We Are Not Getting The Truth About What Is Important About Our Children's Public School Education. We Are Getting The Truth Only About Good News That Happens To Be Less Important.

There are many truths. Some important, some not so important. For example, on a state test, fourth graders' tests improved five percent. It is celebrated in the news. On the end of high school national test that shows readiness to be trained for a job, 75% of the students who graduated with a diploma are not ready to be trained for a job. It is not even mentioned in the news. Which test result is more important for your child when selecting a school?

Under revision. Updated on 11/28/2015.


"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either."
Albert Einstein

In 2014, ACT - the testing organization - reported that only 26% of our graduates nationwide with a high school diploma were ready to be trained for a job or have a chance to complete only the first year of a college or tech school. That means that 74% or about 2.9 million high school graduates not even counting dropouts, were not ready for other than minimum wage jobs that will last a year or two. We have a new class of robots coming starting in 2015-2016, that can communicate, learn on their own from Internet knowledge databases, make decisions and do an excellent quality job for less than minimum wage employees, without a bad attitude. They are called cognitive robots. It is forecasted that by 2025 they will have one third of all our jobs. Among black high school graduates, 95% were not ready. 95%! At the same time a charter school chain in NYC (Success Academy Schools) with poor, inner city black students in 32 schools scored top one percent in math in the New York State Common Core Tests beating even most private schools. 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. Excellent results are possible, but not the way we have been running public schools in any state. The "not ready percentages" of our public schools have been increasing. That clearly means that our leaders did nothing that solves the problem and allowed the school districts to pass only good news to the public via their large PR Groups in the school districts, misinforming the public to date. In stark contrast, private schools produced graduates with 90-100% average readiness instead of the 26% average readiness in our public schools.

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."
Galileo Galilei

The graph below shows a very dangerous situation. We graduate from high school about 3.7 million children. 74% of them each year are "NOT ACT READY" nationally. Some groups and states are much worse. That means not ready for job training or to enter a college or tech school, unless it is for remedial training that makes up what they did not learn in high school. At the same time, we have three million jobs unfilled (http://staffingtalk.com/3-million-unfilled-job-openings-america/) because employers cannot find potential employees with the qualifications they need. EACH OF ABOUT 13,500 US SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE GUARANTEED INCOME BY LAW TO BE AT LEAST THE SAME AS THE PRIOR YEAR'S SPENDING, THEIR BOARDS OF EDUCATION AND SUPERINTENDENTS SET VAGUE OBJECTIVES AND WRITE THEIR OWN PERFORMANCE EVALUATION THAT THE BOARD APPROVES, THERE IS ENORMOUS WASTEFUL SPENDING THAT DOES NOT IMPROVE RESULTS, EXCESSIVE MANAGEMENT SPENDING FOR EXAMPLE WHILE STUDENTS INCREASED 14% BETWEEN 1995 AND 2014 BUT ADMINISTRATORS WERE INCREASED 130% AND IN ADDITION ADMINISTRATORS HIRED THEIR OWN STAFF - AND THE RESULTS DID NOT INCREASE BUT DECLINED. IT IS OBVIOUS THAT BOARDS AND SUPERINTENDENTS DO NOT TALK TO EMPLOYERS ABOUT THEIR NEEDS, AN IMPORTANT AREA THAT OUR SCHOOLS SHOULD BE SATISFYING. Clearly, there is a major problem the way our primary and secondary schools are managed. The chart's data is based on ACT's Readiness Reports between 2014 and 2010 about students who earned a HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. We did not add dropout figures during high school. More than 50% of ANY demographic group and in one case more than 95% are NOT PREPARED WELL ENOUGH BY THE HIGH SCHOOLS for job training, or to have a chance, just a chance, to finish the first year of a college or tech school only. See ACT scores explained: http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html This poor performance goes back many decades. What do you think will happen to our children and grandchildren in such huge numbers? This is like a powder keg, ready to explode. What is much worse is the fact nationally that 95% of our black children with a regular high school diploma are also not ready! 95%! In Tennessee it is 98%. WE HAVE CREATED A SITUATION THAT CAN BLOW UP ANY TIME, unless we fix public education fast, grades one to twelve, with a sense of urgency. Not just "patching" by providing an additional two years of education. That just puts more financial burden on the public instead of fixing the real problem: poor performance from grade one to twelve. A patch will not correct but a small percentage of the 80%+ ACT Unreadiness, the system's failure rate. It is the K12 system itself that needs fixing.

"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."
Winston Churchill

See: Our educational decline has been jeopardizing our national security: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshallcrotty/2012/03/26/7-signs-that-americas-educational-decline-is-jeopardizing-its-national-security/.

Our school systems are failing 74% of our children nationally (76% in our example Knox County, Tennessee).

What would you do if in the only hospital available to you, 74-76% of patients became infected with an incurable debilitating infection? 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 74-76% 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 major change is needed. If we see a 5-10% higher ACT or SAT objective than the prior year's actual score in school districts, a change for the better has a chance. No such objective, no chance. There is no change for the better without such focus from the top down in management.

Some may say "You are too negative - where is the good news?!"

With the disastrous results above, when we are one of the highest spenders in the world per student, there is no good news for the majority of public schools.

The good news is that our children and teachers could produce far better results with well-trained and experienced leadership in school districts, and a few state-level changes. The good news is in private schools, and in some charter schools producing not a 70-90% failure rate WITH A DIPLOMA IN HAND like our public schools, but 90-100% readiness for job or higher learning readiness.

Our black students have a 95-99% failure rate in our public schools. However, the 32-charter school Success Academy Schools in NYC, in the worst poor, demographic areas of the city, like Harlem, scored top one percent in the New York State Common Core tests in math with poor inner city black students, passing even the majority of private schools! The good news is that it can be done.

We lack the CAN DO leadership, management know-how, and interest in what the high performing nations do differently to achieve their high results. We dropped to 36th in the world in 2013 from the top in 1970. We just spend more each year without improving results. We must learn about what the best countries in education are doing to get fabulous results, but we seem to be not interested. That is what we must change. Knowing that it is possible is great news! BUT WE MUST CHANGE.

The Knox County, Tennessee performance trend is close to national average, but high school graduates with a diploma are poorly prepared for employment or further learning. Such poor preparation is weakening the workforce.

These problems are still solvable. Read here about the challenges and suggested actions.

