A lie mentioned often enough "becomes the truth." The public who pays for it all does not get the entire truth. Under Hitler, master propagandist of the Nazi regime, Joseph Goebbels, his information minister, added the following practice: use half-truths to build a case that the public will buy. "A half-truth is a whole lie" - says a proverb. A group can get away with it only until the majority discovers that their children cannot get a job. That moment is coming close AND THERE WILL BE A LOT OF ANGER.

Programs with very small growth in objectives reflect low expectations and the gains produced will hardly justify the expense. When people face high objectives, they rise to the occasion and meet objectives. When people face low objectives, they have difficulty meeting them.

For example if Tennessee is producing only a 14% ACT Readiness, and starts a program that will raise it only to 21% ACT Readiness, with the rate at which job requirements are growing, they accomplished nothing. That is exactly the kind of low expectation objective that is being implemented and celebrated. You do improve somewhat with it if delivered, it will look good to the public, but it means nothing. And then cognitive robots come into the market and the majority of your children will have no chance for a job.

"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. US Education is a national security problem: http://www.cfr.org/united-states/us-education-reform-national-security/p27618.


Our failure level, and market size we are demonstrating make us an ideal target market for robots. That has a positive side, because many companies are dissatisfied with workforce quality and are holding funds so that they can move to states or countries with a better trained workforce.

Look at the chart for teacher turnover below. Turnover typically costs 6-18 months of the salaries of the people replaced. 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 better education 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 SCHOOL DISTRICT OF EVERY US STATE, IT IS THE ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD THAT DETERMINES WHAT OBJECTIVES AND PLANS THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL FOLLOW. With more than 14,500 school districts nationally, performance standardization and achievement becomes an impossibility. Imagine a ball game with 14,500 playing. They just follow their own rules, and don't even know where the goal posts are. And, they cost A LOT of money.

The elected boards have more authority than the state or federal government in areas relating to education 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, our example, such an elected board oversees an organization with more than 8,500 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 even on the individual level let alone for the voting majority. The results can only be terrible under such circumstances.


Who was responsible for these poor results and bad teacher morale in Knox County, Tennessee? The board of education is totally in charge of all decisions about objectives, operating plans and financial decisions under the state law. However, we have a sample of the public running for the school board, and the state education departments do not help them at all with explanations and guide lines in areas where the average person is not familiar with the process - because they don't even know. The people who were responsible for the poor results in Knox County, TN, are the superintendent, and board of education chairs INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE AND MIKE MACMILLAN. Superintendent taught for one year, then managed food service, security and accounting with less than 150 direct employees, never managed a single school before the board hired him with a 5:4 decision to manage 89 schools, more than 8,500 direct employees and a half billion dollar budget.

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 NATIONAL 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 bench marked 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 states' collective influence to ensure that textbooks, digital media, curricula, and assessments are aligned to internationally bench marked 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. This plan was not created by 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, where we set an all time low ACT score. 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 in 2013, is an example of what is possible, when everywhere else the same children are on the bottom. 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 hiring practices. 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.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has an Education Department that tracks the performance of 15 year olds in 73 countries and presents excellent reports on where and what improvements are needed. Key indicators of success per country: http://www.oecd.org/edu/educationataglance2013-indicatorsandannexes.htm#Annex3. Test results (PISA) and detailed reports per country (USA Status Report, http://www.oecd.org/edu/EAG2014-Indicator%20D4%20(eng).pdf). Per country education analysis and polices: http://gpseducation.oecd.org/Home. What countries' teachers spend the most hours teaching (compare to top performing countries Finland and Korea): http://www.oecd.org/education/skills-beyond-school/48631419.pdf. Class size makes a difference in outcomes if less than 20 students: http://www.classsizematters.org/research-and-links/.

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.

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 86%. They will be replaced by robots by 2025.





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":



...and if you would like to understand more about the future in depth, here is Dr. Ray Kurzweil,a brilliant man, head of AI and Robotics at Google (http://www.kurzweilai.net/) a world famous scientist, whose accuracy of forecasting future events and developments has been more than 85% accurate.


 

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