Under revision. Updated on 12/3/2016.
”The truth will set you free."|
But first, it may make you angry.
IS PUBLIC EDUCATION PREPARING THE MAJORITY OF OUR CHILDREN FOR LIFE?
Click on the picture to read the article.
Since 1970, according to the above Cato Institute report, education expenses and hiring of employees skyrocketed. However, our children's education went nowhere. It is amazing and irresponsible that no school board or governor in school districts or states respectively put a halt to spending increases TO DATE to question and investigate every year why the results are not increasing as they did in some other countries.
We as a nation went from the top in 1970, to 36th place in math education of 15 year olds in the world by 2013 (Click here for report). We also became the fifth largest spender per student during the same period (Click here for report).
In 2015 we had millions of jobs we could not fill because our companies could not find well enough educated potential candidates
(Click here for report). Our schools need to understand that they are preparing a "product" called a student, who are needed by the "customers" called employers and/or universities for further learning, to supply what employers need. Schools need to prepare students based on what employers need. The ACT results indicate that no one in political leadership either cares or understands this fact and are doing nothing about it. It is totally unacceptable to spend $120,000 of the people's money MINIMUM per student for twelve years of education, 74% of whom are not ready nationally to be trained for a job. With robotics coming now to replace fast food and higher level jobs, the 74% unreadiness of high school graduates will rise. (Click here for report).
We compete in the world market with our products and services. 25 or more years ago American products dominated the world market. Today we are not as competitive as we used to be then. Just look around and see where the products with which we are surrounded are made.
Product and service competitiveness depends on the workforce's education. They design and make the products...and they all depend on the quality of high school graduates we produce as a nation. With only 26% of the graduating high school students being ACT READY in the USA, we have been doing a very poor job having our children educated for many years, and Nanotechnology will have an additional major impact by 2020, requiring more education, impacting the great majority of jobs.
In 1981, while touring a Chevrolet plant, I saw a worker whose job was to pick up one tire at a time, and place it against the axel of a car being assembled without mounting the tire. I asked how much he was making. I was told $18 per hour. That's $48 per hour in 2016. He was replaced by a robot within three years. Low-end jobs will continue to be replaced even faster in the future, because technological developments are increasing faster.
ACT tests 59% of our children nationally. Their 2015 results show that 74% of high school graduates nationally are not prepared for higher level education and future training for employment - they are not ACT READY. Making it even worse, many of them have bad work attitude, a feeling of entitlement regardless of how well they do their job, no ambition in addition to poor level of math, English communication and science knowledge. It is not enough to demand jobs, if people during their young days are not willing to work hard in our schools and learn what employers need. Just look at the very poor ACT results of Tennessee and its Knox County below.
The above example is Tennessee's and its Knox County's performance. Look at the high percentage of high school graduates who are not prepared for more than minimum wage jobs. Add to them 10-15% of those who entered high school who did stay in school but did not graduate, and add about 5-7% dropouts. All of these children will be replaced by robots. These results are very bad, yet we, tax payers have to pay for these students as well. Our employers know this. Our politicians do nothing about about raising the ACT scores. Our public school districts lie to the public about their own performance. The employers know that unless the education results become much better quickly in high schools, their only option to survive here is with robots, because American public education is not correcting the declining quality of education. Forget asking for more jobs. Improve with much higher results to produce graduates who meet employer and higher education needs with qualified graduates. That means 80% ACT readiness of a graduating class, and not just 24% or less. Spend more money on education? We don't think so. We have become the 5th highest spender per student, but internationally the quality of our graduates dropped to 36th place.
Robotics have replaced many jobs in manufacturing, because robots became smarter and less expensive for such specific jobs, than most of our high school graduates and can produce better quality results for employers. Our children's education declined, but robotic artificial intelligence (AI) passed average human intelligence in 2015 and their cost dropped below minimum wage. Fast food companies plan to automate every store fully. For example, McDonalds plans to replace 25,000 stores before end of 2017 or about 500,000 jobs. However, we are beginning to see robots that replace people with a graduate degree, e.g. new fighter plane pilots, nurse anesthetists and even anesthesiologists.
New technologies will appear faster than in the past. Low end jobs will continue to be eliminated by them, and many new jobs will be created. However, those new jobs will require much better-prepared and highly motivated children coming out of high school, to comply with the rigorous retraining programs for the new jobs that are yet to come.
Go to a school board meeting. See what they accomplish. Especially notice how much time they spend on the poor results and decide how they will improve them. See if they have measurable academic and spending performance objectives. See if they can improve ACT or SAT scores by more than 5% each year. See if they can teach more efficiently. See if they can increase the curriculum. If there are no such objectives and operating plans in every school, nothing will improve. If one asks Board members about raising the ACT and SAT scores, they have absolutely no idea how to do it. In Tennessee, Board members get $25,000/year. For what? In most places it is a voluntary position.
Each teacher is limited by his/her available time, his/her subject knowledge and ability to motivate students. This area needs improvement to the level of international top performers such as Finland. When one is 36th in math, improvement to the top ten is not possible without studying them and learning from them.
We cannot expect teachers to do their best if they do not have full authority to deal with student discipline problems decisively on their own, and if they are loaded down with paperwork, too much testing to reduce their preparation and teaching time. Performance evaluations cannot be done 3-4 times a year without such evaluations being student results-based. After all the purpose of the teachers' and the schools' existence is to provide excellent internationally competitive education for our children. THAT IS NOT THE CASE TODAY. JUST LOOK AT OUR ACT OR SAT RESULTS.
Most children are educated in a public school. Their graduation rate is high, close to 90%. Unfortunately at least three out of four high school graduates are not prepared well enough to survive. Our public schools tend to publish only good news about test results. It is the national tests that tell the real story (the ACT and SAT). The state tests are easier, their scores are higher, and those are the ones that our newspapers write about. For example, in Knoxville, Tennessee, one publisher called the superintendent a Miracle Maker in the newspaper (read by clicking here). You can see the results of this Miracle Maker below. But the real results were and are a very different story. Like setting an all time low ACT score that was too low to begin with, indicating that three out of four high school graduates are NOT trainable, but only for short-term minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots.
It would be reasonable to expect that all 3.5 million children who graduated nationally from public high school with a regular diploma, would be (ACT) Ready for job training or further education. Unfortunately, 74% or 2.59 million of our graduating children are not ready each year, and we wasted more than 31 billion dollars per year covering covering their TWELVE YEARS SPENDING $372,000,000,000 to graduate children who are not ready (there is no adjustment to constant dollars because the twelve years of education could shift back or forward. These are very low conservative assumptions and the real cost will be higher). They will have minimum wage jobs for a couple of years and then...NOTHING. Robots will replace them. There are very few public high schools nationally who are exceptions. The public should be aware that private high school graduates have 85-99% readiness. But they cost $8,000-15,000 per year. Since the public pays for the poorly performing public schools, the public would deserve a voucher or tax credit in the entire amount of the cost, if a parent wishes to have his/her child educated in a private school instead. We feel that we, the public deserve a good enough education for our children, that supports minimally a family of four, and improves each each year to make it possible for our children to qualify for the better jobs that new technologies will create. What the public does not deserve is for 2.59 million of its children to be sentenced to failure factories for schools EVERY SINGLE YEAR at a rate of approximately $130,000 per child or $336.7 BILLION DOLLARS of the people's hard-earned tax dollars, and be ruined for life by the poor quality of public education.
|A THIRD OF A TRILLION DOLLARS IS AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT IS WASTED PREPARING CHILDREN POORLY COMPARED TO MANY OTHER NATIONS. THEY CANNOT COMMUNICATE PROPERLY AND CANNOT EVEN DO BASIC MATH. WE ARE ONE OF THE HIGHEST SPENDERS PER STUDENT IN THE WORLD, AND DROPPED TO 36TH IN THE WORLD IN PERFORMANCE. JUST LOOK AT THE NUMBERS WE ARE PRESENTING. THEY ARE THE GOVERNMENT'S NUMBERS. HOW MANY DECADES DO WE NEED TO WAIT AND ACCEPT SUCH A POOR JOB THAT WE, THE PUBLIC ARE PAYING FOR? WE CANNOT AFFORD TO WAIT. WE WASTED A LOT OF MONEY FOR MORE THAN FOUR DECADES ON THESE FAILURE FACTORIES. WE COULD CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. WE NEED CHANGES URGENTLY.|
There is a new development that most of the public also does not know as of 2016. A new class of robots are starting to replace many low-end jobs in 2016, some of which require a college degree, not just a high school diploma. How do you think those 2.59 million children will survive, who are not prepared well enough each year?
The ACT is a national test that measures what children learned from grade one to twelve. It accurately defines this and also what is called the ACT Readiness percentage of diplomas for jobs beyond minimum wage. The graph below shows the ACT performance of Knox County, Tennessee as an example. Click here for an explanation of ACT scores and ACT Readiness. The effect of robotics on future employment and ACT Readiness is a very important consideration. We will see more new technologies emerging in the future than behind us. The new jobs will require more education than in the old jobs. Such changes will require a much better foundation in high school, plus continuing education life long.
We graduate close to 90% of those students who entered 9th grade in high school. Only 26% of our public high school graduates (and ONLY 5% of black students!) were "ACT ready" nationally in 2015 for training to go beyond a minimum wage job. Most of the rest will be replaced by robots within a few years. The public is not informed about this fact. They just pay for the poor education with their hard-earned taxes. Although we are the fifth highest spender in the world per student, we, the USA, slipped to 36th place in mathematics that our public schools delivered (OECD PISA tests). Some states like Tennessee, our example, are much worse than that.
In the large successful organizations one gathers the best people at the worldwide headquarters to ensure how well their products and services selling and performing compared to the competition, being totally truthful about the organization's strengths and weaknesses centrally, in any country, and in any city within the countries. The top international performers in education set the standards of excellence from ethics to curriculum, teacher quality, teaching and teacher education standards, based on satisfying the student standards that employers, and higher education require.
