But first, it may make you angry.
Then learn. Understand why. And take action for the better.
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 to date.
What the Board members could do differently to improve education
We Are Not Getting The Truth In The USA About How Poorly Public Schools Are Educating Most Of Our Children
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.
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.
What would you do if, in the only hospital available to you, more than 80% of patients became infected with an incurable debilitating infection and die? And your child is sick, requiring hospitalization. Would you be very concerned? This analogy is better than you think right now. Public schools are the only option for many. Considering dropouts, more than 80% of those children who enter public school in grade 9 are "dead" from the career point of view when leaving high school. You should be VERY concerned!
We hope that you will look at this 8th grade test from 1912. Could our 8th graders pass such a test today?
74% of US high school graduates are NOT ready, but only for simple, minimum wage jobs according to ACT, and will be replaced by robots in just a few years, because robots do a much better job at lower cost. Look at the huge percentage of graduating students in Tennessee and its Knox County in the graph below who are NOT ACT ACT READY. The school system is telling the public a much better story. Look at the poor readiness percentage of the diplomas in the chart below. "A half-truth is a whole lie” is a popular proverb that’s been directed at newspapers and politicians since the 1880s. Other countries improved their teachers, teaching methodology and education management. We did not and dropped to 36th in the world by 2013 from the top in 1970. The public has no idea how poorly their children are prepared by our public schools.
To see a much more shocking situation, look at the very low readiness percentage of all public high schools in Knox County, Tennessee in the chart below. Subtract these percentages from 100% and you will get a very high percentage of all those students who graduated poorly prepared. This is based on those students who actually graduated from high school. Ignoring this poor performance, the board of education in Knox County, Tennessee gave itself and the superintendent an excellent performance review every year. Those who are not ready per ACT, will have a terrible life because robotics will take their jobs away within a few years. New technologies will always bring new jobs with higher pay, but an excellent basic educational foundation must be there to be trainable for the new jobs. Our high school education is not good enough at any public high school as of 2016 to provide the needed foundation for such job changes. We have more than three million such jobs open in 2016 that we cannot fill because of the poor high school education we provide in most school districts.
Those who are not ACT Ready, have no chance to finish the first year of a tech/vocational school and the low end jobs for which they qualify will be replaced by robotic technology within two-three years maximum. Note that based on the above poor results in the chart, the board gave themselves and the superintendent very good performance reviews. It is very easy for the elected boards to do that. They just come up with vague goals/objectives that could be interpreted any way they want. An ACT score to be achieved is never an objective. Examples of objectives they write are: "Guarantee Excellence in Teaching and Learning", "Facilitate High Quality Student Supports", "Build & Support Our Community of Leaders", "Build & Strengthen Our "One Big Team".
IT WOULD NOT BE UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT THAT ALL CHILDREN WHO GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL WITH A REGULAR DIPLOMA SHOULD BE ACT READY.
We are moving toward faster technological changes, that bring with them faster job changes to different jobs during one’s life. That means that the fundamental education children get in science, math and languages in primary and secondary school needs to create a stronger foundation, teach more, 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 companies can sell their products anywhere in the world and we see many products in the US from other countries today.
People buy products that they 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 with GNP below 3% for ten years now.
Product competitiveness and cost depend on how well trained our workforce is.
Workforce training depends on how well educated most of our high school graduates are.
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 PR groups. 35 of them have better results instead than we have. Why do we need groups of full time PR people for our public school districts? To make public opinion about public education much better than reality is.
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%. Since our high schools feed the workforce-needs of all industries, the poor high school output can destroy us from within.
"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."
HOW DO WE COMPARE TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN AND WORKFORCE?
Technology like video conferencing, the Internet, airplanes made almost every country easily reachable in the last few decades. The world has become “much smaller”. Anyone can sell in any country products or services, and we compete against products or services from other countries. A worldwide competitive product or service needs to create a well-trained workforce that is better than its competitors. The competence of the workforce depends on how well educated they were coming out of high school and how much they improved after that. We were on top in 1970, but in math we dropped to 36th at the end of high school of 65 countries by 2013 (OECD PISA). According to the 2014 World Economic Forum’s Global competitiveness report on 149 nations, the USA is:
Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan methodologies may not be culturally transferable to the USA, because the high achievement is the result of parental pressure, e.g., homework until midnight, and getting on the train to school by 6 AM. In addition, Shanghai admits only the highest performing students into its public schools.
The graph below provides an international view of expenses per student per country. The US is one of the highest spenders, but unfortunately, our performance is poor. THAT MEANS THAT THE MONEY IS NOT SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HIGH TEACHER MORALE
The knowledge and motivation of high school graduates to become self-supporting is most important. It is limited by the knowledge and ability of teachers to motivate and teach them. It is also limited by the board's and superintendent's support of teachers to ensure their high morale and proper support. High teacher morale is essential for success. We are not doing well in these areas.
Teachers having total authority to manage the classroom is very important but lacking.