Click on the picture to read the article.

History of American public elementary and secondary education: it appears that since 1970 spending per student skyrocketed. So did staffing with small increase in students. However, what students have learned, went nowhere to this day, although job requirements and related knowledge have both increased. The ACT scores show what a student learned from grade one to twelve. These scores declined and stay in an area showing poor readiness to be trained for a job or to go on to further education in college or a technical school (data and sources below). A long book goes further back in history providing information about influential groups, some of the wealthiest families, and Congressional decisions that negatively influenced American education with actions starting during the 1800's. We suggest reading at least Chapter 2: Deliberate Dumbing Down. It may be of interest to you to look at this 8th-grade test from 1912 from Shepherdsville, KY. The majority of today's 8th graders could not pass this test. Most of today's high school graduates could not pass it. That shows that we are teaching our children less today in elementary school than we did in 1912, more than a hundred years ago.

These problems are still solvable. Read here about the challenges and suggested actions.

A shocking example from Knoxville, Tennessee is all too common. Local manufacturing businesses hired several times high school graduates with a regular diploma from Fulton or Central High Schools with identical results. The boss asked the young man to mark a 2 and 3/8" by 4 and 2/3" rectangular area from the corner of a sheet of material, handing him a ruler and pencil. The young man did not have any questions AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. He was a high school graduate!! Another young man was taught what number to dial into each of three dials in a machine and press the start button, given this info in writing. The supervisor had to correct him every single time FOR TWO WEEKS before deciding that they cannot use this employee with a high school diploma. This is what the ACT UNREADINESS means in actual practice.

The public is given by the school district's PR Department education-related news that is more positive than reality. Even the easy state tests have a low score. For example, the maximum score on the state test in Tennessee, the TCAP, is 500. A typical score range achieved by students would be 200-250. For our example we are using 250 or 50%. 50% normally would be an "F". Since it looks bad as an "F", the state education department translates it with the governor's approval every year through a process called "cut scores" to a "A", TO MAKE IT LOOK BETTER THAN AN "F" - WHICH IT IS. Any test, especially a state test, was designed for a specific subject to test a specific end-of-course knowledge-level of a grade like the 4th or 8th grade. Why is it necessary then to "translate" its result to something much better in the extreme than what the students actually achieved with the test that was specifically designed for a specific subject in a specific grade? It was either designed with an enormous mistake (not likely), or the designer purposefully made it twice as hard as it should be (not likely), OR THE SCORE IS BEING MISREPRESENTED PURPOSEFULLY TO COVER THE POOR PUBLIC EDUCATION RESULT AND MAKE IT LOOK MUCH BETTER TO THE PUBLIC, WITH THE LEADERSHIP HAVING THE NERVE TO CELEBRATE THE "CUT SCORE" RESULT! If a score without misrepresentation is improving but stays at the "F" level, why do a big public celebration with the media, superintendent and he governor present? Will that increase the ACT Readiness of the students? It does not.

The state of Tennessee puts emphasis on increasing the percentage of high school graduates with a diploma as THE objective for high schools. Many other states do the same. However, too many "graduates" cannot do the simplest things. More than 80% of such graduates with a diploma are not ready for job training, or to finish even the first year of a non-remedial college or tech school program. The national percentage was 74% in 2014. The minimum requirement for being elected a school board member is...to be a high school graduate. Some school districts have a BILLION dollar budget - all budgets are guaranteed by law not to be less than what was spent the previous year. The elected boards of education write their vague objectives - and write their own performance evaluation. They make ALL DECISIONS under the law, and some school districts have close to ten thousand employees - yet no management training and experience. According to ACT, some high schools graduate 95-97% (national average 74%) of their students WITH A REGULAR DIPLOMA WHO ARE NOT READY TO BE TRAINED FOR A JOB! The result is - unknown to the public - that a high school diploma is worthless today in 2015. Such a child will have a terrible life because cognitive robotics will take their jobs. Our education system, and ultimately the governor is responsible. They will argue that the parents are responsible for the poor results, and they need more money! Well, we are the fifth highest spender per student in the world, delivering the 36th result. WHO DECIDED TO GIVE SUCH UNEDUCATED CHILDREN A DIPLOMA?! How can our governors be so uninformed and indecisive that they allow such things to happen for decades?! Why didn't our legislators and elected leaders solve this problem decades ago? The skyrocketing education spending and the results going nowhere were documented since 1970! Not a single elected leader acted on it such that the ACT and SAT scores went up. They are the ones that count.


Who is responsible for such poor results? Boards and superintendents carefully point at the teachers, after all, the students are the products of the classrooms. However, when management restricts workers so that they cannot do their best, management is responsible. If state laws restrict management, then the state is responsible. See this area in more detail here: http://www.usaedustat.com/1sevenactions.html.

The school boards will never have an ACT or SAT score objective that is just a little, e.g., 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. They don't know how to achieve that. This would be important to focus the leadership of the education district to start producing better results. 5-10% is a small percentage when your performance is as low as ours. At least 80% of our children should be ready for job training or tech school upon graduation. Only 26% are ready nationally according to ACT. A 10% increase would place readiness from 26% to 28.3% readiness. Is that too much to ask? If the ACT score is at 20, would it be too much to increase it 10% to 22? School districts fear such objectives because they and their superintendents don't know how to increase performance as history shows. 74% of our high school graduates nationally are not ready for any job that could support a family of four minimally. That's very low.

We are the only country that does not set national standards in education and provides such standards for uniformly excellent performance. No one can argue the fact that our results declined to a very low level. We dropped to 36th in math internationally (OECD PISA) in 2013. Since 2014, 74% of high school graduates in the US are not prepared to be trained for a job or to enter further education other than remedial education, according to ACT's Readiness Reports. Student results are the product of the teachers. It is a fact that in other countries who do a better job than we educating their children, teachers were in the top third of their Master's program in the subject they will teach. They are also matched to the teaching profession using psychological tests and then they are educated about the latest teaching methodologies. We don't do that. Most of our teachers are less prepared. Our teachers are also poorly managed, they have very low morale. Since teachers produce the results of an education district, it is the job of the board and the superintendent to HELP the teachers to improve instead of hindering them. They hinder them. More about this later.