Very unfortunately, in the US we believe that it is the LOCAL public and parents, the great majority of whom received less and less education since 1970, are in the best position to decide how the school system should perform - the public who knows nothing about the competition, future jobs, setting objectives, the best teaching techniques. Then the school districts publish articles in the newspapers misinforming the public about how well they are doing, which is true if we compare our performance to the Congo in Africa. The US Constitution says nothing about education - is the excuse, defaulting ALL DECISIONS to the large number of states. We forget that we have amended the US Constitution before since it is several hundred years old. The state constitutions are also old, so the states delegated practically all decisions to the elected local school boards. That was fine when we had single room school buildings with one teacher who taught simultaneously all grades. Today we have about 14,500 school boards, each of them getting guaranteed funding regardless of the results they produce, without any academic objectives to achieve for the years for which the budget is approved. 14,500 public school districts making their own decisions about the education of our children, a subject they do not know much about. So how is it working for us and our children? We must be the best in the world! Some still think that way. We...fell...to...36th place in high school math in the world since 1970, and 75% of the children who graduate now with a diploma are not trainable for other than minimum wage jobs. They will be replaced by robots by 2020 in many industries. Just look at the poor school results in Tennessee below. Other states are not much better.
We have been competing worldwide for decades. Our education management, teaching methodology and the way we educate is about 100 years old. Others improved, especially after WWII. We dropped to 36th. If we want to learn about how to become better, look at how the best in the world are achieving their fabulous results, like Finland. Study how they do everything in education and adopt their methods. Their methods are transferable to US culture. Then you will have an excellent chance for improvement in student results.|
We are enclosing here a comprehensive document from Finland, one of the best systems in education in the world. Try to read every page of every link in it. This is how the best countries in education plan and conduct the education of its citizens. Click here to read it.
AS TIME PASSES, THE WORLD IS GETTING "SMALLER", AND MORE INTEGRATED, MORE FAMILIAR WITH EACH OTHER'S CULTURE
We are moving toward faster technological changes, they bring with them faster job changes. Jobs replaced by automation at the low end, and many new jobs open - but they require more education. That means that the fundamental education children get in primary and secondary school needs to create a stronger much better foundation of knowledge than it has created to date. We need to teach at least as much as in the honors courses to all, not just in science and math with an expanded curriculum, but also with music and art to develop both hemispheres of the child’s brain. This is important for good decision making and creative thinking. We are talking about it, but we are not doing it.
With air travel and television, the world has become much "smaller".
US or foreign companies can sell their products anywhere in the world and as a result, we see many products in the US from other countries today.
People buy products and services that they like, feel are better quality and priced right to meet their needs.
US products used to be popular worldwide a few decades ago. Foreign products passed them. Our national income declined to break-even for ten years now.
Product competitiveness and cost worldwide depend on how well trained our workforce is in all industries.
Workforce training depends on how well educated our high school graduates are compared to others worldwide. This is why our competitiveness declined. Our high school training declined since 1970, weakening our ability to create winning products and services.
We have excellent school district Communication/PR groups in the USA. We are one of the highest spenders per student in the world. The other countries do not spend money on Communication/PR groups. Instead, 35 of them have better results than we have. Why do we need groups of full time PR people for our public school districts? The school results are obvious. Practically all children can successfully graduate from college and get a good job. When the result is that good, teachers become better respected by the public than doctors or anyone else.
We compete worldwide but we compare ourselves only to US results and US ideas. Our high school graduates dropped to 36th in math in the world. Dropping to 36th in math when you are the fifth highest spender in the world per student, raises serious questions about how we spend our tax dollars to deliver such a poor result. What percentage of public school students who take the ACT in the US are ACT Ready upon graduation? ONLY 26%. What percentage should be ACT Ready? AT LEAST 80%, but preferably all students who graduate with a diploma should be ACT Ready. Since our high schools feed the workforce-needs of all industries, the poor high school output is destroying us from within.
|"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."
The SAT and ACT tests measure annually how well educated our high school graduates are.
Our leaders and certain private foundations did a lot to improve education – they will tell you. They became millionaires. But the ACT test shows the state of education best. It shows that education declined. The employers also complain that today's high school graduates cannot communicate properly in English and cannot even do basic math. The US national income decline is the result of education declining. But our leaders and those foundations making millions “to save our children” and our public schools are not telling us the truth.
|How do we recognize such misleading comments? Know what the single most important key indicator of success is (the ACT or SAT results in high school education) and focus only on that single piece of achievement to avoid being mislead. If we accept only the national ACT score and readiness as proof, it will be impossible for anyone to confuse such a person.|
With that in mind, we will identify the problems within our public schools next, and suggest some solutions that would solve these problems without increasing expenses.
We are using Tennessee as an example with more details. However, the problem with US public education is the same everywhere, for the same reasons, slightly better in most states and slightly worse in the other states.
BAD ACADEMIC RESULTS - LYING TO THE PUBLIC - THE IMPACT OF ROBOTS ON LOW END JOBS - WEAKER TEACHER TRAINING THAN THE COMPETITION - DESTRUCTION OF OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE - WASTING OF THE PEOPLE'S MONEY - BLOATED CENTRAL MANAGEMENT
"Learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change.
And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn."
Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Father of 21st Century Management By Objectives
ACT (or SAT depending on the state) IS THE BEST INDICATOR OF THE TRUTH ABOUT OUR CHILDREN'S PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Look at the above graph. In 2006, ACT indicated that their empirical research (comparing ACT scores to jobs or additional education the student was able to obtain some years after taking the ACT) shows that college entrance and workforce training have the same requirement in English and math from 2006 onward. That has changed over the years, because ACT started using a four-subject benchmark test for READINESS, plus university degrees in engineering and science require a higher ACT score in mathematics than the ACT Readiness benchmark in mathematics. ACT defined the additional benchmarks for and definition of "Career (job) and College Readiness", that indicates what CHANCE (not a guarantee) the ACT READY child has to finish the first year only of a college or tech/vocational school. Those who are NOT ACT READY (and DO NOT meet all four subject benchmarks) do not have a chance to finish the first year of any tech/vocational or college program and will have spotty minimum wage employment for a limited time. Robotics will replace them. Passing only one benchmark means that the student does have a chance only to finish the college freshman version of the same subject only as the benchmark that the student passed. However, in addition, the robotic technologies that many US companies have already contracted by 2016 will replace them rapidly.
The technologies used in robotics have been becoming much higher in performance at a lower cost. That trend will continue. Some of the new robotic applications are replacing jobs FOR THE FIRST TIME that require more than a college degree (anesthesia robots, already installed in some hospitals, however some robots that are involved in healthcare will have slower growth because of public acceptance). We will see more of such applications within a year. Artificial intelligence passed average human levels in 2015 and it is growing faster. Under these circumstances, those who graduate from high school even ACT Ready, will not be employable within a couple of years at most, unless we increase both the high school curriculum and increase the material within each course of the curriculum significantly, and increase the teachers' subject knowledge to Master's level and improve teaching methodologies, to the same level where the top performing international education systems are.
With the above poor results - just think about this for a moment: we have poor ACT performance leaving most children behind.
1. Investigating how the best school systems worldwide achieve their results is NEVER discussed in board meetings to improve what we do.
2. School board members never take ANY TIME to discuss and plan how we could increase our poor ACT scores at school board meetings.
Do you think they are interested in doing better? The evidence is not encouraging.
THE PUBLIC PAYS THE HIGH INCREASING PUBLIC EDUCATION COST. THEY DESERVE THE TRUTH AND BETTER SCHOOLS WITH A MUCH HIGHER ACT READINESS.
One cannot solve a problem long by covering it up, or by "packaging" it in good news for those who are paying for it, the public. Unless...those in charge don't want to or don't know how to solve it.
"A half-truth is a whole lie” is a popular proverb that has been directed at newspapers and politicians since the 1880s. However, the majority in public education management beat them all. For example in the Knox County School District, Tennessee, 76% of those who graduated with a diploma in 2015 are prepared only for a close to minimum wage job. They will not even have a chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college per ACT. A new generation of robotics will replace them in a few years.
At the same time the superintendent published everywhere, including on his letterhead, that we provide "Excellence for all children" and knowingly and purposefully told the public that "We are doing well, a strong B performance, but we have room to improve". It was a lie about actual school performance. Tennessee did celebrate the highest growth in the USA in 4th and 8th grade NAEP test scores one year...but we were still below the USA average, which we did not mention. Nor did we mention the fact that Knox County did not even take the test, yet some people and foundations partnering with this school district used it as if they did and this was a county achievement. We as a country should also consider that we dropped very significantly from other nations to 36th place in mathematics. In 2013, the same school district set an all time low average ACT score record at 20.2. The ACT is the most important test. It shows what our children learned from grade one to twelve. No one said a word to anyone about the all time low ACT score in 2013. The bad news and the complete truth was and is ignored. Anything that sounds good is published by the school district communications group. What the public gets is a lie, when all this poor education and the lies about their results are created with the public's hard-earned tax dollars within the education budget.
THE SHOCKING COST OF ONE CAREER AND COLLEGE READY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE'S EDUCATION WITH A REGULAR DIPLOMA
A USEFUL STATISTIC COULD BE "THE COST OF ONE ACT READY STUDENT'S 12-YEAR EDUCATION AT CURRENT RATES, AND HOW WE COULD REDUCE THAT COST BY INCREASING THE PERCENTAGE OF ACT READY STUDENTS WHO GRADUATED". The average per student cost in Tennessee is above $10,000 per year including capital and interest expenses. We will assume $10,000 for easy calculation. For twelve years the student cost is $120,000. Remember that we pay for all students and therefore the cost of 12 years of education for those who leave high school with not even being ACT Ready to be trained for a job, becomes part of the cost of all those students' education who ARE ready to be trained for a job or go on to college. We spent $10,000 per student in 2016 in Knox County, Tennessee that included almost all education-related expenses. These expenses are rising every year. This is the public's money - our tax dollars. Under these conditions, the 12-13 year MINIMUM cost of one career (job) or college ready high school graduate, with a regular high school diploma is sky high, because we also pay for those students who dropped out and those who did earn a regular diploma, but who are not career or college ready according to ACT. THAT makes the cost of one ACT Ready student as high as presented hereunder, because their ACT Readiness percentage is so low. We did not consider inflation adjustment on these dollars because the twelve year education could be spreading to the past (less $) or future (more $) in different degrees, and the future ACT Readiness may vary up or down.
One ACT Ready Black Student: $3,960,000
One ACT Ready Hispanic Student: $1,200,000
One ACT Ready Average Student: $600,000
If All Students Were Ready Like In The Top Ten Nations In Education
One ACT Ready Student would cost: $120,000 - $140,000
...because we also have to pay for the many students who are not prepared and ready in the same demographic group.