Teacher support is weak, limiting their ability to deliver their best. Management does not help, listen to them or support them in most cases. The “informal” management structure above teachers interferes. Principals do not have enough authority over their school budget. Twice as much money allocated for poorly performing schools as if that solved their problem. It has not in more than 15 years. People in central management can interfere. There is too much testing and paperwork, cutting teacher preparation time. Teacher authority is very limited in dealing with discipline problems with serious punishment that would make an offender and his/her parent think twice before such an offense is ever repeated. Teacher objectives are poorly defined and teacher performance evaluation is prejudicial. Teachers need to be completely in charge of their classroom, with full support from above, in order to do their best. 50% of teachers leave the profession within five years because they are not treated fairly. Much work needs to be done to correct such problems because teachers are our only resource to prepare our children properly to strengthen the workforce to improve our struggling economy. As of 2016, it is clear that all prior boards’ voting majority and the superintendents they hired did not have the expertise to produce good results in Knox County, Tennessee.
We permit classroom behaviors with very light punishment that obstruct teacher effort and disturb an entire class for at least a day. For example, a student threw feces at a teacher during class as he returned from the men's room. The punishment by the principal was sending him home after the principal "cross-examined" the teacher and the offender in his office. The teacher and offending student "cross examination" together destroys the teacher's authority further. The next day the offender came to school and now he had five more followers in misbehavior in the same class. Making a hero out of the offender as we do with light punishment is very foolish. One cannot help but wonder about the people being employed in decision making position in the state department of education and in the education districts themselves.
No laws exist to achieve a good average ACT or SAT score by the end of high school and to do it all based on the budget that the district board approved before the start of the school year. More importantly, MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES from the state to the school boards do not exist to achieve some uniformity for better performance at normal expense levels. Under any state law, one cannot blame the superintendent and the board if they have poor results, unless the board created a specific objective first to reach better results. If such an objective was not created by the board, poor performance is making most children failures for life. No one can create a change under current education law. Boards and superintendents avoid such "liability" by purposefully not having objectives about things like average ACT score achievement or not exceeding the approved budget. Just look at the examples of objectives below.
Why would anyone be motivated to put in the extra effort to correct a poorly performing education system as measured by the ACT:
Sadly, that is what we have in Knox County, Tennessee.
History of American public elementary and secondary education: it appears that since 1970 spending per student skyrocketed. So did staffing with small increase in students. However, what students have learned, went nowhere to this day, although job requirements and related knowledge have both increased. The ACT scores show what a student learned from grade one to twelve. These scores declined and stay in an area showing poor readiness to be trained for a job or to go on to further education in college or a technical school (data and sources below). A long book goes further back in history providing information about influential groups, some of the wealthiest families, and Congressional decisions that negatively influenced American education with actions starting during the 1800's. We suggest reading at least Chapter 2: Deliberate Dumbing Down.
A shocking example from Knoxville, Tennessee is all too common. Local manufacturing businesses hired several times high school graduates with a regular diploma from Fulton or Central High Schools with identical results. The boss asked the young man to mark a 2 and 3/8" by 4 and 2/3" rectangular area from the corner of a sheet of material, handing him a ruler and pencil. The young man did not have any questions AND HAD NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. He was a high school graduate!! Another young man was taught what number to dial into each of three dials in a machine and press the start button, given this info in writing. The supervisor had to correct him every single time FOR TWO WEEKS before deciding that they cannot use this employee with a high school diploma. This is what the ACT UNREADINESS means in actual practice.
The public is given by the school district's PR Department education-related news that is more positive than reality. Even the easy state tests have a low score. For example, the maximum score on the state test in Tennessee, the TCAP, is 500. A typical score range achieved by students would be 200-250. For our example we are using 250 or 50%. 50% normally would be an "F". Since it looks bad as an "F", the state education department translates it with the governor's approval every year through a process called "cut scores" to a "A", TO MAKE IT LOOK BETTER THAN AN "F" - WHICH IT IS. Any test, especially a state test, was designed for a specific subject to test a specific end-of-course knowledge-level of a grade like the 4th or 8th grade. Why is it necessary then to "translate" its result to something much better in the extreme than what the students actually achieved with the test that was specifically designed for a specific subject in a specific grade? It was either designed with an enormous mistake (not likely), or the designer purposefully made it twice as hard as it should be (not likely), OR THE SCORE IS BEING MISREPRESENTED PURPOSEFULLY TO COVER THE POOR PUBLIC EDUCATION RESULT AND MAKE IT LOOK MUCH BETTER TO THE PUBLIC, WITH THE LEADERSHIP HAVING THE NERVE TO CELEBRATE THE "CUT SCORE" RESULT! If a score without misrepresentation is improving but stays at the "F" level, why do a big public celebration with the media, superintendent and he governor present? Will that increase the ACT Readiness of the students? It does not.