Some people have been convinced that they want local control in everything as if that will raise performance. That is what we had all these years. We dropped from the top to 36th in the world. IT...DOES...NOT...WORK! 74% of those children with a high school diploma are not ready to be employed but only temporarily. In some places like Knox County, Tennessee, board members receive $25-28k compensation and they have no term limits. They also have a professional PR group with power to elect a new candidate or not. People get used to such a compensation, and that creates problems. Most school districts do not have such compensation for board members. Board membership is a voluntary position in many school districts. The decision-making majority of locally elected boards proven over decades how poorly they will do with every little school district setting its standards.

TO PRODUCE EXCELLENT RESULTS, YOU HAVE TO PLAN GLOBALLY (e.g. state-wide in this case) AND ACT LOCALLY (e.g. in individual school districts).

There are very strange ideas coming out of the school districts against ideas and entities. For example, "corporate ideas" whatever they are. Another is the "bad" Gates Foundation that donates billions per year to many causes. Bill Gates started Microsoft in his parent's garage, worked hard, created millions of jobs and made many millionaires in his company. Another "bad" thing is "schools for profit", whatever they are, and charter schools, claiming that they take money away from public schools. Doesn't the public, who pays for the public schools, deserve a choice of schools for their children, instead of being sentenced to the many bad public schools that destroy their children's lives? There is an excellent solution to this "problem". Public schools, do a better job than the other alternatives! WHAT WE NEED ARE EXCELLENT SCHOOLS THAT TEACH OUR CHILDREN WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED, AND DO IT MUCH BETER THAN IN THE PAST.. To achieve excellence in any field, one needs competition. To have competition in education, parents need the right to send their children to any school that accepts them. Vouchers would enable the parent to afford that financially if the voucher's value to the school of parental choice equals the average expense of a student in the same school district. WE NEED A VARIETY OF SCHOOLS COMPETING, BY ANY NAME, THAT DO AN EXCELLENT JOB TO ENSURE THE EMPLOYABILITY OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, WHATEVER THEY BECOME. ISN'T THAT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO ALL OF US?

Under the education laws, if individual school boards do not have an ACT score objective, they cannot be held responsible for it. No penalties for bad results. If they do not have an objective to stay within the budget, they can exceed the budget. No penalties. They do every year, and no one does anything about it. No penalties for overspending. Our results are poor nationally. Superintendents are responsible for the poor results with few exceptions. THE FOX IS IN THE HENHOUSE DESTROYING THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN. In some places, the fox with a silver tongue is the superintendent, destroying the majority of our children and grandchildren getting paid above $200,000 of the parent's, the public's money. The elected board is helpless and gets paid $20-25K per board member in Knox County, Tennessee, for doing what they are told! Just think about this. The governor initiates programs with a great public celebration to increase the results, which do not make a dent in the school district's failure ( ACT UNREADINESS) rate. The governor could do something meaningful. For example, starting to use the right objectives. Such an objective would be an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. The ACT measures what children have learned from grade one to twelve. The governor could initiate annual operating plans with objectives for every administrator or supervisory employee to fix the poor performance of the public schools. We hear that he says "that's too difficult". Why? Because then he has to tell the public the truth about how poorly our public schools are doing, with few exceptions.

Unfortunately, our legislators and political leaders do not have the courage to do anything to change this situation. We are being destroyed internally by an enemy called public education, that produces worse and worse results as the years pass with very few exceptions. Don't believe it? Just look at the record below. Recommendation: if you can, please send your children to a school district that produces a consolidated average ACT score of more than 24.

Student results are limited by the teachers' ability to teach a subject in an excellent manner, and how well the school district's management is allowing and helping the teachers to do their best. John Merrow, PBS: "Schools underpay and mistreat teachers and eventually drive them from the profession; inept school districts cannot find the qualified teachers living under their noses, and substandard training ill prepares educators for the realities of classroom life".

This website is based on published ACT (American College Testing, Inc.) results for the USA ACT scores explained: http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html , and OECD PISA reports for international performance in education (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - Programme for International Student Development), in addition to other named publications below. We made an attempt to identify all sources and examples here for the website to be clear to all readers. We also consolidated the data in charts to show trends. The ACT shows what children learned from grade one to twelve. See ACT scores explained: http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html . Unfortunately, the downtrend of high school results deteriorated to more than 80% of the students who entered 9th grade in the State of Tennessee (or 74% average in the USA) not being prepared for the following. All these children are not ready for job training and do not have a chance to finish the first year of a tech school or college according to ACT. This trend of not being ACT Ready has been decreasing the quality of the workforce, and THAT presents a danger to our employers and the USA itself. This downward progression in education has been going on for more than 40 years.

With the long-term declining primary and secondary education, we are developing a nation of sheep. “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves" (Edward R. Murrow).

Many give excuses for the public schools' poor performance (e.g., "we must take all children", "we cannot be more strict with discipline problems", "we cannot help teachers more for better results" and so on).
How many times did the boards of education and superintendents petition the governor for changes for the better, to remove these problems? If they did not, they own the problem.

We have many in our leadership with promises for which we spent and spend many millions of dollars each year, and the performance (ACT or SAT scores) did not rise. They are the indicator of what our children learned from grade one to twelve. They are the only certain indicator of education improvement, going nowhere. AT THE SAME TIME, NO ONE EVER VISITS THE BEST PERFORMERS IN THE WORLD TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO ACHIEVE SUPERIOR RESULTS. THAT IS HOW WE DROPPED TO 36TH INTERNATIONALLY. We not only do not ask the state for help to solve problem areas. We are also seem to be not interested in how the winners learned to do things better to achieve high results.

Most private schools cost less per student than public schools. Private schools deliver 90-100% ACT READINESS after high school, when public school ACT READINESS is a terrible 2-26% only, for more money per student than the cost of many private schools. Given the poor public school performance, our objective needs to be to deliver more than 80% READINESS per ACT's definition instead of the 2-26% delivered by our public high schools today in 2015. "We must take all children with all behaviors" is an unacceptable excuse. Allowing a child to remain in or return to a class who ruin learning for 10-15 times more children is not just unacceptable but very stupid. Did any board member or superintendent petition the state leadership to place children into a different place if they cannot or are unwilling to learn and make an entire class performance worse by creating discipline problems? If not, you own the problem.

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 much better for work or college than the poorly performing public schools and do it at lower cost per student?

What is more important if you had to make one choice?