If 75-98% of those students who earned a regular diploma (plus dropouts, and those who "finished" high school but did not earn a diploma) are not ready to be trained for a job, then our diplomas are worthless - and they are. So why brag about a 90% graduation rate? That means very low income for the majority of those entering our high schools with increasing unemployment and a huge negative impact upon our economy for lack of a well-trained workforce.
Recommendation: Do not push children to graduate 90% of them, when 76% of the "graduates" are not ACT Ready or not prepared for more than a short term minimum wage job. Give them a year or two additional education to ensure that they are prepared. For example, do not promote them to the next grade in grade 4 if their Mathematics and Reading scores are not up to what they should be. The state requirement for graduation is pushing you? Look at the state's ACT performance in the chart. How are they doing with education results? Appeal the "advice" to graduate 90%. What no one wants are the enormous expenses associated with developing an ACT ready graduate above, plus the social expenses associated with students who are not ACT Ready for the rest of their lives.
THERE ARE MANY JOBS - WE JUST DO NOT HAVE WELL ENOUGH EDUCATED CANDIDATES FOR THEM.
In the USA, 74% of our schools are public schools, 22% are private schools and 4% are charter schools a form of public schools also. The lower skill manufacturing jobs have been disappearing to robotic and software automation for more than two decades. More and more low-end jobs will be replaced by robotics and many new jobs will open with new technologies faster and faster, but they will require more education on the high school level, not just what we know as job training. There were more than three million jobs open in 2015, that could not be filled because employers were not finding candidates with the education that they needed for such jobs. Such new jobs will require a much better education coming out of high school than what public schools deliver today. The stories about good education are true only with very few public schools. What's going to happen to our children? THREE OUT OF FOUR OF OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING LEFT BEHIND TODAY IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN ADDITION TO DROPOUTS. What is going to happen to our state and country? I fear the answer to this question.
ROBOTICS TO THE RESCUE OF EMPLOYERS WHO CANNOT FIND WELL ENOUGH EDUCATED WORK FORCE WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE.
A new generation of robotics will replace not just those who are not ACT Ready, but more. Please look at some examples below. The poor education-created knowledge-drop of our children and a new family of robotics is already creating a major social problem. Many of our companies complained to governors about the poor education of our children, and having to move if they are to survive where the workforce is better educated. The ACT scores did not improve indicating no change. It is more important than ever for our children to attend schools with a high percentage of ACT Readiness among its graduates. All new technology-based products experience some delays/changes with initial use, generally not more than two years. That includes robots as well. Any such delay will not make any significant change in the 40-45 year working life of today's graduates.
Reference1: Middle class workers are losing their jobs to robots
Reference2: Anesthesia robots deliver sedation in some medical procedures
Reference3: McDonalds replacing employees with robots
Reference4: Robots threaten jobs
Reference5: Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years
Reference6: Computers making decisions in robotics
Reference7: Robots replace 5 million human jobs
Reference8: Science Daily
Reference9: BBC: Robotics
Reference10: Many examples of artificial intelligence today at the heart of robotics
Reference11: How a brick laying robot builds a house
Reference12: Example of pizza making via robots is advancing
Reference13: Robots replacing construction workers
USA TEACHER TRAINING HAS FALLEN BEHIND OUR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITORS IN BOTH SUBJECT KNOWLEDGE AND TEACHING METHODOLOGY
School results cannot exceed teachers’ knowledge and ability to teach. School results are limited by the subject knowledge of teachers and their ability to motivate the students. Student scores are the results of our teachers’ work. US teachers are handicapped somewhat by the largest number of classroom hours in the world, too much testing in especially Knox County, Tennessee beyond what the state requires and too much paperwork that could be automated. Their union is not helpful to resolve such problems. There are many excellent teachers and some who would be happier in a different position. Quite a few college students changed to teaching in college because it was an easier study. However, teachers need to understand that they, as a group are not the best in the world. That is why we have dropped to 36th in the world. The superintendent stopped supporting teacher efforts to get a Master’s degree: a big mistake. Teacher subject knowledge and teaching methodology needs updating to the top ten internationals' level:
Reference1: Why American students do poorly
Reference2: Research suggests poor quality of teacher training programs in US compared to other countries,
Reference3: Why students do better overseas,
Reference4: US science teachers are behind in training degree requirements.
Reference5: The impact of school leadership on student achievement
It is common in high performing nations to hire teachers who have a Master’s degree in the subject that they would teach, come from the top ten percent of their Master's major, and then they send them back to grad school for learning the latest in teaching methodologies and in some cases diagnosing learning disabilities as well. US teachers come from the bottom third of four-year college programs that are the easiest.
The graph above shows a demographic breakdown of the unreadiness percentage of those who graduated from high school nationally. The results are horrible nationally because all states and school districts operate the same way with poor objectives and poor plans. You are looking at a powder keg, that is about to blow up. Our employers must go to robotics, because our graduates not only cannot do the job, they are poorly educated, and they have a bad attitude. If they do not go to robotics, they have to leave and go to where the workforce is better trained - or close the business and no one will be employed. But...in New York City there is a charter school chain with 42 schools in 2016, that started with one school in 2006. They are called Success Academy Schools. This school is scoring top one percent passing even most private schools in the entire State of New York WITH POOR BLACK AND HISPANIC INNER CITY CHILDREN! Anyone with such high performance will have plenty of critics. Misbehaving children who disturb entire classes are gone. So are teachers who do not meet their high standards. Guess what the public wants? They want their child to have an excellent education and future. Obviously our traditional public schools have no idea how to provide excellent education to our children of ANY COLOR, and the states are not doing anything about it! They know however, how to spend more money each year than the majority of the top performing twenty nations in education. What do you think will happen when robotics will dump 50-80% of our children on the streets because they have been poorly trained in our public schools? This is very likely to happen by 2020-2021.
The countries that passed us in education, teach significantly more advanced material per subject per year than we do. Unless we bring up both teacher and student knowledge with a tougher curriculum and life-time education for degrees that are in demand, we will not be economically competitive against robotics in problem solving, critical thinking, decision making and job skills by 2025. Poor results shown in the above charts are therefore unacceptable. In Knox County, Tennessee, and in many other school districts and states, we just keep dumbing down the population with the poor results from our public schools, as the elected school boards keep giving themselves and the superintendents an excellent performance review for the poor performance, and increasing education spending every year.
As a remedy, some governors announced a free two year college program after high school, that will cost more money and will not solve the problem of declining education, because:
- We do not take advantage of the fastest brain development that occurs under six years of age with an effective pre school program,
- We are not improving and increasing knowledge in K12 education and are not correcting behavior and attitude problems that developed during those formative years. We are not correcting the fundamental K12 problem that limits young people's brain in how much they can achieve for 12-13 years of K12 schooling,
- We are enabling only some remedial education with the free two-year college, to get closer to the low state standard of today. This does not solve the problems of the K-12 education shortcomings that became set in concrete in our children during the formative years. Yet we will have to pay a higher rate for the additional two years, without fixing what caused the problem in K-12.
- It would be more effective for the people's money to fix some basic areas within K-12 education to solve the poor performance problem, such as:
- Raise expectations with a measurable objective, such as an ACT score objective that is 5-10% higher than the actual ACT score achieved the previous year,
- Create an annual operating plan that simply specifies a monthly year-to-date GPA objective that is minimum 10% above the prior year's monthly year-to-date GPA for all management people and for all teachers. There has to be many years of GPA history available per student. Based on them, an average GPA baseline could be established for at minimum covering the preceding 3 years, using this baseline GPA for every class in any subject before the class starts, and measuring against this baseline GPA what individual teachers achieve at the end of the school year as an average class GPA.
- There must be a fair assessment of what teachers achieve in average GPA increase beyond the baseline GPA that reflects their class members actual performance for the past three years. Teachers are not treated well compared to the high performing international school systems. They must be treated fairly, and to that end some state laws will need to be changed to allow them to do their best with high morale.
The chart above shows the Knox County, Tennessee school district's annual results and poor ACT readiness. Those not ACT Ready are trainable only for close to minimum wage jobs. Unfortunately such jobs are beginning to be replaced by robotics in 2016 and virtually all will be replaced by 2020.
The chart below shows the poor ACT readiness within each high school in the same school district. The best high school has only average readiness, and the worst has not a single student ACT Ready. It is rather obvious that measurable academic objectives do not exist for this school district and for any of its high schools. It is impossible to deliver good results without such objectives and school level operating plans in the hands of management when one is dealing with poor performance like school districts within the entire state of Tennessee and in other states.
In the graph below we show a twelve-year average ACT score history of each high school in Knox County, Tennessee. It is rather obvious that neither the state of Tennessee, nor this school district had any effective management controls, the right objectives and operating plans in place ever. Consider that the worst performing high schools spend more than twice as much money per student as the higher performing ones FOR TWELVE YEARS OR MORE, WITHOUT ANY IMPROVEMENT. THEY JUST KEEP DELIVERING LOWER ACT RESULTS YEAR AFTER YEAR. WHY DOESN'T THE STATE AND THE MANAGEMENT OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT (BOARD MEMBERS AND SUPERINTENDENTS) REALIZE AFTER ONLY A COUPLE OF YEARS THAT THE ADDITIONAL MONEY IS NOT PRODUCING BETTER RESULTS, AND DISCONTINUE SUCH MONEY WASTING? WE SPEND MORE MONEY PER STUDENT IN KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE THAN THE GREAT MAJORITY OF THE TOP TWENTY COUNTRIES IN EDUCATION, WHOSE COST OF LIVING IS HIGHER. OUR MONEY IS NOT BEING SPENT ON THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND THE SUPPORT OF TEACHERS AND PRINCIPALS.
OUR "ACT READINESS" IS ONLY 24% OF THOSE STUDENTS WHO GRADUATED. WHAT IS THE LOGIC BEHIND GRADUATING 76% OF THE STUDENTS WHO WILL NOT HAVE A CHANCE FOR ANY JOB IN A FEW YEARS?! WE DO THE POOR JOB IN EDUCATION WITH ONE OF THE HIGHEST SPENDING PER STUDENT IN THE WORLD. THAT ALWAYS MEANS THAT A LARGE PORTION OF THE EDUCATION MONEY IS NOT SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES - IN OUR SCHOOLS. WHO ARE WE HELPING WITH SUCH AN OUTRAGEOUS PROGRAM FOR MANY DECADES? NOT OUR CHILDREN, NOT THEIR TEACHERS, NOT THE QUALITY OF OUR WORKFORCE AND THEREFORE NOT OUR ECONOMY.