The State of Tennessee puts emphasis on increasing the percentage of high school graduates with a diploma as THE objective for high schools. Many other states do the same. However, too many "graduates" cannot do the simplest things. More than 80% of such graduates with a diploma are not ready for job training, or to finish even the first year of a non-remedial college or tech school program. The national percentage was 74% in 2014. The minimum requirement for being elected a school board member is...to be a high school graduate. Some school districts have a BILLION dollar annual budget - all budgets are guaranteed by law not to be less than what was spent the previous year. It can only go up - and the ACT scores keep going down or stay in a poor area. The elected boards of education write vague objectives FOR THEMSELVES - and write THEIR OWN performance evaluation. They make ALL DECISIONS under the law, and some school districts have close to ten thousand employees - yet no management training and experience. According to ACT, some high schools graduate 95-97% (national average 74%) of their students WITH A REGULAR DIPLOMA WHO ARE NOT READY TO BE TRAINED FOR A JOB! The result is - unknown to the public - that a high school diploma is worthless today in 2015. Such a child will have a terrible life because cognitive robotics will take their jobs. Our education system, and ultimately the governor is responsible. They will argue that the parents are responsible for the poor results, and they need more money! Well, we are the fifth highest spender per student in the world, delivering the 36th result. WHO DECIDED TO GIVE SUCH UNEDUCATED CHILDREN A DIPLOMA?! How can our governors be so uninformed and indecisive that they allow such things to happen for decades?! Why didn't our legislators and elected leaders solve this problem decades ago? The skyrocketing education spending and the results going nowhere were documented since 1970! Not a single elected leader acted on it such that the ACT and SAT scores went up. They are the ones that count.
The state laws put all decisions into the hands of the elected school district boards. There are about 14,500 of them nationwide. THE ELECTED SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARDS DO NOT IMPROVE THE EDUCATION OF OUR CHILDREN. WE CONCENTRATE ON MAKING GRADUATION EASY. 74% OF ALL THESE GRADUATES NATIONALLY CANNOT EVEN BE TRAINED FOR A JOB ACCORDING TO ACT, THE TESTING ORGANIZATION. SUCH A DIPLOMA IS WORTHLESS. The public is already experiencing that. "NO JOBS!" - The public complains. Not exactly. THERE ARE NO CANDIDATES FOR JOBS THAT MEET THE EMPLOYERS' NEEDS! THERE WERE THREE MILLION SUCH UNFILLED JOBS IN 2015!
Who is responsible for such poor results? Boards and superintendents carefully point at the teachers, after all, the students are the products of the classrooms. However, when management restricts teachers so that they cannot do their best, management is responsible. If state laws restrict management, then the state is responsible. See this area in more detail here:come http://www.usaedustat.com/1sevenactions.html.
The school boards do not want to have an ACT or SAT score objective that is just a little, e.g., 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. They don't know how to achieve that. This would be important to focus the leadership of the education district to start producing better results. 5-10% is a small percentage when your performance is as low as ours. At least 80% of our children should be ready for job training or tech school or college upon graduation. Only 26% are ready nationally according to ACT. A 10% increase would place readiness from 26% to 28.3% readiness. Is that too much to ask? If the ACT score is at 20, would it be too much to increase it 10% to 22? School districts fear such objectives because they and their superintendents don't know how to increase performance as history shows. 74% of our high school graduates nationally are not ready for any job that could support a family of four minimally. That's very low.
We are the only country that does not set national standards in education and provides such standards for uniformly excellent performance. No one can argue the fact that our results declined to a very low level. We dropped to 36th in math internationally (OECD PISA) in 2013. Since 2014, 74% of high school graduates in the US are not prepared to be trained for a job or to enter further education other than remedial education, according to ACT's Readiness Reports. Student results are the product of the teachers. It is a fact that in other countries who do a better job than we educating their children, teachers were in the top third of their Master's program in the subject they will teach. They are also matched to the teaching profession using psychological tests and then they are educated about the latest teaching methodologies. We don't do that. Most of our teachers are less prepared. Our teachers are also poorly managed, they have very low morale. Since teachers produce the results of an education district, it is the job of the board and the superintendent to HELP the teachers to improve instead of hindering them. They hinder them. More about this later.
Some people have been convinced that they want local control in everything as if that will raise performance. That is what we had all these years. We dropped from the top to 36th in the world. IT...DOES...NOT...WORK! 74% of those children with a high school diploma are not ready to be employed but only temporarily. In some places like Knox County, Tennessee, board members receive $25-28k compensation and they have no term limits. They also have a professional PR group with power to elect a new candidate or not. People get used to such a compensation, and that creates problems. Most school districts do not have such compensation for board members. Board membership is a voluntary position in many school districts. The decision-making majority of locally elected boards proven over decades how poorly they will do with every little school district setting its standards.
There are very strange ideas coming out of the school districts against ideas and entities. For example, "corporate ideas are bad" whatever they are. Another is the "bad" Gates Foundation that donates billions per year to many causes. Bill Gates started Microsoft in his parent's garage, worked hard, created millions of jobs and made many millionaires in his company. Another "bad" thing is "schools for profit", whatever they are, and charter schools, claiming that they take money away from public schools. Doesn't the public, who pays for the public schools, deserve a choice of schools for their children, instead of being sentenced to the many bad public schools that destroy their children's lives? There is an excellent solution to this "problem". Public schools, do a better job than the other alternatives! WHAT WE NEED ARE EXCELLENT SCHOOLS THAT TEACH OUR CHILDREN WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED, AND DO IT MUCH BETTER THAN IN THE PAST. To achieve excellence in any field, one needs competition. To have competition in education, parents need the right to send their children to any school that accepts them. Vouchers would enable the parent to afford that financially if the voucher's value to the school of parental choice equals the average expense of a student in the same school district. WE NEED A VARIETY OF SCHOOLS COMPETING, BY ANY NAME, THAT DO AN EXCELLENT JOB TO ENSURE THE EMPLOYABILITY OF OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, WHATEVER THEY BECOME. ISN'T THAT WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO ALL OF US?