1. My child getting a good education to ensure his/her future?

2. Or to ensure the public schools' survival when 80-90% of those attending it, are not going to be ACT Ready to get a job?

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 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.

Why does anyone have to complain about the Gates Foundation, or charter schools or vouchers?

Bill Gates dropped out of college and started Microsoft in his parent's garage with his friend. They worked very hard for decades to make Microsoft a very successful company, creating millions of jobs and making many millionaires of employees. And now he gives away many billions of dollars that HE MADE for many good causes to help those who need help in the world. He has given more than $400 million to education. It would be better if public schools and leadership worried more about their results and improved them.

Many different schools and programs offer much 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?

Considering the long-term declining poor performance of the majority of public schools, having the parental option to send your child to a private or charter school with vouchers so that they are better prepared for the future is a necessity that we should understand. We are graduating almost three million high school graduates who are not ready to be trained for a job, and we have three million open jobs for which the employers cannot find properly educated candidates. If a public high school cannot produce a greater than 50% ACT READINESS, how long should they be educating our children? Look at a charter school chain called Success Academy Schools in NYC. They produce one of the best results from the worst demographic area, with poor inner city black children from NYC.



These problems are solvable. Read here about the challenges and suggested actions.

Taking a quick look into how American high school graduates compare within the world market

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

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.

The following chart covers the test results of 65 countries, among them the best above us. We were on top in 1970. Today we dropped to 36th in math. Going from the top to 36th is not good, and it has created our unemployability problem that is getting worse.

This 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 BEING SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES. We have a major problem the way we manage and conduct education if the results are poor with such level of spending.

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 36th 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, an average ACT score of 25.5 to 26.5 would be needed, instead of 21 nationally and close to it in other states. We are not doing as well as the school district 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.

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 20% ACT Readiness, with the rate at which job requirements are growing, they accomplished nothing. That is exactly the kind of low expectation objectives that are being implemented and celebrated. You do improve somewhat with it if delivered, it will do 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 the new cognitive 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. Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years. Computers making decisions in robotics.

Example of a school district: Knox County, Tennessee

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

The ELECTED board of education is totally in charge of all decisions in any public school district under the state laws. The responsible people for the poor results with our children in Knox County, Tennessee are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board chairs, if they have majority support, INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE, AND MIKE MACMILLAN.

As an example, according to ACT, during the last seven years 79% OR MORE OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WHO ENTERED 9TH GRADE, WERE/ARE NOT READY TO BE TRAINED FOR A JOB AFTER LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL IN KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE. IT IS WORSE IN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE. THE USA AVERAGE IS ONLY SLIGHTLY BETTER. A typical slogan of Jim McIntyre, superintendent in the Knox County, Tennessee school districts is: "WE ARE DOING GREAT THINGS, SETTING NEW RECORDS, WITH EXCELLENCE FOR ALL CHILDREN!". This is not true. There is no excellence for all children with the above ACT Unreadiness that the superintendent keeps from the public. There is no excellence, period. See the actual record above and in other charts below.

The above graph shows how our spending per student and the number of employees hired by school districts increased since 1970, but the results did not. At the same time the world became more technical, robotics and software automation replaced a lot of low-end jobs, and the job requirements increased. That means that the public's general knowledge went down compared to the increase in knowledge that jobs required later. Education contributed to date by delivering lower and lower results than what jobs required.

Although we have many smart people, overall the education system dumbed us down. A school system in New York (32 school Success Academy Schools in NYC) proves that becoming one of the best INTERNATIONALLY is very possible. Of the black inner city students, only 1-2% are ACT-ready to be trained for a job out of high school everywhere generally. Such students, with a 32-school chain called Success Academy Schools of NYC, scored in the top 1% in math and top 3% in English in the entire State of New York, in its Common Core tests, passing not only most public schools but private schools as well. That result is within top ten international performance. ( 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) . So excellence is achievable even with the most challenging students, but not the way we manage education with hundred-year-old methods when the rest of the world improved and modernized.

98% OF BLACK STUDENTS ARE ALSO NOT READY IN TENNESSEE TO BE TRAINED FOR A JOB OR TO ENTER A TECH SCHOOL OR UNIVERSITY EVEN FOR A YEAR. WE ARE CREATING A SITUATION THAT CAN BLOW UP ANY TIME, unless we fix public education fast, grades one to twelve, with a sense of urgency. Not just "patching" by providing an additional two years of remedial education to make up for what the public high school did not provide. That puts more financial burden on the public instead of fixing the real problem: poor performance from grade one to twelve. A patch will not correct but a small percentage of the 80%+ ACT Unreadiness, the system's failure rate. See: Our educational decline has been jeopardizing our national security.

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

The ACT (or Scholastic Aptitude Test, SAT) scores are the key indicators of what students learn from grade one to twelve in Tennessee and other states. As an example, in Knox County, Tennessee, more than 80% of our children who entered 9th grade, have been and are leaving high school unprepared to be trained for a job, or to finish even the first year of a college or tech school.See ACT scores explained . According to community college professors, as much as two years of remedial college study is required to start the first year of a college freshman program, because of poor public high school preparation. Nationally the figure is a little better. A major issue is 98% of black students being unprepared for a job after high school in Knox County, Tennessee (95% nationally). IMAGINE SO MANY UNEMPLOYABLE YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREETS. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN? YOU SHOULD BE SCARED. However, 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 the New York State Common Core tests in 2014, beating the majority of all state public AND private schools ( Success Academy Schools of New York City 1, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2). New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA. Tennessee is close to the bottom. Clearly something is very wrong and major changes are needed in the public school systems in the way our school districts are managed.

The ELECTED board of education is totally in charge of all decisions under the state law. The people who are responsible for the poor results in Knox County, Tennessee, are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board of education chairs, if majority supported, INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE, MIKE MACMILLAN.

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

OECD PISA tests 65 nations' 15-year olds(includes OECD plus partner countries for taking PISA; partner countries are excluded to make us look better in many reports) every three years. The USA dropped to a new low of 36th in mathematics in the OECD PISA test results published in 2013. We used to be among the top nations in 1970.

See: OECD Study Based On The Top 65 Countries: What Makes Schools Successful?Since the US is 36th, this should be of great interest to those who want to improve.