With the years passing, most job requirements and related education increase as robotics and software automation replace lower level jobs and as new technologies create new jobs. ACT changes one or more of the four benchmark target scores accordingly. According to ACT, in Tennessee in 2015 83% of the graduating students (98% of black graduates), plus those who did not graduate, plus dropouts, are not prepared to be trained for a job. Nationally, 94% of black children (74% of all children) who earned a high school diploma, plus about 10% who attended but did not graduate, plus dropouts, were not prepared for anything other than close to minimum wage low skill jobs, and have no chance to finish even the first year of any tech/vocation training or college. THESE ARE TERRIBLE RESULTS AND ONE WONDERS IF ELECTED SCHOOL BOARDS UNDERSTAND THE HUGE PROBLEM THEY ARE CREATING BY NOT ACTING ON IT. Some people blame this on parents and poverty. But a 42 school system in New York City called Success Academy Schools takes ONLY poor, inner city black and hispanic children. They scored TOP ONE PERCENT in the NY State Common Core Tests, PASSING EVEN MOST PRIVATE SCHOOLS! There are no inner city areas that are more difficult than Harlem in New York, where this school system started in 2006. The responsible people for the poor performance are the governors, the education subcommittees in legislature, the state boards of education, the departments of education and the elected district school boards. A very large percentage of our children will be replaced shortly by robots as a result of our poor public education, and because we did not fix it a long time ago.
Our governors, state departments of education and the elected school district boards managed to develop FAILURE FACTORIES nationwide with their inaction instead of good results, through incompetence in management, with weaker teacher training, limiting teachers' authority and preparation time with unproductive tasks. Teacher morale is low. The higher performing countries require teacher candidates to have a master's degree in the subject that they will teach, they are tested for suitability for the teaching profession, and must continue to update their education every year in teaching methodologies and subject knowledge. We do not seem to be interested in learning from the top performing countries. When one dropped from the top to 36th in the world (and our example state, Tennessee, is much lower than that), one does not have the experience to come up with a winning methodology to become one of the best based only on USA experience in education. No wonder we have poverty problems. We don't even recognize that our dropping education results dumbed us down for 45+ years, weakening our work force, creating more poverty plus a huge problem for employers, who have only two options to survive: move to areas with a better-trained workforce, or replace low-end jobs with robotics.
McDonalds decided in 2015 to replace 25,000 stores totally with robotics, so did Wendy's and many others. Robots were announced in 2016 to replace anesthesia nurses whose education goes well beyond high school. We better improve education very quickly by focusing on ACT score objectives and learning as much as possible from the highest performing countries in education about how they are achieving their fabulous results. The result for us will be increasing social problems with the unemployed. There will be no money to solve them, because our national income has been struggling for ten years at breakeven only. All of this happened because the poor high school education output weakened the workforce in all industries, from the low end jobs, up to and including PhD's. For several decades now foreign students made up 50% of the PhD's we needed for research and development, but for the past few years many are returning to their home countries because they find better opportunities there.
THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE...
...WHEN WE NEED THIS!!
WHY ISN'T THE PUBLIC INFORMED ABOUT US BEING ONE OF THE HIGHEST SPENDERS PER STUDENT AND DELIVERING ONE OF THE WORST EDUCATION RESULTS AMONG INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES?
School districts do not identify all education spending for the public to see. We try to do that and relate the approved budget to it although the approved budget itself does not include all education-related expenses. We would advocate the board of education being fully responsible for a budget that includes ALL education-related expenses.
The "Current" budget is approved at the beginning of the school year. It excludes certain education-related expenses, like capital and interest expenses, legal and other expenses that are co-mingled hidden in different county cost centers. That means that we do not know exactly how much we spend on public education. A special investigative audit, called a forensic audit would be the efficient way to identify ALL education related spending.
The "Current" budget is overspent 15-18% every single year (2008-2014), and we get the above poor results for it. The state publishes the Grand Total Education Expense Spent in the same school district, that is overspent 28-38% every year beyond the approved budget, including the capital and interest expenses covering school renovations and new schools that the education department decides to renovate or build respectively, but excluding them from the budget they present. Even the Grand Total doesn't include all education-related expenses. All this points to another very important thing that is not being done: ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING, AND PRESENTING TO THE PUBLIC ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL-RELATED EXPENSES. It is the school system that initiates or causes all such expenses, but they do not have responsibility for the outcome. This is not a good way to manage to success.
ZERO BASED BUDGET PLANNING means that the budget being prepared for all departments identifies first all actions that they will have to take during the coming year to improve results and reach a specific performance objective. Then each department and school puts the budget together for themselves on that basis. That is how one can make sure that any surprises are minimized for the coming year, and it is an important part of planning and creating an operating plan for the coming year only. Poor planners do a quick and easy way, called INCREMENTAL BUDGET PLANNING in which one looks at what one spent last year, and modifies it by adding or subtracting amounts that one just guesses without planning. For small organizations that total less than 100 employees one can do that. For larger organizations, the end result is overspending beyond the approved budget every year, and that is what is happening in Knox County, Tennessee and in many other school districts. When one starts putting together multi-year plans, like the five year plan, it just does not make sense because too many unanticipated things will be changing each year that no one can predict that far ahead. Therefore in well-managed operations one sees zero-based budget planning for a ONE-YEAR OPERATING PLAN, based on which the spending can be managed accurately. That is what well management schooled and experienced superintendents do.
When one sees a five year plan, that looks beautiful with color charts and pictures, with simply a fixed percentage increase on some activities every year, and then adds a tenth year result that looks just OK, no serious planning went into that plan. The superintendent in such a case prepared a "selling document only", it is always a beautiful colorful document, but without any serious planning. Five years are too long. Too many things can change even within a year. What many school districts do not have is a one year operating plan where there is a measurable performance goal like an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved, and measurable objectives are defined for every management and supervisory position in every single school and in central management. One cannot achieve good results with only titles. The Five Year Strategic Plans of the Knox County, TN superintendent, James McIntyre were good examples of this.
The Knox County, Tennessee school district has an unusually large PR group as of 2015 whose planning and execution on any action they target is excellent. They do not report all of the news. They report only what looks good, creating a positive image in the eyes of the public. As a result, the public is unaware how poorly their children are prepared in our public schools.
One sees significant additional money requests annually from the board of education, with two big problems.
- They are never tied to a plan to show how much they will raise the ACT results that count. 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.
More than 30 states cut back education spending since 2008. See
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4011. Even with such reductions in spending, the US is the fifth largest spender per student among the industrialized countries, with the lowest academic performance among those nations.
All things are possible - if one is smart.
The chart below shows very poor expense management without any reasonable monthly control per school that disregards the approved budget with overspending without any recourse and with poor academic results.
No report covers all expenses going into education, although the state report covers significantly more in its Tennessee Education Statistical Report for each year than the Knox County education district itself.
The problem is that when board members look at a chart like this they do not recognize poor results or excessive spending. Most of them do not understand what not being ACT Ready means, and most importantly do not understand how robotics will impact all children who are not ACT Ready, and within just a few years will be impacting some jobs that require training beyond high school. Most board members do not want to learn and do not question the superintendent about academic results and spending vs. objective or budget every month at board meetings. In our opinion two questions are vital in managing poorly performing education districts. THESE TWO QUESTIONS need to be answered monthly:
Neither of these is presented or discussed.
- How are we doing with the most important academic results (e.g., annual ACT and monthly year-to-date GPA) year-to-date vs. plan in every school and the school district, and
- How much money are we spending per school and project, year-to-date vs. the approved budget.
CENTRAL MANAGEMENT GROWING BEYOND A CERTAIN SIZE BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE TO ANY ORGANIZATION
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 by actually creating problems generally through fault finding, interference with other areas, playing politics because real objectives do not exist. Such efforts hurt results.
This huge percentage of management increase was not reversed to this day, and it did absolutely nothing but cost a lot of money! So...money is being shifted away from the classroom producing poorly prepared children in large numbers. Management overhead was increased purposefully, but the results dropped like a stone. I am sorry, but the wisdom with which the public's money and these decisions appear to be handled by boards and superintendents is mind boggling. No one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up and reverse such foolish spending.
THERE ARE MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CENTRAL MANAGEMENT THAT ARE NOT INCREASING THE LOW ACT SCORES. SUCH RESOURCES CAN BE CONVERTED FOR USE WHERE THE RESULTS ARE COMING FROM: THE SCHOOLS. SAME IN LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS. SADLY LACK OF MANAGEMENT TRAINING AND LACK OF UNDERSTANDING MOTIVATION IS VERY COMMON. SUCH MANAGEMENT BELIEVES THAT THE SOLUTION TO PROBLEMS IS TO SPEND MORE MONEY ON ADDING MORE SUPERVISORY PEOPLE. THE RESULTS DO NOT IMPROVE IN MORE THAN TEN YEARS, AND THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHY. DOESN'T THAT TELL US THAT MANAGEMENT DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM? DOESN'T THAT TELL US THAT MANAGEMENT HAS NO IDEA HOW TO MOTIVATE THE STUDENTS AND THE TEACHERS? SUCH MANAGEMENT ALWAYS FEELS THAT MONEY IS THE SOLUTION - AND IT IS NOT THE SOLUTION.
The optimal ratio is 1200 students per administrator in the school district and not more than one percent of total central management employees is acceptable for efficiency based on USA comparisons per Allan C. Ornstein PhD, dean of the graduate school of education at St. John's University in New York, who published 50 books and more than 2000 research reports on specifically education management. In general management practice a smaller number would apply, because central management needs to be kept at absolute minimum, with as much delegation as possible to operating units (e.g., schools). In our case in education, all budget responsibility, HR decisions, spending decisions within the approved budget, IT maintenance, accounting tracking and more would be delegated to the principals of schools, who in turn would have to achieve a mutually agreed GPA objective per month year-to-date at or under the approved budget. Why is the state allowing the wasting of so much of the people's money and dumbing down virtually the entire workforce and population as a result? That is what the ACT results indicate under the governors.