Under education laws, if individual school boards do not have an ACT score objective, they cannot be held responsible for it. No penalties for bad results. If they do not have an objective to stay within the budget, they can exceed the budget. No penalties. They do every year, and no one does anything about it. No penalties for overspending. Our results are poor nationally. Superintendents are responsible for the poor results with few exceptions. THE FOX IS IN THE HENHOUSE DESTROYING THE FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN. In some places, the fox with a silver tongue is the superintendent, destroying the majority of our children and grandchildren getting paid above $200,000 with the parent's, the public's money. The elected board is helpless and gets paid $20-25K per board member in Knox County, Tennessee, for doing what they are told! Just think about this. The governor initiates programs with a great public celebration to increase the results, which do not make a dent in the school district's failure ( ACT UNREADINESS) rate. The governor could do something meaningful. For example, starting to use the right objectives. Such an objective would be an ACT score that is 5-10% higher than the last one achieved. The ACT measures what children have learned from grade one to twelve. The governor could initiate annual operating plans with objectives for every administrator or supervisory employee to fix the poor performance of the public schools. We hear that he says "that's too difficult". Why? Because then he has to tell the public the truth about how poorly our public schools are doing, with few exceptions.
Unfortunately, our legislators and political leaders do not have the courage to do anything to change this situation. We are being destroyed internally by an enemy called public education, that produces worse and worse results as the years pass with very few exceptions. Don't believe it? Just look at the record below. Recommendation: if you can, please send your children to a school district that produces a consolidated average ACT score of more than 24.
Student results are limited by the teachers' ability to teach a subject in an excellent manner, and how well the school district's management is allowing and helping the teachers to do their best. John Merrow, PBS: "Schools underpay and mistreat teachers and eventually drive them from the profession; inept school districts cannot find the qualified teachers living under their noses, and substandard training ill prepares educators for the realities of classroom life".
This website is based on published ACT (American College Testing, Inc.) results for the USA ACT scores explained: http://www.usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html , and OECD PISA reports for international performance in education (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - Programme for International Student Development), in addition to other named publications below. We made an attempt to identify all sources and examples here for the website to be clear to all readers. We also consolidated the data in charts to show trends. The ACT shows what children learned from grade one to twelve.
"With the long-term declining of primary and secondary education, we are developing a nation of sheep.
The Art Of Spending More, And Achieving LessMany give excuses for the public schools' poor performance (e.g., "we must take all children", "we cannot be more strict with discipline problems", "we cannot help teachers more for better results" and so on). How many times did the boards of education and superintendents petition the governor for changes for the better, to remove these problems? If they did not, they own the problem.
We have many in our leadership with suggested programs with promises of improved academic results for which we spent and spend many millions of dollars each year, and the performance (ACT or SAT scores) did not rise. They are the indicator of what our children learned from grade one to twelve. They are the only certain indicator of education improvement, going nowhere. All such moneys need to be reversed and transferred to the classrooms to increase the ACT results. AT THE SAME TIME, NO ONE EVER VISITS THE BEST PERFORMERS IN THE WORLD TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO ACHIEVE SUPERIOR RESULTS. THAT IS HOW WE DROPPED TO 36TH INTERNATIONALLY. We not only do not ask the state for help to solve problem areas. We also seem to be not interested in how the winners learned to do things better to achieve high results.
Most private schools cost less per student than public schools. Private schools deliver 90-100% ACT READINESS after high school, when public school ACT READINESS is a terrible 2-26% only, for more money per student than the cost of many private schools. Given the poor public school performance, our objective needs to be to deliver more than 80% READINESS per ACT's definition instead of the 2-26% delivered by our public high schools today in 2015. "We must take all children with all behaviors" is an unacceptable excuse. Allowing a child to remain in or return to a class who ruin learning for 10-15 times more children is not just unacceptable but self-defeating. Did any board member or superintendent petition the state leadership to place children into a different place if they cannot or are unwilling to learn and make an entire class performance worse by creating discipline problems? If not, you own the problem.
If the public schools cannot improve dramatically, as they have not improved for decades with few exceptions, then why object to ANY TYPE OF SCHOOL that prepares our children much better for work or college than the poorly performing public schools and do it at lower cost per student?
Why do we allow public schools to exist without closing them if more than 50% of their students with a high school diploma are not even prepared to be trained for a job?! WHY DO WE GIVE STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT READY A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA??!
Why do we continue operating high schools at public expense for MORE THAN TEN YEARS if more than 90% of their graduates were not prepared for job training, AND WE ARE SPENDING TWICE AS MUCH PER STUDENT ON THEM THAN IN THE BETTER PERFORMING HIGH SCHOOLS? THE INCREASED SPENDING MADE NO DIFFERENCE! HIRE A SUPERINTENDENT WHO CAN CHANGE THEM WITHOUT SPENDING DOUBLE PER STUDENT...OR CLOSE THEM.