Massachusetts' students rank 1st in the US in math. Hong Kong's students rank among the top 5 in the world. The US is 36th, a new low record in math in 2013 (OECD-PISA tests of 65 countries). The best in our country do not come CLOSE to matching even the top 20 in the world. 87% of the questions on the Hong Kong test require a higher level of thinking and knowledge. Only 6% of questions on the Massachusetts test are on the same level. These figures express how woefully behind we are( http://iadvocateforkids.org/PTA/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/CCSShandout4pg-FINAL.pdf, Page 3). Our example, Tennessee is close to last in the USA, worse than Massachusetts. The curriculum to get a high school diploma is more rigorous in the top 20 countries than ours. However, one needs well trained teachers in the subjects to be taught. Internationally that means a Master's degree in the subject that a teacher will be teaching. In most of the leading countries in education, the curriculum defines what each course is to achieve by year-end and the teachers who have a Master's degree in the subjects they teach, decide individually what and how they will teach and in what sequence to achieve the curriculum requirement. US teachers do not. International teachers come from the top 10-30% of their Master's program in the subject that they will teach. US teachers come from the bottom 30% of their classes with an education degree (BA or BS) that covers a little of a number of subjects. In US school districts one often finds teachers switched to teach a subject in which they had no training. We have some work to do. US teachers not only start with a handicap but are managed so poorly that their morale is suffering. THAT is a very bad combination for creating successful high school graduates in large enough numbers.

The most important outcome of K-12 education (grades 1 to 12) is to have at least 80% students who entered 9th grade prepared to be employed or ready for the next level of job or university training. Currently in 2015, less than 20% are ready in Tennessee, and 24% US wide.If not employable with enough income to live on, he/she will have a terrible life. We have been creating too many such children leaving high school. The ACT has been shown to be a reliable measure of those outcomes yet we have not included it in our education district's objectives. Instead, school districts use vague objectives and give themselves excellent ratings to mask the poor performance from the public. A goal must be to lower the current 80%+ ACT (average score 20.4) UNREADINESS/FAILURE RATE, counting from 9th-grade entry of those leaving high school. We must lower the ACT Unreadiness percentage of our high school students from 80%+ in Tennessee (or 76% in the US) to 20% to be competitive. See ACT scores explained. "UNREADINESS" means no tech school, college or trade job training possibility, with minimum wage opportunity only, most of which will be replaced by cognitive robotics, a new class of robots, by 2020-2022. 20% ACT UNREADINESS would require a 25.5 to 26.5 ACT average. A 5% average ACT score increase per year until an acceptable performance is reached, is minimal and reasonable. Also reasonable would be tying the superintendent's performance review to something measurable such as this minimal 5% ACT increase. As of now the Knox County, Tennessee 5-year strategic plan created by James McIntyre, superintendent, is filled with unmeasurable goals and objectives that are assuring poor results year after year. It is full of claims that are not true like "Excellence for all children". Go to example of Knox County, Tennessee School System objectives.

Experts predict robots will take over 30% of our jobs by 2025, only ten years away.The start will be gradual from 2016. That means that 25% of today's high school graduates who are ACT Ready (that is less than 20% of those who entered 9th grade), will not have but only ten years of working life unless they increase their job-related knowledge beyond what the job requirements are at any one time. Job requirements have always increased and will continue to increase faster. We cannot keep saying that some people are just not suited for college. Unless they are seriously learning disabled, it is not true. It is the poor high school education that MAKES THEM LOOK LIKE NOT SUITED FOR COLLEGE. A big difference. College education will be the way to have the needed knowledge. The time will come when a graduate degree in demand will be needed to ensure a normal working life. Those 80%+ who are NOT ACT READY today, will become jobless faster unless they keep improving their education to stay in knowledge above the cognitive robots that can communicate, understand, learn and make decisions. I noticed during the 1980s that it was common practice in Japan for the large Japanese companies to support employees to obtain an advanced degree. Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years. Computers making decisions in robotics.

Some say that private or charter schools do not have to take all children, but public schools do, and that is why public school results are worse (80%+ ACT Unreadiness upon graduation in public schools vs. 10% or less ACT Unreadiness in private schools.). Charter and private schools have a very small capacity to take in such children. Public schools are huge compared to them, so any impact would be small, if any. Some also claim that charter and private schools take money away from public schools leaving only the poor performers. Public schools get funding based on the number of students they have. The US is the fifth largest spender per student in the world (OECD PISA data) creating the 36th result in math. With 80%+ of those leaving our high schools not being ACT Ready, we need other schools that can create better results than most of our public schools do. Parents deserve the right to send their children to the best schools and we feel that the per student allocation of about $10,000 for public schools should be transferable to a school of parental choice. We need competition among schools and let the best performers get the money by parental choice. If a public school's poor performance becomes worse because of this, then let them figure out how to become better. IF THEY CANNOT IMPROVE SIGNIFICANTLY ENOUGH, THEN WHY WASTE MORE MONEY ON THEM? TRANSFER THE MONEY WASTED BY POORLY PERFORMING SCHOOLS TO THOSE ABOVE THEM.

These problems are solvable. Read here about the challenges and suggested actions.

There are too many children in our public schools who do not work hard, and create discipline problems all of which are destructive to entire classes of children in a school for a day or more. They can throw things at a teacher and be destructive, but the schools are soft on them. They are sent home one day and they come back the next, a role model to some other badly behaving children. The parents, in contrast to a few decades ago, believe "little Johnny", because "my little Johnny never lies to me". The little Johnnies have a bad attitude, feel that they are entitled to everything, believe that they are the best, and do not feel that they actually have to work hard and do a good job. At the same time the jobs and the job market became a lot tougher than a few years ago. We are producing poorly performing kids with a bad attitude for a tougher job environment. HAVE WE GONE CRAZY?!

We have three million jobs unfilled for lack of qualifications for these jobs. See ( http://staffingtalk.com/3-million-unfilled-job-openings-america/). We have approximately 3.7 million children graduating from high schools each year who are unemployable. Perhaps a different institution needs to be established for such children - AND the schools need to be intolerant of bad behavior.
Our public school results are poor and we cannot afford to be all things to all parents or children with our schools if we want better results and a better workforce. Public schools must be for learning at the highest level and not for being a baby sitting service. If public schools cannot change fast enough, then we need the voucher system for ALL parents in order for them to have the option to send their child to ANY school: public, private or charter school, in order to get the best education possible for their children.After all, they are paying for it through their taxes. Look at the Success Academy Schools of NYC ( 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). 32 schools, all poor black minority children, who scored in the top one percent in the State of New York. And our black children have only a 2% readiness per ACT to be employable? Obviously we could do much better with better boards and superintendents.