WE ARE FACING FOUR MAJOR THREATS AS A NATION CREATED BY POOR PUBLIC EDUCATION
MAJOR THREAT NO. 1 is to our national security (most importantly as a result of cyber warfare), that requires very well educated soldiers, civilians, operators and developers for tools, "weapons", and decision making. Everything is computer controlled for operational and economic reasons. Our electric power grid could be hacked and disabled or destroyed by a better educated enemy. Our technology developments and designs for vitally important things that cost us billions to discover/develop could be hacked and stolen free by a better educated enemy. Intelligent weapons require very well educated soldiers to use them correctly, educated beyond high school. We need a healthy economy (money) to be able to develop the best well-educated people to defend ourselves and to improve our economy. That makes our failing education strategically the most important problem that we must correct. We must change many things like our immigration laws and practices, but most of all, we must improve greatly the poor education of our children urgently. This is how a third world war would begin today, and this kind of activity already started.
See: Our educational decline has been jeopardizing our national security.
MAJOR THREAT NO. 2 is the impact of poor public education on the entire population since 1970. In 2015 74% of all US high school graduates was prepared only for minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robotics within just a few years, because these students cannot do even the simple jobs as required. WE HAVE BUILT A HUGE POWDER KEG BY IGNORING PUBLIC EDUCATION PERFORMANCE. The most dangerous in domestic affairs and education is black student performance, with 95% not being ready for any but minimum wage jobs when graduating from high school nationally (98% in Tennessee). WE HAVE CREATED THE FUSE FOR THE POWDER KEG AND WE ARE IGNORING IT. We blame parents when our school performance is poor with all students. Many black students deal with more poverty and single parents than others. Granted that we saw US education dropping since 1970 and that reduced the job required knowledge of today's parents, in turn reducing their family incomes. As far as bad inner city environments are concerned, Harlem and others in New York are probably the worst in the country. However, a 42-school charter school in New York City's inner city areas produces top 1% results (Success Academy Schools) with the New York State Common Core tests statewide, beating even most private schools, without parental help. They are achieving this with poor inner city black and some Hispanic children since 2009! They have mostly primary schools, now beginning to open middle schools, with plans for high schools as the middle schools start delivering. Why are we not producing the same great result? Why are we not visiting Success Academy Schools to learn how they are doing it? Or better yet, Finland. We should be ashamed of ourselves for the black and Hispanic students' results, for not doing anything to improve it. Instead, the above poor results like 98% of black students not being ready when graduating from high school, very foolishly builds a big fuse for the "powder keg" by not learning from the high performers how to teach successfully any demographic group. Not only we produce terrible results for an entire class, school or school district creating at least 3 out of 4 students not being prepared, but we are destroying the future of almost all black children, when an example in New York and especially Finland clearly shows that THEY CAN DO FAR BETTER THAN WE ARE DOING NOW.
MAJOR THREAT NO. 3 is to our economy. We compete worldwide with our products and services in all industries. People and companies buy products and services based on their quality and cost. That in turn depends on how well educated each company's workforce is, from research and development PhD's through sales and service, down to manufacturing/production. How well the high school graduates are educated in any company of any country is the most important gateway to a high quality workforce that can create and make/provide the most competitive products and services worldwide. Internationally we dropped to 36th in high school mathematics, and dropped in other subjects as well. That in turn weakened our workforce, weakened our product and service competitiveness, and that lowered our national income and tax income. We have lost entire industries to international competition. Initially we lost to lower labor cost, but after a few years they lowered their cost by robotic automation on a larger scale than we did. For example, China is replacing one million workers in one huge electronics company with robotics to improve quality in 2016-2017. We have been under 3% national income for ten years now, our national debt rose to TWENTY TRILLION dollars in 2016, on which we have to pay many TRILLIONS in interest. 3% is not a gain. It is only a break even level with current expenses. High school education must be improved very significantly to reverse this dangerous trend, and find a solution for those undereducated in the past who will be replaced by robotics with job suitability testing, education for the best job so indicated, and help to get those jobs.
MAJOR THREAT NO. 4 is to a large percentage (60-80%) of high school graduates and today's workforce. New technologies will arrive faster and faster, offering new employment opportunities. The new jobs will require more education in addition to job retraining. The problem is that today's high school graduates did not receive enough education that would lay a proper foundation for the new jobs. With such fast changes, education becomes a life time learning effort, which would require a large amount of remedial education to start the new technology-related education for jobs. Unfortunately, our high schools have done a very poor job during the last four decades, making the learning of new jobs based on new technologies impossible for most.
If we wish to save this sinking ship, we must focus not only the school districts, but every single school with a monthly, year-to-date academic objective. We need ACT score school district objectives that are 5-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved, and we must also have monthly year-to-date academic objectives (e.g., GPA) in every management and supervisory position in every single school and central management that support the achievement of the ACT objective.
SPECIAL NOTE: For the past twenty years many people were of the opinion that the central management of the Knox County, Tennessee school district was bloated. We found two standards published about what the maximum size of central management should be. One is the research projects of Dr. Allan Ornstein, Dean, St. John's University's Graduate School of Education in New York City. The other was presented in a letter by the American Association of School Administrators. They both agree that central management administrators and their support staff should not exceed one percent (approximately 90) of the total employees of the Knox County, Tennessee school system (approximately 9,000). The said school district's own published headcount for Central Management has been between 300 and 400 people or three to four times the normal size. In view of this huge difference, we requested under the Tennessee Open Records Act a list of school district employees, who are neither directed or performance reviewed by a school's principal or said principal's chain of command within his/her school. That number is above 1500, but we need to examine its organizational structure to decide what the real size of Central Management is. When we know the answer, we will publish it here. There is no question that Central Management is bloated. The question is how bloated it is.
Personal income levels depend on a person's education, if his/her education specialty is in demand by employers. Poverty is increasing but no one ties it to education's decline. But we certainly tie poor school performance to poverty. It is not a good idea to scream for jobs when one does not have education in a field that is in demand. But there is no screaming for a turnaround in quality of education, to provide a sound foundation in high school to ensure future employment for our children and grandchildren.
Some things have to make much better sense in school districts|
Attend a school board meeting. Notice what they spend time for: discussions, actions to be taken or board approvals for spending, awards, thank you's. Our ACT results are dismal. HOW MUCH TIME IS SPENT AT BOARD MEETINGS ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE OUR POOR ACADEMIC RESULTS, AND WHO SHOULD TAKE WHAT ACTIONS AT ALL MANAGEMENT LEVELS IN EACH SCHOOL AND IN CENTRAL MANAGEMENT TO RAISE OUR ACT RESULTS 5-10% EACH YEAR? ISN'T THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK FOR AN ELECTED DISTRICT BOARD?
Why are we pushing high school students to graduate from high school and give them a diploma when 76% of them are ready only for a close to minimum-wage job that robots will replace in a few years? WE ARE RUINING THEIR LIVES BY PUSHING THEM TO GRADUATE INSTEAD OF PUSHING THEM TO HIGHER STANDARDS. And our school boards talk about EXCELLENCE FOR ALL CHILDREN?! Recommendation: Does it make sense to push children to graduate 90% of them, when 76% of the "graduates" are not ACT Ready or not prepared for more than a short term minimum wage job? Give them a year or two additional education to ensure that they are prepared. For example, do not promote them to the next grade in grade 4 if their Math and Reading scores are not up to what they should be. The state requirement is pushing you? Look at the state's ACT performance in the chart. Appeal the "advice" to graduate 90%. What no one wants are the enormous expenses associated with developing an ACT ready graduate above, plus the social expenses associated with students who are not ACT Ready for the rest of their lives
Why are we constantly raising education expenses when we are the 5th highest spender per student in the world and dropped to 36th in education results? When the results are bad, like in our schools, the money is not being spent in the right places on well qualified employees. As an example, we funded high schools on the bottom of ACT readiness. We allocated those poorly performing high schools more than twice the per student dollars, than what we allocated to higher performing high schools, AND WE DID IT FOR MORE THAN TWELVE YEARS! Their ACT results went down. Is this the wise way to spend the people's money? How about visiting Finland and Success Academy Schools in NYC to find out how they are achieving superior results for less money than what we spend and change the way we have been educating our children for the past hundred years! It would cost only $12,000 to take four board members/principals in combination to send them there for 7-10 days. We spend half a billion annually and produce very poor results. How about making a very needed, small investment to figure out what should be changed, because the state of Tennessee with its worse results never even thought about this possibility, while wasting many billions each year.
Since our poor results come out of our classrooms, how about finding out in Finland why their teachers are highly motivated, treated well by management, given total authority over the classroom without interference, are totally supported by management, have less paper work than we do, have much less classroom hours so that they have time for continuing education and classroom preparation, and have results that would be in an average ACT score range of 28-31?? How about learning how state and school district management needs to behave and treat those who are to produce good results? How about finding out what teachers do in Finland to be perfectly prepared for teaching, to be trusted to deliver the great results with a free hand?
Tennessee (TN) set an average ACT objective for years of only 21 to be achieved by 2020. A 21 average ACT score represents ONLY 26% (ACT Readiness) of a graduating class with a diploma having ONLY A CHANCE to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college. One cannot achieve good results with low expectations. People are more likely to rise to high expectations. When a school district picks low expectation objectives like a 21 ACT score, THAT IS YEARS AWAY, you have a board and superintendent who have no idea how to achieve good results. Why are our education standards so low that we cannot produce 80% minimum ACT Readiness instead of 26% among our high school graduates? Look at Finland whose methods overcome even most learning disabilities.
The ACT measures what our children learned from grade one to twelve. It is the only test that shows how well our children are prepared by this school district. The state ACT results are worse. Could anyone explain in political or education leadership why it is acceptable to graduate 76% (84% in TN) poorly employable children and then lie to the public, who pay education expenses, telling them purposefully that we provide "excellence for all children" and/or similar positive statements when the ACT results show poor outcomes? Is this what excellence delivers from our schools?
Keep central management very small (1% of total school district employees), and delegate as much decision making to the schools as possible to increase the ACT results. Decades of history shows that our bloated central management did not achieve any improvement in the poor results. It would make good sense to transfer the excess millions of dollars spent in central management to improve education in the schools.
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.
Another source for the normal size of Central Management of a school district as a percentage of total school district employees is provided by the American Association of School Administrators. Click on it right here.