Why do we make excuses for such poorly performing public schools instead of making changes to improve their results? If a superintendent cannot make such changes within a couple of years, one needs a different superintendent, instead of letting hundreds of children become not educated well enough to survive.
We hear objections against "corporate ideas" in education, but no one can explain what these are. It would be better if public schools and leadership worried more about their results and improved them.
Why does anyone have to complain about the Gates Foundation, or charter schools or vouchers?
Bill Gates dropped out of college and started Microsoft in his parent's garage with his friend. They worked very hard for decades to make Microsoft a very successful company, creating millions of jobs and making many millionaires of employees. And now he gives away many billions of dollars that HE MADE for many good causes to help those who need help in the world. He has given more than $400 million to education. It would be better if public schools and leadership worried more about their results and improved them.
Many different schools and programs offer much higher ACT READINESS than most public schools. Why should not the public, who pay for public schools via taxes, be able to choose a different school such that their child will succeed instead of having to attend a poorly performing school? If you don't like such choices, do something to make sure that the public schools perform better. Why should anyone support schools that prepare our children so poorly that the great majority, as much as 95% of the students, are likely to become homeless? We pay more than twice for more than a decade per student in the poorly performing schools without any improvement, than what the good schools spend per student. Is that good management of the people's money?
Considering the long-term decline of performance of most public schools, having the parental option to send your child to a private or charter school with vouchers so that they are better prepared for the future is a necessity that we should understand. We are graduating almost three million high school graduates who are not ready to be trained for a job, and we have three million open jobs for which the employers cannot find properly educated candidates. If a public high school cannot produce a greater than 50% ACT READINESS, how long should they be educating our children? Look at a charter school chain called Success Academy Schools in NYC. They produce one of the best results from the worst demographic area, with poor inner city black children from NYC.
May the best schools survive and replace the schools with poor results. Makes sense?
THE GOAL NEEDS TO BE TO DELIVER BETTER EDUCATED CHILDREN WHO ARE READY TO BE TRAINED FOR A JOB OR GO TO COLLEGE OR A TECHNICAL SCHOOL UPON GRADUATION. It is not to preserve poorly performing schools (public, private or charter).
Taking a look into how American high school graduates compare to other nations within the world market
The ELECTED board of education is totally in charge of all decisions in any public school district under the state laws. The responsible people for the poor results with our children in Knox County, Tennessee are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board chairs, if they have majority support, INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE, AND MIKE MACMILLAN.
As an example, according to ACT, during the last seven years 79% or more of our children and grandchildren who entered 9th grade, were/are not ready to be trained for a job after leaving high school in Knox County, Tennessee. It is worse in the State of Tennessee. The USA average is only slightly better. A typical slogan of Jim McIntyre, superintendent in the Knox County, Tennessee school districts is: "WE are doing great things, setting new records, WITH EXCELLENCE FOR ALL CHILDREN!". This is not true. There is no excellence for all children with the above ACT Unreadiness that the superintendent keeps from the public. There is no excellence, period. See the actual record above and in other charts below.
The above graph shows how our spending per student and the number of employees hired by school districts increased since 1970, but the results did not. At the same time the world became more technical, robotics and software automation replaced a lot of low-end jobs, and the job requirements increased. That means that the public's general knowledge went down compared to the increase in knowledge that jobs required later. Education contributed to date by delivering lower and lower results than what jobs required.
Although we have many smart people, overall the education system dumbed us down. A school system in New York (32 school Success Academy Schools in NYC) proves that becoming one of the best INTERNATIONALLY is very possible. Of the black inner city students, only 1-2% are ACT-ready to be trained for a job out of high school everywhere generally. Such students, with a 32-school chain called Success Academy Schools of NYC, scored in the top 1% in math and top 3% in English in the entire State of New York, in its Common Core tests, passing not only most public schools but private schools as well. That result is within top ten international performance. ( Success Academy Schools of New York City 1: http://educationnext.org/what-explains-success-academy-charter-network/, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2: http://successacademies.org/about/, A virtual tour: http://virtualtour.successacademies.org/tour/#welcome) . So excellence is achievable even with the most challenging students, but not the way we manage education with hundred-year-old methods when the rest of the world improved and modernized.
98% of black students are also not ready in Tennessee to be trained for a job or to enter a tech school or university even for a year. We are creating a situation that can blow up any time, unless we fix public education fast, grades one to twelve, with a sense of urgency. Not just "patching" by providing an additional two years of remedial education to make up for what the public high school did not provide. That puts more financial burden on the public instead of fixing the real problem: poor performance from grade one to twelve. A patch will not correct but a small percentage of the 80%+ ACT Unreadiness, the system's failure rate. See: Our educational decline has been jeopardizing our national security.
How does the ACT Readiness of high school graduates in public education relate to America's future economic success as a nation?