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

A close second to improving ACT Readiness is improving the low teacher morale. How can we achieve the best results with children if teacher morale is poor?The board and superintendent must resolve such things by giving teachers full authority in the classroom to rule immediately on any discipline problem such that the child will not repeat it, and by reducing activities that cut down on teaching time such as paperwork, and tests beyond the state requirement. Turnover in any job with a college education background costs 6-18 months of the salary and benefits of those employees who are leaving, depending on the complexity of the job. Maintaining high morale is essential for the best possible student results and for preventing unnecessary spending that is the result of mistakes in selecting and keeping employees at all levels who cannot do their job well.

In more detail:

NOTE: What do you think the end result will be if the state itself sets the performance goals for school districts, when the state is even a worse performer? Unfortunately it is common in poorly performing organizations to set low objectives and targets. Tennessee is not an exception.

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

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

There are a few US schools and 35 countries (OECD-PISA the US is 36th) who produce better results than we do and we are not interested in how the top ones are achieving that. Management training and experience at the appropriate levels in school districts does not exist, AND THIS IS ITS RESULT.

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

Please go through the explanation of ACT reports to understand the scores and ACT's definition of "Readiness" after high school. The job done by the state education department, state leadership and our school districts caused this situation.

I wonder if our state education department has ever given any thought to how poorly we are preparing the young generation, its consequences on our economy and survival as a state. Obviously no one lost any sleep over this matter. More than six letters to Governor Bill Haslam went unanswered or perhaps were transferred to the education department, who have also been unable to answer any questions about this situation since 2010.

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

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

We permit classroom behaviors with very light punishment that obstruct teacher effort and disturb all students in that class for at least a day. For example, a student threw feces at a teacher during class as he returned from the men's room. The punishment by the principal was sending him home after the principal "cross-examined" the teacher and the offender in his office. The teacher and offending student "cross examination" together destroys the teacher's authority further. The next day the offender came to school and now he had five more followers in misbehavior in the same class. Making a hero out of the offender as we do with light punishment is very foolish. One cannot help but wonder about the people being employed in decision making position in the state department of education and in the education districts themselves. I cannot get over the cross examination of the teacher and guilty student simultaneously.
  • It reduces the ability of any teacher to teach these underperforming or ill behaved children.
  • Offenders take great pleasure in insulting teachers, and even hitting them. The teacher becomes the "punching" bag for bad children. The light punishment makes it cheap entertainment, elevating the offender's image to his/her friends.
  • American teachers have to do: the most classroom hours in the world, the most paperwork, and the most tests. However, they have no authority to instantly rule on discipline problems. That is what teachers need to keep the teachers' image and authority high in the eyes of students.
  • There are many good teachers and some who would be more successful in another profession. There is vocational match-testing for teaching in many countries at the university level but not in the US. Two tests correlated in the US would do an excellent job in this area: the Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Intelligence Inventory. Unfortunately, we have many teachers who chose teaching as their major in college because the original major they picked was too hard. Many US colleges and universities have a weak curriculum for a degree in teaching. Within our school districts, teachers are transferred from the class where they know the subject to teach classes for which they had no training. In the high-performing countries a teacher above 4th grade has a master's degree in the subject in order to teach that subject. Our situation requires continuing education support for teachers. In Knox County, Tennessee the superintendent stopped supporting teachers to obtain a master's degree.
All of the above reduces effective teaching time. We need a continuing education program in most subjects, as other countries are doing to create more excellent teachers.
  • The teachers need to be in command of the classroom if we want better results and measure teacher performance in an effective manner.
  • Low teacher morale is very common. 250 teachers came to a board meeting in Knox County, Tennessee to express their dissatisfaction in August 2014. When people go public with complaints, there are at least ten times as many who feel that way. That makes approximately the entire teacher group dissatisfied in this county. Low morale is always a top management problem, the board or superintendent cause it or fixes it.
  • Most superintendents and boards look at teacher complaints as a bad thing to be hidden or avoided. They do not want to find out what the reasons are behind it for fear of having to make changes elsewhere in the organization.
  • Some superintendents need to learn that managing by fear autocratically makes things worse. You will not be able to replace all teachers. Why has not the board and superintendent fix all such problems even if it required a request to the state for legislative action?
  • Employee turnover is very expensive. It costs 6-9 months of salary minimum for every single college educated teacher or person who leaves, resigns, retires or is fired - plus the cost of damage the poor hiring choices have done after being hired. This applies to all positions including the superintendent, who delivered Knox County, Tennessee more than 80% of the students who entered 9th grade NOT ACT READY after high school, since 2008. That is huge damage. The education board members, with more than one year on the board, did nothing about it.

  • The ELECTED board of education is totally in charge of all decisions under the state law. The people who are responsible for the poor results, low teacher morale and high teacher turnover in Knox County, TN, are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board of education chairs, if supported by the majority, INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE AND MIKE MACMILLAN.

    Look at the example for turnover analysis below. It is very costly. We are not showing total turnover expense, but only the portion that could be saved with better people management.

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

    We have a big problem. IN EVERY 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 13,500 school districts nationally, performance standardization and achievement becomes an impossibility.

    The elected boards have more authority than the state or federal government in areas relating to results, spending and operating ratios. Board membership requires only a high school diploma. The end of high school results (ACT and SAT) are very poor. Imagine that in the case of Knox County, Tennessee, 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.

    No laws exist to achieve a good average ACT or SAT score by the end of high school and to do it all based on the budget that the district board approved before the start of the school year. More importantly, MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES from the state to the school boards do not exist to achieve some uniformity for better performance at normal expense levels. Under any state law, one cannot blame the superintendent and the board if they have poor results, unless the board created a specific objective first to reach better results. If such an objective was not created by the board, poor performance is making most children failures for life. No one can create a change under current education law. Boards and superintendents avoid such "liability" by purposefully not having objectives about things like average ACT score achievement or not exceeding the approved budget. Just look at the examples of objectives below.

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

    Sadly, that is what we have in Knox County, Tennessee.