Could anyone explain in political or education leadership why it is acceptable to award a diploma to a high school graduate who is not ACT ready? 76% (84% in TN) of graduates with a diploma are not ACT ready meaning that they are not prepared for anything but close to minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots in a few years. Why are such schools unchanged and remain open, when there are examples of school systems that deliver close to 100% well-prepared children with a diploma who can have a productive life?
Does such education management care enough about our children, is interested in or knows what the best education systems in the world are doing better than we do, in order to improve? Would this be happening if they cared? Do such results show that the superintendents and elected board members know what to do? WHAT DO YOU THINK?
IF INTERESTED IN GOING TO ONE OF THESE AREAS IMMEDIATELY, CLICK ON:
Charter schools - do they work well or not?
Examples of robotics. If you want to get any job, you must work hard in school and get top grades. TAKE THIS VERY SERIOUSLY.
What do student results depend on the most?
What makes school systems perform?
Six drivers of student success
Lessons for the United States from PISA
What is “ACT readiness” of a student or a school or a school district?
What are vision statements, goals, objectives and operating plans? Why are they important? Boards and superintendents - who manages the other?
Things missing in education management.
Teachers, the most important employees in our schools.
How do we compare internationally?
The USA dropped to 36th in education in the world. What are the best countries in education doing differently?
The 2008 national plan that was ignored.
What the Board members could do differently to improve education
We hope that you will look at this 8th grade test from 1912. Could our 8th graders pass such a test today?
WHAT WE MUST DO TO IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION URGENTLY
The Problems To Be Solved And Methods That Solve Them
|"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."|
The Public Is Not Getting The Truth About How Poorly Public Schools Are Educating The Majority Of Our Children
To get more public support, tell the truth. Generally both parents have to work today, and single parents have a tougher time. We need more support from them. Giving the public good news only is not helpful under the circumstances. Another important consideration is the fact that the public is paying everyone's salaries in public education. They deserve to know the truth. IF THE PUBLIC FINDS OUT WITHOUT FOREWARNING THAT THEIR CHILDREN CANNOT GET A JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM OUR HIGH SCHOOLS, WE WILL SEE A VERY BAD, VIOLENT REACTION. IT WOULD BE SMARTER TO ADMIT THE PROBLEM WE FACE WITH OUR POOR EDUCATION AND TAKE OWNERSHIP FOR WHY IT HAPPENED. THERE WOULD BE SOME INITIAL REACTION, BUT THE PUBLIC IS FORGIVING IF THEY SEE AN HONEST ATTEMPT MADE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.
Only 26% nationally, 16% in Tennessee and 24% in Knox County, Tennessee of our graduating students with a diploma are ready for job training or have a chance to finish the first year only of a college, tech school/vocational program - in 2015. However the school system tells the public that all is well, and complains about parents not pushing the children enough to study. This level of readiness of public school graduates for job or higher level training is very poor and it is not improving. Many including the schools blame the parents when there are examples of some of the best school systems in the world achieve very high results parent-independently. Our education management has no interest in how they achieve that.
The graph below shows the percentage of high school graduates nationally by demographics, who are not prepared for any job other than minimum wage jobs that will be replaced by robots shortly. The Tennessee figures are worse.
We produce only 26% readiness of high school graduates nationally for job training or to have just a chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school or college according to ACT. But much worse, we produce only 5-6% ACT ready black high school students nationally (Tennessee 2%). The 42-school charter school, Success Academy Schools of New York City, produce top 1% results with poor, inner city black children. At the same time, a new generation of robots started replacing low and medium level jobs. See examples further down. As a result, those students’ chances who are not ACT Ready, will evaporate for any job. If our governors and legislators cared, this would not be happening.
|What would you do if, in the only hospital available to you, 80% of patients became infected with an incurable debilitating infection and die? And your child is sick, requiring hospitalization. Would you be very concerned? This analogy is better than you think right now. Public schools are the only option for many. Considering dropouts, more than 80% of those children who enter public school in grade 9 are "dead" from the career point of view when leaving high school. You should be VERY concerned!|
When Performance Is As Poor As Ours, It Is Vital To Have Two Objectives Only To Focus The Entire Organization On The Key Measurable Indicator Of Academic Success, Like An ACT Score That Is 5-10% Higher Than The Last ACT Score Achieved. The Second Objective Must Be A Limit On Spending To Stay Under The Budget That Was Approved Before The School Year Started.
Anyone requesting additional school funding must commit to an ACT score increase in return with a plan in writing that explains how the ACT score increase is going to be achieved. State leadership, education committees, state school boards, and the state department of education, all must be focused on achieving an ACT score objective that is 5-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved along with the school districts. There is much more effort going into spending more money on programs that do not improve the ACT or SAT scores that represent our graduates' knowledge, or making excuses on the state or local level.
There Is No Effort To Learn From The Top International Performers To Improve Our Poor, Hundred-Year-Old Public Education System Practices That Has The 5th Highest Cost Per Student In The World, While Dropping To 36th From The Top At Great Cost To The Public.
All ACT objectives require that an operating plan exist detailing what committee members, board members and all management and supervisory personnel need to achieve by each month's end.
Look at the high percentage of graduating children who are not ACT Ready in the chart. Not being ACT Ready means no chance to finish even the first year of a tech/vocational school or a college. They are qualified only for minimum wage jobs, which will be replaced by robots in a couple of years.
“Denial. Ask any psychologist what the major obstacle to recovery is, and the likely answer will be denial. It’s fundamental. Until you admit there is a problem, you can’t begin to solve it.”|
John McCormack “Self-Made in America”
The elected boards have to oversee the management and success of a school district with typically 100 – 10,000 employees, and a $10 million - $1 BILLION annual budget through a superintendent that they interview and hire. That is a huge management job, for which the voting majority or even a single board member would not be experienced and qualified. One requires substantial training even to interview and decide to hire a superintendent for an organization of that size. The state cannot provide management guidelines because the old education laws block it and they are likely to not have the experience to give it. School districts have meaningless objectives. They don’t know how to change the way they manage and operate to create better results.
The elected board has to set objectives for the coming school year. Their objectives are always very vague, never about achieving an ACT score and never about not exceeding the budget approved at the start of the school year. The result is poor ACT scores, poor readiness after graduation and the budget exceeded every year. Then they perform their own performance review. The superintendent does the same and gives himself excellent marks, although the academic results are terrible. All objectives turn out vague and immeasurable. The superintendent is to prepare a five-year “strategic” plan according to the state, again with vague goals, many $100 words that no board-member dares to question for fear of looking uneducated. The plans do not include academic and financial objectives for schools, and school performance is the most important area. With such an arrangement, life becomes very political, and a poorly performing mayhem where sexual harassment can happen without the individual being fired. You hire and promote friends and relatives. You do nothing about helping teachers and principals to make their life more productive with higher morale so that they become more effective with students. All within current education law.
When the state itself is performing as poorly as Tennessee, it is not happening because they have the right management experience in the Department of Education, in the state Board of Education or even in the governor's office. If you disagree, just look at the ACT results. What does that tell us? It does not tell us that we have brilliant people with the right management experience, they just decided for a very important reason not to solve the problem that is destroying our children's future.
The public is paying a huge increasing bill for education with a school system failure rate at 74% nationally. For black students, it is an outrageous 95% ACT Unreadiness or failure rate, when a NYC chain of 42 charter schools, Success Academy Schools
scored top one percent passing even most private schools with poor, inner city black students! IT CAN BE DONE. VISIT THIS SCHOOL, FIND OUT WHAT CREATES THE SUCCESS, LEARN AND IMPLEMENT ANYTHING THAT WOULD HELP.
|"It's time to admit that public education operates like a planned economy, a bureaucratic system in which everybody's role is spelled out in advance and there are few incentives for innovation and productivity. It's no surprise that our school system doesn't improve: It more resembles the communist economy than our own market economy."|
Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation of Teachers
That is why we are producing the 36th result internationally. Tennessee is worse. We were on top in 1970. Teachers do not take the initiative to find out how the best nations in education are achieving their excellent results. They are focused on resolving their own personal issues with management, they have been demoralized over the years and not even given the basic right of being in charge of the classroom with full backing by management over discipline issues in the classroom. That is demeaning to teachers and reduces their credibility and authority in front of their students.
|“People do what you inspect, not what you expect.”|
Louis V. Gerstner Jr., Chairman, IBM
When board of education members don't know what good performance is and how to achieve it, and they believe what the superintendent says without knowing if it is fact or fiction. They certainly could not "inspect" how a school district is doing. The result is the destruction of most children's future. Employees will give board members good news only, unless one asks directly, e.g., "What do we need to do in your area to improve results X%?" "How much can you improve results if we do X, Y and Z?"
This website lists the ten best tools that could make learning easier for students and make teaching easier for teachers, in any school environment: http://www.teacherswithapps.com/top-10-most-effective-online-tools-for-academic-classes/.
MORE SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM: .
Teacher morale needs to be restored, by increasing their classroom authority to handle discipline problems immediately to eliminate class interruptions, and increase through a continuing education program their subject knowledge and improve their teaching methodology to the level of the top international performers. Eliminate any teacher activity that can be automated to free up more classroom and preparation time. In addition teachers must become more creative to deliver better results. Teachers must participate in any effort to develop better performance in the classroom, and to learn about how the best performing school systems achieve their great results, internationally or domestically.
Measurable goals and annual objectives that are a key indicator of success, such as an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the previous one actually achieved, and an annual operating plan for every single school with monthly measurable objectives, are vital to achieve much better results. A ship will never get to a destination port unless they know exactly where they are at any one time, and know accurately how and when they will get to the destination port. Let us say that the “destination port objective” is 80% of the graduating students being ACT College or Career Ready (employability to make enough money for a family of four) when graduating. Today only 24% of those with a high school diploma meet ACT’s readiness percentage of diplomas in Knox County, Tennessee, and 26% only nationally. The public is not informed of this, and don't know unless they read ACT's Readiness Reports. About three out of four students will be in close to minimum wage jobs (in Tennessee more than 80% of those with a diploma), to be replaced by robots in just a few years. Why? Because there is no sense of a common objective among teachers and their management, what their part of the academic objective is and what they have to do about it. To make it worse, the state’s objective for education is too low. People rise to reasonably high expectations, but strangely, they have difficulty meeting low expectations. Many teachers have very low morale (this is a classic upper management problem). How can you motivate children if your morale is down? You cannot.