The ACT (or Scholastic Aptitude Test, SAT) scores are the key indicators of what students learn from grade one to twelve in Tennessee and other states. As an example, in Knox County, Tennessee, more than 80% of our children who entered 9th grade, have been and are leaving high school unprepared to be trained for a job, or to finish even the first year of a college or tech school.See ACT scores explained . According to community college professors, as much as two years of remedial college study is required to start the first year of a college freshman program, because of poor public high school preparation. Nationally the figure is a little better. A major issue is 98% of black students being unprepared for a job after high school in Knox County, Tennessee (95% nationally). IMAGINE SO MANY UNEMPLOYABLE YOUNG PEOPLE ON THE STREETS. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN? YOU SHOULD BE SCARED. However, a charter school system called Success Academy Schools in New York City with 32 schools and poor inner city black children, scored in the top one percent in the New York State Common Core tests in 2014, beating the majority of all state public AND private schools ( Success Academy Schools of New York City 1, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2). New York State is the fifth highest performer in the USA. Tennessee is close to the bottom. Clearly something is very wrong and major changes are needed in the public school systems in the way our school districts are managed.
The ELECTED board of education is totally in charge of all decisions under the state law. The people who are responsible for the poor results in Knox County, Tennessee, are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board of education chairs, if majority supported, INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE, MIKE MACMILLAN.
Massachusetts' students rank 1st in the US in math. Hong Kong's students rank among the top 5 in the world. The US is 36th, a new low record in math in 2013 (OECD-PISA tests of 65 countries). The best in our country do not come CLOSE to matching even the top 20 in the world. 87% of the questions on the Hong Kong test require a higher level of thinking and knowledge. Only 6% of questions on the Massachusetts test are on the same level. These figures express how woefully behind we are( http://iadvocateforkids.org/PTA/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/CCSShandout4pg-FINAL.pdf, Page 3). Our example, Tennessee is close to last in the USA, much worse than Massachusetts. The curriculum to get a high school diploma is more rigorous in the top 20 countries than ours. However, one needs well trained teachers in the subjects to be taught instead of a teaching degree. Internationally that means a Master's degree in the subject that a teacher will be teaching. In most of the leading countries in education, the curriculum defines what each course is to achieve by year-end and the teachers who have a Master's degree in the subjects they teach, decide individually what and how they will teach and in what sequence to achieve the curriculum requirement. US teachers do not. International teachers come from the top 10-30% of their Master's program in the subject that they will teach. US teachers come from the bottom 30% of their classes with an education degree (BA or BS) that covers a little of a number of subjects. In US school districts one often finds teachers switched to teach a subject in which they had no training. We have some work to do. US teachers not only start with a handicap but are managed so poorly that their morale is suffering. THAT is a very bad combination for creating successful high school graduates in large enough numbers.
The most important outcome of K-12 education (grades 1 to 12) is to have at least 80% students who entered 9th grade prepared to be employed or ready for the next level of job or university training. Currently in 2015, less than 20% are ready in Tennessee, and 24% US wide.If not employable with enough income to live on, he/she will have a terrible life. We have been creating too many such children leaving high school. The ACT has been shown to be a reliable measure of those outcomes yet we have not included it in our education district's objectives. Instead, school districts use vague objectives and give themselves excellent ratings to mask the poor performance from the public. A goal must be to lower the current 80%+ ACT (average score 20.4) UNREADINESS/FAILURE RATE, counting from 9th-grade entry of those leaving high school. We must lower the ACT Unreadiness percentage of our high school students from 80%+ in Tennessee (or 76% in the US) to 20% to be competitive. See ACT scores explained. "UNREADINESS" means no tech school, college or trade job training possibility, with minimum wage opportunity only, most of which will be replaced by cognitive robotics, a new class of robots, by 2020-2022. 20% ACT UNREADINESS would require a 25 to 26.5 ACT average. A 5% average ACT score increase per year until an acceptable performance is reached, is minimal and reasonable. Also reasonable would be tying the superintendent's performance review to something measurable such as this minimal 5% ACT increase. As of now the Knox County, Tennessee 5-year Strategic Plan created by James McIntyre, superintendent, is filled with unmeasurable goals and objectives that are assuring poor results year after year. It is full of claims that are not true like "Excellence for all children". Go to example of Knox County, Tennessee School System objectives.
Experts predict robots will take over 30% of our jobs by 2025, only ten years away.The start will be gradual from 2016. That means that 25% of today's high school graduates who are ACT Ready (that is less than 20% of those who entered 9th grade), will not have but only ten years of working life unless they increase their job-related knowledge beyond what the job requirements are at any one time. Job requirements have always increased and will continue to increase faster. We cannot keep saying that some people are just not suited for college. Unless they are seriously learning disabled, it is not true. It is the poor high school education that MAKES THEM LOOK LIKE NOT SUITED FOR COLLEGE. A big difference. College education will be the way to have the needed knowledge. The time will come when a graduate degree in demand will be needed to ensure a normal working life. Those 80%+ who are NOT ACT READY today, will become jobless faster unless they keep improving their education to stay in knowledge above the cognitive robots that can communicate, understand, learn and make decisions. I noticed during the 1980s that it was common practice in Japan for the large Japanese companies to support employees to obtain an advanced degree. Experts believe that one third of jobs will be replaced by robots within ten years. Computers making decisions in robotics.