    Who was responsible for these poor results and bad teacher morale in Knox County, Tennessee?

    The board of education is totally in charge of all decisions under the state law. The people who are responsible for the poor results in Knox County, TN, are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board of education chairs INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE AND MIKE MACMILLAN.

    Superintendent Jim McIntyre 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

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

    • Action 1: Upgrade state standards by adopting a common core of internationally benchmarked standardsin 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 benchmarked standards and draw on lessons from high performing nations and states.
    • Action 3: Revise state policies for recruiting, preparing, developing, and supporting teachers and school leaders to reflect the human capital practices of top-performing nations and states around the world.
    • Action 4: Hold schools and systems accountable through monitoring, interventions, and support to ensure consistently high performance, drawing upon international best practices.
    • Action 5: Measure state-level education performance globally by examining student achievement and attainment in an international contextto 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, 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.

    Good student results appear to depend on:
    • Very few objectives that focuses the organization on the best indicator of academic and financial performance (an ACT or SAT score that is higher than the last one achieved, plus expenses vs. the approved budget),
    • A sound annual operating plan with appropriate performance and financial objectives on the level of every management and supervisory personnel in the schools and in central management,
    • Excellent continuing teacher education program in the subjects they teach and on teaching methodologies that seem to be improved every year in the highest performing countries,
    • High teacher morale ensured by caring management on top: the board and superintendent, and
    • Class size kept under 30.

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has an Education Department that tracks the performance of 15 year olds in 65 countries and presents excellent reports on where 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%.

For black students the percentage of those not ready for a job is 98%. The public is unaware of these facts. The black student figures are very disturbing. A chain of charter schools with poor black inner city children ( Success Academy Schools of New York City 1: 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.


Knox County, Tennessee School District's Objectives

What we have are two different groups of unmeasurable, unclear objectives IN 2015. One is on the board's website. The second set is in the Superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan.
In the school district's website:
The superintendent mentions that: "In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is:
  • "100% of students completing high school" (What is the value of "completing" high school with 80% of those who entered 9th grade not being ready per ACT but for minimum wage jobs at best?)
  • "At least 90% graduating with a regular diploma" (What is the value of a diploma when 77% of those with a regular diploma are not even ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school per ACT?)
  • "At least 90% of our graduates taking the ACT, and" (All students take the ACT by law. What is the value here? Just taking a test has zero value in any case.)
  • "At least 90% of ACT takers scoring a 21 or better" (An average ACT 21 score means that 73-75% of those who entered in 9th grade are NOT ACT READY and are prepared for minimum wage jobs only. This is a shamefully low objective. A neighboring school district's objective is ACT 27. The top twenty countries in education are delivering high school students in an ACT equivalent range of 26 to 31)."
In the superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan we have these different objectives that are also not appropriate, unclear, not measurable, neither academic nor spending related.
  • "Guarantee Excellence in Teaching and Learning."
  • "Personalize Learning"
  • "Facilitate High Quality Student Supports"
  • "Build & Support Our Community of Learners"
  • "Build & Support Our Community of Leaders"
  • "Value Our Hardworking People"
  • "Build & Strengthen Our "One Big Team""
  • "Invite & Earn Stakeholder Feedback"
  • "Improve Customer Service & Communication"
Are these easy to understand, clear, measurable academic objectives and a spending objective vs. the approved budget? Of course not. Can you tell what measurable result to reach in each one? Of course not. That is the reason for poor performance. No one is going to pay attention to such objectives, and when they are not measurable, there can be no possible consequence. Ignoring it works. What becomes important is to please your boss and shield any complaints from him. Anyone can come up with excuses for the ACT score not improving. And the boss needs good excuses so he/she will appreciate you for it. That is the effect of too many objectives that are not measurable to see with certainty if they were met or not.

Poor teacher morale is very common and it is a major impediment to good performance:
  • Teacher morale is low and too many superintendents don't know how to solve that basic management problem without being defensive with structured "satisfaction surveys". 250 of our teachers demonstrated at an August 2014 board meeting about how they are being treated. It is a management fact that when you have a number of overt complaints as in this case, there are at least ten times as many employees behind it. That makes almost all teachers having the same feelings about their jobs. The resolution in a situation like this is an anonymous, confidential 3rd party survey that is open ended and not structured. Structured surveys are multiple choice and can be structured to a specific conclusion.
  • The elected boards and superintendents make up their own approximately 8-15 vague objectives, and then they give themselves excellent performance reviews based on those objectives, while their compensation is guaranteed. This method actually ensures no focus on any objective, and poor performance as a result. In a poorly performing environment, management needs to be focused on a single objective for performance.
  • The ACT or SAT score measures what children have learned from grade 1 to 12. There is no single performance objective in any school district that is an ACT score that is only 5% higher than the last one achieved. That is what is needed.
  • The approved budget is not taken seriously and spending rises as performance declines. There is no objective to not exceed the budget.
  • Teacher product knowledge and teaching methodology needs updating to the top ten internationals' level ( Reference1: http://hechingered.org/content/research-suggests-poor-quality-of-teacher-training-programs-in-u-s-compared-to-other-countries_6420/, Reference2: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/opinion/why-students-do-better-overseas.html?pagewanted=all, Reference3: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/03/ u_s_science_teachers_are_behind_in_training_degree_requirements.html).
  • In the top performing countries teachers above 3rd grade were among the top ten percent in their master's degree program for the subject they are teaching. Teachers under 4th grade have a master's degree in education. Teacher pay is only average in the high performing countries, but job satisfaction is very high with very low turnover.
  • ACT Readiness, unreadiness (not being ready) and how we calculate the results are explained at http://usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html.