Having a single academic ACT score primary objective on the board and superintendent is a necessity in poorly performing school districts especially, that are producing less than 80% ACT Ready high school graduates. A proper objective would be an ACT objective that is at least 5%-10% higher than the last ACT score achieved. It is a vital necessity to focus the entire organization on this objective to increase the ACT score. To support the ACT objective, there would be monthly Grade Point Average (GPA) objectives under it on the level of every manager and class within every school. The key question to answer would be “How can we increase the GPA from last year’s GPA 5%-10% as well? What new tools and how we need to change what we do in every school to achieve it?” Do not use any other objective. What we had are two different groups of unmeasurable, unclear and too low objectives IN 2015 and before. One is on the board's website. The second set is in the Superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan. THEY ARE EITHER IMMEASURABLE OR VERY LOW EXPLAINING THE POOR PERFORMANCE.
AVOID OBJECTIVES THAT CANNOT WORK. SEE THESE EXAMPLES.
Many objectives dilute each other. A second primary objective is also needed, monthly, to not exceed the expense budget that the board approved at the start of the school year, with each and every school principal being responsible for meeting a corresponding expense objective and academic objective, spending and personnel decisions without interference. All other objectives are secondary objectives applying to specific management positions under the board or superintendent.
The objectives set in the past that one sees below, cannot achieve good results, because those who produce the results, the schools and support staff are not focused on the right two elements, a measurable academic and expense objective monthly. Schools are not research institutions. They are production institutions of the highest importance, whose national result has a vital impact on our children, every industry and our economy.
In the school district's website
the superintendent mentions that: "In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is:"
- "100% of students completing high school" (What is the value of "completing" high school with 80% of those who entered 9th grade not being ready per ACT but for minimum wage jobs at best?)
- "At least 90% graduating with a regular diploma" (What is the value of a diploma when 77% of those with a regular diploma are not even ready to be trained for a job or to enter a college or tech school per ACT?)
- "At least 90% of our graduates taking the ACT, and" (All students take the ACT by law. What is the value here? Just taking a test has zero value in any case.)
- "At least 90% of ACT takers scoring a 21 or better" (An average ACT 21 score means that 73-75% of those who entered in 9th grade are NOT ACT READY and are prepared for minimum wage jobs only. This is a shamefully low objective. A neighboring school district's objective is ACT 24. The top twenty countries in education are delivering high school students in an ACT equivalent range of 26 to 31)."
In the superintendent's Five Year Strategic Plan we have these different objectives that are also not appropriate, unclear, not measurable, neither academic nor spending related. Ask yourself on each one of these "How on earth can I tell if they met this objective or not? How do I measure how well they have done?".
Are these easy to understand, clear, measurable academic objectives and a spending objective vs. the approved budget? Of course not. Can you tell what measurable result to reach in each one? Of course not. Can all workers be focused on these objectives so that the GPA and ACT scores go up in every school? Absolutely not.
- "Guarantee Excellence in Teaching and Learning."
- "Personalize Learning"
- "Facilitate High Quality Student Supports"
- "Build & Support Our Community of Learners"
- "Build & Support Our Community of Leaders"
- "Value Our Hardworking People"
- "Build & Strengthen Our "One Big Team""
- "Invite & Earn Stakeholder Feedback"
- "Improve Customer Service & Communication"
That is the reason for poor performance. No one is going to pay attention to such objectives, and when they are not measurable, there can be no possible consequence. Ignoring it works. What becomes important is to please your boss and shield any complaints from him. Anyone can come up with excuses for the ACT score not improving. And the boss needs good excuses so he/she will appreciate you for it. That is the effect of too many objectives that are not measurable to see with certainty if they were met or not. Such a situation ends up with politics becoming important and achieving good results become less important. Poor, unmeasurable objectives increase the importance of politics in organizational behavior for survival.
You may want to read “Objectives are vitally important if you wish to accomplish anything”
with a group of people - or even alone - especially in a poorly performing organization.
Although the states should do this centrally, we do not see teachers making an individual effort to learn about why the top competitors are producing much better results, learn about them and implement such new methods. Unfortunately such attitudes are understandable with low morale but not helpful.
Most parents are not pushing their children to study harder.
A few decades ago only one parent worked and the other parent could focus on what needed to be done at home, including focusing the children on studying. Today, both parents are working, and most parents take the child’s side if a complaint comes from school about the child’s behavior. When the school district PR machine lies to the public about things going well, it is not helpful in getting single parents to help the school because they are working long hours every day. Many parents are not supportive enough to get their children to work harder today. It would be very helpful if the public was well informed about the poor performance of schools, to motivate them to help.
However, there are school systems that produce uniformly excellent scores from all students, minority or not, without parental involvement,
e.g., Finland’s teaching method, or the 42-school Success Academy
Schools in New York City that achieved in 2015 top one percent results with poor inner city black children, an amazing achievement. Finland’s teacher selection and teaching methodology is better than ours. We are covering them in more detail later. Unfortunately our children pay a heavy price for all this. Four out of five graduates are unprepared for better jobs and robotic automation will replace them. All because our schools are not doing a better job. Parents we cannot control. Schools are to be controlled by their elected board and elected board members do not have the experience to do so.
Some people show better OECD PISA results for the USA by showing only OECD member country results (35 countries), a smaller number. OECD publishes both member and non-member countries’ results, 65 total, on the same page in its results. We dropped to 36th in the world in math.
The potential working years of a high school graduate is 40-45 years. More than 75% of graduates in Knox County, Tennessee (more than 80% for Tennessee) are not prepared for any employment other than close to minimum wage jobs with increasing unemployment during their short working life, as robotics replace the low-to-medium level jobs.
Excellent high school results are critical for our nation and individual graduates to be employable or what is called ACT Ready. Not just by one student in five being ready for employment as we have it now, but at least by four students out of five.
Those who are ready, become part of our workforce. We need an outstanding well-educated workforce to create competitively priced outstanding products and services that our various industries can sell worldwide. Our workforce declined in skills. Our national income, GNP, and tax income depend on the success of US industries worldwide. Our GNP has been under 3% in growth for the past ten years. That’s not good enough. It is the result of the poor readiness we deliver from our high schools. It is vital for us as a nation to fix our schools’ performance.
The world is everyone’s market. That means that we must become competitive in the world market and that means that our high school output must be one of the best. It dropped to 36th in math
. CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW WE COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN PERFORMANCE
|“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
What the Board members could do differently to improve education.
Between 1995 and 2014 Knox County, Tennessee students increased only 14% but administrators increased 130%. The spending would have been more appropriate in the classroom. BUT THAT IS NOT ALL. Administrators hire people to work for them. The real increase ends up 650-900% if they hire 4-6 people per administrator for only a 14% increase in students. However, with this huge increase in management, the ACT results dropped like a stone setting an all time low record in 2013 with a score of 20.2! ACT Readiness reports indicate that as a result more than 80% (statewide 89%, nationally 76%!) of those students who enter 9th grade are ready only for minimum wage employment, the types of jobs that will disappear. It is common knowledge in management that if you increase management numbers beyond standard operating ratios, managers (administrators) will start justifying their management positions, and such efforts actually hurt results.
This huge percentage of management increase was not reversed to this day, and it did absolutely nothing but cost us a lot of money! So...money is being shifted away from the classroom producing poorly prepared children in large numbers. Management overhead was increased purposefully, but the results dropped like a stone. I am sorry, but the wisdom with which the public's money and these decisions appear to be handled by boards and superintendents is mind boggling. No one in leadership appears to have the wisdom to stand up and reverse such foolish spending.
Why is the state allowing the wasting of so much of the people's money and dumb down virtually the entire workforce year after year? That is what the ACT results indicate under the governor.
The ACT and SAT tests show that our public school results are extremely poor. It is not surprising. If you attend any school board meeting, they never discuss the poor results and how those results could be improved. In addition, it is the schools that produce the results, yet we do not have monthly year-to-date GPA objectives in our schools that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. THAT EXPLAINS THE OUTRAGEOUSLY POOR PERFORMANCE.
|In our state's plans to improve math and English requirements, we are focusing on public opinion about what is needed. Education spending per student rose aggressively since 1970, and student performance went down. None of our leaders suggested any changes to our education system that increased the ACT and SAT scores, the key indicators of what children learned before graduating from high school. The public became less educated, was dumbed down as a result, and public opinion would not know anything about what our international competition accomplished and plans, and what our employers need. As you see many foreign products around us, it should be very clear that we are competing with foreign countries whose education systems passed ours. We must catch up with the best. It will not be the local public advice that will improve us. After all, it did not do any good so far, especially since they are misinformed by the school district PR groups about how well our schools are doing. It will be the detailed knowledge of what makes the top performers in the world much better than we are in the OECD PISA tests, that will tell us what areas we need to correct in primary and secondary education. We need to forget the old slogan that "WE ARE THE BEST", be honest with the public, and have objectives and operating plans achieved to become the best. |
One should be friendly and fair, but never become personally attached to anyone who works for you. It will bias your judgment about them. You may have to make hard decisions about them. If they are your close friend, you will not be able to do that. You have to judge your employee’s performance through measurable key indicators of success in their job, their specific objective. THIS IS NOT BEING DONE.
Board members must understand VERY WELL what ACT’s definition of Readiness means (go to ACT scores explained), as it is impacted by the development in robotics to replace low-to-medium level jobs. Most do not understand this area. They must appreciate the impact of new technologies on existing jobs, and also the new job opportunities they create and the education required for them (go to robots). They must understand that we are competing internationally, and that we therefore must compare our progress to the countries that passed us. It would be important for board members to be familiar with two high performing countries' education system, Singapore and Finland. THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEM. It would be important to know exactly what Singapore and Finland cover in each subject in their curricula and try to do better than that. The state education department should be doing such work. But if they do not, we need the school boards to be creative. One can request such information from the Ministry of Education in the country. ACT does provide in their annual readiness report statistics about how to increase the ACT scores. At minimum, Board members must understand these areas well. THEY DO NOT.
If the board member was a teacher, they need to realize that we have to become much better. Our teachers did not improve in subject knowledge, teaching methodologies and education management like other nations who passed us. THEY ARE NOT AWARE OF THIS AND WE ARE INCLUDING REFERENCES. We have some serious work to do.