Some say that private or charter schools do not have to take all children, but public schools do, and that is why public school results are worse (80%+ ACT Unreadiness upon graduation in public schools vs. 10% or less ACT Unreadiness in private schools.). Charter and private schools have a very small capacity to take in such children. Public schools are huge compared to them, so any impact would be small, if any. Some also claim that charter and private schools take money away from public schools leaving only the poor performers. Public schools get funding based on the number of students they have. The US is the fifth largest spender per student in the world (OECD PISA data) creating the 36th result in math. With 80%+ of those leaving our high schools not being ACT Ready, we need other schools that can create better results than most of our public schools do. Parents deserve the right to send their children to the best schools and we feel that the per student allocation of about $10,000 for public schools should be transferable to a school of parental choice. We need competition among schools and let the best performers get the money by parental choice. If a public school's poor performance becomes worse because of this, then let them figure out how to become better. If cannot improve significantly enough, then why waste more money if they on them? Transfer the money wasted by poorly performing schools to those above them.
Look below what McDonalds and others are moving to in 2016. They are not the only ones.
McDonalds move toward robotics: Customers love them. They're quick, easy, and customers avoid all the "wad U say" frustrations. They get orders in, get their food the way they want it, and they're on their way. That's fast food. And odd enough, people SPEND more when they're on kiosks. The Harvard Business Review said they found the average check size was 30% higher. They found that 20% of customers who didn't initially order a drink would buy one when it was offered. The result is: no more $15 minimum wage earners for taking orders.
The ELECTED board of education is totally in charge of all decisions under the state law. The people who are responsible for the poor results, low teacher morale and high teacher turnover in Knox County, TN, are JAMES MCINTYRE superintendent, and board of education chairs, if supported by the majority, INDYA KINCANNON, KAREN CARSON, LYNNE FUGATE AND MIKE MACMILLAN.Look at the example for turnover analysis below. It is very costly. We are not showing total turnover expense, but only the portion that could be saved with better people management.
The majority of nations spent less per student than we did and delivered superior results. This is the result of far superior management. Poor management: poor results with MORE THAN ENOUGH FUNDING. THE MONEY IS NOT BEING SPENT IN THE RIGHT PLACES. And the poor inexperienced management keeps making the same mistake every year. This is NOT a right or left wing, Republican or Democrat problem. It happened under both parties since 1970. IT IS AN AMERICAN PROBLEM, and we keep doing nothing about it. It is time for some big changes.
We have a big problem. IN EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT OF EVERY US STATE, IT IS THE ELECTED SCHOOL BOARD THAT DETERMINES WHAT OBJECTIVES AND PLANS THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL FOLLOW. With more than 14,500 school districts nationally, performance standardization and achievement becomes an impossibility.
"Things may come to those who wait...but only the things left by those who hustle!"
Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education
Click on the title to read the plan.
A report by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc.
THE ABOVE PLAN WAS APPROVED BY MORE THAN 40 STATES AND THE US GOVERNMENT. This plan was not created by the US Government. The intent was clear: study the top international performers, determine what made them more productive in education than the US, and implement the new practices and standards in the states to produce significant improvement. Nothing of significance was implemented as of August, 2015. If implemented, the ACT (and SAT) scores would have risen significantly. They did not increase and went down in many states like Tennessee, where we set an all time low ACT score. Look at the results below.
The Success Academy Schools of NYC, having achieved top one percent status in the entire State of New York with 32 schools of poor black inner city children, is an example of what is possible, when everywhere else the same children are on the bottom Look at the example for turnover analysis below. It is very costly. We are not showing total turnover expense, but only the portion that could be saved with better hiring practices. Sadly, we are killing the country and don't want to change in order to save the jobs of those who are creating the problem.
Good student results appear to depend on:
For black students the percentage of those not ready for a job is 98%. The public is unaware of these facts. The black student figures are very disturbing. A chain of charter schools with poor black inner city children ( Success Academy Schools of New York City 1: http://educationnext.org/what-explains-success-academy-charter-network/, Success Academy Schools of New York City 2: http://successacademies.org/about/, A virtual tour: http://virtualtour.successacademies.org/tour/#welcome) worked hard and had outstanding results with 32 schools in 2014.
These black inner city children from poor families scored in the top 1% in Math and the top 3% in English on the difficult Common Core tests in the entire State of New York, the fifth best performing state in US education. THE PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED, BUT NOT THE WAY OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE MANAGED.
We have created a powder keg that will surely blow up.
All of this, because state law delegates ALL decisions to the school districts' elected board everywhere, whose majority has no management experience on the scale of the school district. Important: The states do not provide MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES.