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

    Look at the Knox County, Tennessee high school ACT score trends for 11 years in the second chart below. One has a slight increase and the rest are declining. According to ACT in 2014 the best high school, Farragut, had only a 45% Readiness (first chart). That means that 55% of the graduates were not ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school. In the worst high schools 98-99% are NOT ACT READY (e.g., Austin East and Fulton). The worst high schools have been getting more than twice the funding per student of the best high schools over the 11 year period. IT MADE NO DIFFERENCE. The poor performers just keep going down. THE MONEY IS CLEARLY NOT BEING SPENT FOR THE RIGHT THINGS TO RAISE RESULTS. We as a country also are delivering the lowest result among the industrialized countries. In a chart further down, we can see that we are spending more money per student than most of the high performing countries in the world. We have become the fifth highest spender per student in the world. "Unreadiness" means spotty minimum wage jobs with eventual homelessness. Starting in 2016, cognitive robots will start eliminating employment possibilities for these poorly prepared children, except for those who enter a university to pursue a degree in demand. The more difficult degrees. The future looks discouraging for marginal students who graduated from our high schools. That's more than 80% of those who entered 9th grade in Tennessee, will not be ready for job training after leaving high school. The Governor and his leadership initiate only small impact programs that will not make any difference, when the entire school system needs to be made more productive. We need eight education laws amended. Experts predict that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots: http://www.businessinsider.com/experts-predict-that-one-third-of-jobs-will-be-replaced-by-robots-2015-5.

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

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

    On the board's website, the superintendent's presentation says this about HIS OBJECTIVE:
    "In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is:
    1. 100% of students completing high school (What is the value of "completing" high school with 80% of those who entered 9th grade not being ready per ACT but for minimum wage jobs at best?)
    2. At least 90% graduating with a regular diploma (What is the value of a diploma when 77% of those with a regular diploma are not even ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school per ACT?)
    3. At least 90% of our graduates taking the ACT, and (All students take the ACT by law. What is the value here? Just taking a test has zero value in any case.)
    4. At least 90% of ACT takers scoring a 21 or better" (An average ACT 21 score means that 73-75% of those who entered in 9th grade are NOT ACT READY and are prepared for minimum wage jobs only. This is a shamefully low objective. A neighboring school district's objective is ACT 27. The top twenty countries in education are delivering high school students in an ACT equivalent range of 26 to 31).
    It should be very clear to anyone that this 100/90/90/90 objective that the board and superintendent have been using makes no sense and it is not appropriate for improving the results. Objectives that are vague, not 100% in line with THE key indicator of success in the activity, the ACT score, or are a limit instead of a very specific target to reach, simply do not work. When one includes such elements in an objective, the entire objective will not work and become confusing.

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

    These problems are solvable. More about that further down.


    Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.

    Overspending the budget

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

    The "Current" Budget is overspent 15-18% every single year (2008-2014), and we get the above poor results for it. The state publishes the Grand Total Education Expense Spent in the school district, that is overspent 28-38% every year beyond the approved budget, including the capital and interest expenses covering school renovations and new schools that the education department decides to perform or build respectively, but excluding them from the budget they present. Even the Grand Total doesn't include all education-related expenses. All this points to another very important thing that is not being done: ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING.

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

    When one sees a five year plan, with simply a fixed percentage increase on activities every year, and then adds a tenth year result that looks very good, no serious planning went into that plan. The superintendent in such a case prepared a "selling document only", it is always a beautiful colorful document, but without any serious planning.

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

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

    A half truth is a whole lie.
    Yiddish Proverb

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

    All things are possible - if one is smart.

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

    These problems are solvable. More about that further down.

    Excessive administrator overload

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

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

    All Central Management employees, meaning all school district employees who do not work for a school and whose performance evaluation is not performed by a school principal or the principal's staff, must not exceed 1% (one percent) of the school district's total employees. Reference the second graph below. The Knox County, Tennessee school district exceeds this limit by more than 600%!

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

    These problems are solvable. More about that further down.

    "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

    Minor programs at more public expense without improving the ACT scores

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    These problems are solvable. More about that further down.

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

    What is happening to our workforce as a result?

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

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

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

    The results of poor management

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

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

    The needed improvement of our education results depends on how quickly we will recognize both our management and teacher challenges, and act to solve them all at the earliest. When 250 teachers show up at a board meeting to complain, as in 2013 in Knox County, Tennessee, in an autocratically managed school district, that is very significant. In business, if you see a complaint, there are more than ten behind it with the same feelings who did not want to go public. That makes this entire school district's teachers very dissatisfied in this case: http://www.wate.com/story/23897839/knox-county-teachers-voice-opposition-to-new-evaluations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hiding the bad results from the public

    "A half truth is a whole lie" - says a Yiddish proverb.
    "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 are instruments of 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 36th place in math, a new all time low record - that's the bottom of the industrialized countries. Our education spending per student is the fifth highest in the world. Our school districts are always pushing for more money as the solution to fix the poor results. We also do not identify for the public all of the money we spend on education. Some such moneys are comingled with non-education related expenses and hidden in different cost centers. I think that the public who is paying for the poor results and high expense levels deserves to get a detailed accounting of how much money we really spend on education-related expenses.

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

    The poorly educated workforce, mostly untrainable (80% per ACT), is a major concern of corporations who are paying most of the taxes. To do well, they need a well-trained workforce. They are holding onto cash instead of hiring. To survive, they will have to expand elsewhere or move entirely, or depend on the new generation of cognitive robots. This trend just started happening. Read about the first example in Japan ( hotel staffed with robots) and in China ( Shenzhen China, FOXCONN, a million workers replaced). China and Japan have much better education results than we do. Their objective is clearly to provide the best quality services or products at the lowest cost in a competitive market without falling behind in either quality performance or cost. Expect such changes happening here on a much larger scale. We will not survive the poor objectives and lack of a professional annual operating plans on the school district management level.

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

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

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

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

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

    Abraham Lincoln

    The future of American education looking ahead to 2020-2022

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

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

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

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

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

    The biggest impact will come very soon through a new generation of robots that are cognitive, multilingual and can learn and make decisions. Artificial intelligence passed average human intelligence in 2014. We will see the first cognitive robots entering the US in 2016 very slowly and quietly, that will compete for the jobs of many with a high school education or less. They will certainly be welcome by businesses who cannot find workforce without a bad attitude, who can communicate well and know more than basic math. They will cost less than minimum wage, and they will rapidly improve, just by downloading artificial intelligence and job knowledge, like a PC can today. One of 125 jobs being implemented with them is an assistant teacher. We think that the end of employability for those not having been well prepared in high school is within two years, by 2017.

    When things are not going well, good performance results only from setting the correct objective, making it a personal performance objective for the board, superintendent and central management leaders such that it counts for their annual performance review, and the importance of having an operating plan to ensure the achievement of the annual objective.

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

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

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

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

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

    How is the public misinformed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.
    John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA



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

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

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

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

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

    "Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource."
    John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

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