A potential superintendent is very experienced in operating in a political environment whether he/she accomplished excellent results or not. Superintendents last in a job only 3-4 years for a couple of reasons: they take direction from a board who may or may not agree, and he/she is more experienced in the job than the board members. Or he or she cannot produce better results. In interviewing them, ask meaningful questions, such as:
The superintendent is the board's employee and not the board's boss. Board members must understand what ACT Readiness and ACT scores the superintendent is to deliver. That is the superintendent’s responsibility. If the superintendent is delivering poor results for seven years and the board gives the superintendent good performance reviews, the Board is responsible for the poor results. The board has destroyed the future of up to 76% (those not ACT Ready) or more of our high school graduates. If the board cared about them, this would not happen - or perhaps the board had no idea what to do and made no attempt at learning what to do.
- How would you measure monthly what a school district or a school achieved academically?
- How can you tell which high school graduates are prepared to get a job after high school that can minimally support a family of four?
- What does ACT Readiness mean?
- What ACT or SAT average did you achieve during each of the last three years?
- What mistakes did you make in each of the last three years?
- How do you know that morale is high or low in your organization?
When the results have been bad for decades, one must focus the entire organization on one performance and one spending objective like the ACT score and spending vs. budget in education. Without such focus, there is no chance for recovery.
Look at the chart below about ACT results. If only 24% of the high school diplomas are "ACT Ready" qualified, we are doing and extremely poor job, and both the Board and superintendent do not deserve a good performance evaluation. Yet that is what we gave year after year. It is not acceptable to do a job under which 76% of the graduating children’s jobs will be subject to replacement by robots within a few years, and they have not been educated well enough to learn a more sophisticated new job. 76% not being ACT Ready means that they have no chance to complete even the first year of a tech/vocational school or a college. Science and engineering programs require a 26 ACT achievement in math, in addition to the ACT Readiness benchmark in math, and that is way above 24% ACT Readiness. Also in addition, look at the examples listed here for immediate robotic applications. Some of these are replacing employees with four-year college degrees. It is fair to conclude that those who are not ACT Ready have only a few years of employment, because robotic capabilities will increase rapidly from now on. See examples of robotics.
The ACT achievement and budget compliance objectives need an operating plan. The operating plan requires a monthly year-to-date objective per school in two areas: one is an academic objective to be determined, most likely a GPA average, and the second a spending objective not to exceed a monthly year-to-date expense budget. It is necessary to have a monthly year-to-date progress measurement in both objectives for schools to identify any shortcomings early toward meeting the annual average ACT and budget goals for the school district. Performance-related objectives are needed for all supervisory positions in schools, in central management and for teachers also.
All objectives at all levels need to be measurable, a key indicator of success for the job of the individual, that contribute to ACT district objective achievement. They have to be brief and simple enough to be remembered precisely at all times by the individual. No current objectives at any level meet that criteria today in 2016.
Click here to see ACT scores explained for the graph below http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html
A useful document to read would be this guideline from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that covered 65 countries’ primary and secondary education, with the best in the world among them
|“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
We can see in the OECD chart above spending per pupil for each of 65 countries. We in Knox County, Tennessee are one of the top spenders per student compared to these 65 nations. But in results, we, the USA, are 36th in math - very poor. Tennessee is at the low end of USA performance. Knox County, Tennessee results would be much worse than 36th worldwide. That means that we spend enough money, but the money is not being spent in the right places. For example not enough money is getting to the classrooms that results come from, and there are requirements on teachers that cut down their preparation and teaching time, so that they cannot do their best. See chart below.
Credit For The Poor ACT Performance And Overspending
...goes to Jim McIntyre, superintendent and the board of education in Knox County, Tennessee. McIntyre joined in 2008, with his job ending in July 2016. As you can see from the chart below, his results were uniform every year, showing that 78-84% of high school graduates were not ready for more than a minimum wage job. Robotics will replace such students very soon.
Jim McIntyre was offered a position by the University of Tennessee before July 2016, to head its Center For Education Leadership. On its website the function of this center is represented as "The Center will take an innovative multi-disciplinary approach to school leadership development, which will seek to integrate research-tested education leadership theory with proven, effective practice. A unique partnership between the University of Tennessee and local school districts will define a new era of university-school district collaboration in the formal preparation and career-long professional development of educational leaders." We could benefit greatly from such a group, if its management came from a high performing area such as Canada, Finland or Singapore. We wish them a lot of success because both this county and its neighbors provide very poorly prepared public high school graduates.
The problem is that when board members look at a chart like this they do not recognize and/or have no time to learn and understand poor results and do not insist that the superintendent improve them. Unfortunately, some or sometimes most elected board members believe that they are to help what the superintendent wants to do. The results show that most superintendents are highly political and do not know what to do to increase results.
If we want 80% of those with a diploma to be ready to get better than minimum wage jobs, we need to be at an average ACT score above 25. That simply cannot be done with the poor management performance shown in the above charts. A diploma generally means that the person is fully prepared for a job or further education. With a 20.7 (Knox County, TN 2015) ACT score we produce only 24% of those who are ACT ready. That makes our Tennessee public school diplomas - worthless. What is the point in issuing worthless diplomas?
We are raising both at home and in school very soft and poorly trained children for a much tougher and more competitive world after high school. Schools and families must get tougher so that our children can survive in this tougher market. Otherwise they will not survive.
|“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!!”|
Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, 1776
The Public Is Purposefully Misinformed About How Poorly Our Children Are Prepared In High School. It Is Done Both By The State And The School Districts. They Employ Professional PR People At Public Expense For Which The Public Pays With Their Hard-Earned Tax Dollars
It is the ACT or SAT scores that indicate every year how well our children have been educated from grade one to twelve. They can claim that they have done many things, and they blame teachers and parents - but they have not initiated any program that raised the ACT or SAT scores since 1970. Those are the only tests that count and are given every year. But they organize big celebrations if we show even tiny gains in tests that do not count, because they are easier to show higher scores. This is how they misguide and lie to the public, who pay more and more every year for the poor results.
|"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either."|
Are school boards and superintendents telling the public all the truth and nothing but the truth about their results?
Raising the minimum wage instead of increasing public high school performance and improving behavior to internationally competitive levels, accelerates the demand for the less expensive and more productive robotic automation.
Among black high school graduates, 95% were not ready nationally in 2015. 95%! At the same time a charter school chain in NYC (Success Academy Schools 1
, Success Academy Schools 2
) with poor, inner city black students with 32 schools scored top one percent in math in the New York State Common Core Tests in 2013 beating even most private schools. They demand excellence in teaching and in student behavior.
New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA. Tennessee, a state we use for some examples, is in the bottom half of US performance. Or better yet, look at a world top performer, Finland with methodologies developed that are pure genius to produce excellent results in less teaching hours and lower cost than ours, although their cost of living is higher (Finland 1
, Finland 2
). Excellent results are possible, but not the way we have been running public schools in any state for the past hundred years. We do not visit those who excel to learn from them.
Education is the only way out of poverty. We are not doing well as a country with public education. Tennessee is worse. We must correct this situation if we want more employable people. We must educate significantly more of our children with university degrees that are in demand. That in turn depends on how well they are educated in grades one through twelve.
Unfortunately, the lack of proper interest in our poor education downtrend to date, and lack of action to increase ACT and SAT test scores significantly by now, presents a disturbing outlook. Lack of interest means that no change was introduced that raised ACT and SAT levels.
- Five million of our current jobs will be replaced by robotic automation as early as 2020 according to the World Economic Forum (see article 1, and others predict much higher numbers for the USA article 2).
- The rising minimum wage is an incentive to employers to replace employees with robotic automation. Example: MacDonalds
- The sophistication of the jobs replaced by robotic automation is increasing. Read about anesthesia robots as an example (Robots vs. Anesthesiologists).
- Not informing our population about the poor performance of public schools will create a lot of public anger when the poor education is discovered. We have been building a powder keg that will explode unless we turn this situation around aggressively.
- Our GNP being under 3% since 2007 indicates that we will not have enough money to solve the resulting unemployment. The GNP depends on how well educated and skilled the workforce is, which in turn depends on how well our high schools prepare their graduates. We are not doing well enough.
- No objective existed to date to achieve an ACT score that is at least 5% higher than the last achieved ACT score. No objective existed to achieve the ACT score without overspending the budget. Similarly no measurable academic and financial objectives existed for all management and supervisory positions within each and every school and central management. The ACT measures what students learned from grade one to twelve. Such lack of focus did not and cannot achieve good results.
The poor public school performance goes back several 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 ourblack 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. Children can learn bad habits, bad attitudes during the formative years. A free additional remedial two year college education will not fix that. That is why it is the entire K-12 system that needs to be fixed or replaced.
|"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them."|
Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer & physicist (1564 - 1642)
|"With the long-term declining of primary and secondary education, we are developing a nation of sheep.|
A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."
Edward R. Morrow, Journalist, 1908-1965
|"The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, THERE IT IS."|
TCAP state test results for Tennessee show a much higher score than the national ACT or NAEP tests, because the state tests are easier. In addition, if the percentage score of right answers is low, e.g., 45%, normally it would be a failing grade. To make it look better, the state translates the low 45% score to a "B". They call this failing grade translation "Cut scores". The result about how well the students know what they were taught, becomes a lie to the public. The TCAP's rigor or toughness was 58% lower than the ACT. Tests are never designed to show less than the intended results for a grade. In other words, the much easier state test shows much higher grades, putting into good light performance that is a disastrous failure using these "Cut scores". As a result, we hurt a very large percentage of graduating children who are not ready for a meaningful job or for more education without two years of full time remedial courses.
Praising and calling a superintendent a Miracle Maker with our TCAP results is not a true representation of the actual results for which the public is paying with their hard-earned tax dollars. Frankly, one would reasonably expect a more truthful representation made to the public in an article like the one below, by any journalist or especially an editor or publisher of any newspaper. The ideals and standards of journalists have changed unfortunately.
All the above shows a planned, willful and purposeful misrepresentation of the truth, to create an impression that the school district is doing well, when, in fact, it is doing very poorly according to ACT's impartial job training and college readiness figures. The misrepresentation starts with the Boards and superintendents of school districts who are not telling the entire truth. The public is paying for it. The public is misinformed PURPOSEFULLY. And most of our children and workforce get hurt for life as a result. This will lead to very dangerous public unrest at minimum.