POOR OBJECTIVES AND THE ANNUAL OPERATING PLAN: the biggest reason for the poor performance! In a school district or any organization with a hundred employees or more, one MUST HAVE AN EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND, SINGLE SENTENCE, VERY CLEAR, MEASURABLE, PERFORMANCE-RELATED OBJECTIVE THAT NEEDS NO FURTHER EXPLANATION FOR EMPLOYEES TO UNDERSTAND IT, SUCH AS "IN THE 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR, KNOX COUNTY SCHOOLS SHALL ACHIEVE AN AVERAGE CONSOLIDATED ACT SCORE OF 22.5". WE MUST ALSO HAVE A MONTHLY REPORT AND OBJECTIVE ON SPENDING VS. THE APPROVED BUDGET FOR THE SAME MONTH AND YEAR-TO-DATE. LET'S CALL THESE PRIMARY OBJECTIVES THAT ARE ASSIGNED TO THE BOARD AND THE SUPERINTENDENT FOR THEIR PERFORMANCE EVALUATION PURPOSES, WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL OBJECTIVES. The clear measurable objectives continue down to all supervisory employees focusing on their measurable performance-related and spending objectives in every single school. THESE ARE SECONDARY OBJECTIVES. This would be called the ANNUAL OPERATING PLAN, not to be confused with the Five Year Strategic Plan. We are missing these important elements IN THE SUPERINTENDENT'S FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN.
Poor teacher morale is very common and it is a major impediment to good performance:
ACT Readiness, unreadiness (not being ready) and how we calculate the results are explained at http://usaedustat.com/1actscoresexplained.html.
The poor primary and secondary education will create increasing unemployment. This will result from more advanced cognitive robotics entering the labor force slowly in 2016 and increasing job requirements by employers. Our public school district in Knox County, Tennessee is creating an 80%+ failure rate, or 80%+ mortality from the employability point of view (98% for black students) with homelessness, crime, jail time, violent life and perhaps early violent death.
We were on top in 1970. Neither party's administration has done anything to raise the ACT scores.
No wonder why. Read below about the mystery of two sets of different objectives - when not any of them make sense and are unmeasurable.
On the board's website, the superintendent's presentation says this about HIS OBJECTIVE:
"In fact, you may remember that a key goal of our strategic plan is 100/90/90/90, that is: The Tennessee Code Annotated, TCA 49-2-702 (a)(2) controls two areas above that may need to be amended because they set the minimum standards for performance that is too low for today, although the Board has the right to select higher goals than what the state law specifies. Sub. (A) here wants a graduation rate of ninety percent (90%) or higher; The ACT shows the readiness of regular diplomas at 19-23% that is very poor, with 77-81% graduates with a regular diploma NOT READY for a job that is better than minimum wage.
Sub (B) Exhibits an average student ACT score of 21 or higher etc. This ACT score (21) and the corresponding SAT score has a readiness of 25% only of those achieving it. We would have to be at 25-26 ACT average to have 80% readiness. The readiness for today's and especially tomorrow's job requirements need to be much higher. Since the elected boards control all such decisions and therefore uniformity of performance becomes elusive, the amendment of these two laws would go a long way to raise our poor performance. "Low expectation" objectives produce results below low objectives. With "High expectation" objectives people rise to the occasion to exceed such objectives and that is how one achieves higher results. The superintendent likes to claim "high rigor world class performance with excellence for all children". Our performance is the opposite. It is very poor. Why? Because the primary objective is wrong, and an annual operating plan per school does not exist. But we certainly spend a lot of money, more than the high achievers do.
When one does poorly with an organization that depends on public dollars like the Knox County, Tennessee's school system, one needs a large PR group to make things look better for the public, because the truth would make the public very unhappy. Unfortunately, this is how our boards and superintendents think. It is sad that the kind of leadership does not exist where one can admit openly that we failed and have to take action, however, we will correct it with serious objectives and operating plans and not with five year plans that had a tendency to fail ever since they were started by the communist countries after WWII. We do not see PR groups in the top performing countries. The results THAT COUNT speak more loudly than PR stories.
INTERESTINGLY, A DIFFERENT SET OF OBJECTIVES APPEARS IN THE FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN. NEITHER THAT ONE NOR THE ABOVE WILL MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IN PERFORMANCE BECAUSE THEY ARE VAGUE, INAPPROPRIATE AND INEFFECTIVE OBJECTIVES IN BOTH. DOESN'T THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE BOARD REALIZE THAT SUCH VAGUE OBJECTIVES ARE USELESS IN FOCUSING THE STAFF ON THE TASK OF IMPROVING EDUCATION?
School districts like to prepare beautifully produced FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLANS. They are loaded with information that looks pretty and sounds good, 40-60 pages worth. However, the most important achievement by far is to have high ACT scores and ACT READINESS percentages at the end of high school, to tell the public how well they have prepared our children for employment or further learning. Unfortunately our children are very poorly prepared because education districts are not focused on an ACT or SAT objective, whichever is supported by the state.
It stands to reason that if a school district is spending $560 million per year in 2014, including ALL education-related expenses not disclosed to the public, like capital and interest expenses, AND the fact that their ACT Career and College Readiness percentage of regular diplomas is only 20% counting from 9th grade entries (meaning that 80% with a regular diploma cannot even be trained for a job), a large portion of the money is not being spent correctly to produce good results, and they have serious management problems. The FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLANS do not focus on what is important, and they are not strategic. I have looked at many in several states. They have much in common. There are nine objectives listed in the new FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN of the superintendent of Knox County, Tennessee. Remember that objectives have to be measurable to be able to tell if you achieved them or not. They also have to be important in that they better reduce the existing ACT Unreadiness of more than 80% of the children after high school to get a job that provides enough money to live on or to enter college or a tech school. Do you see any objective below that deals with that?! For example:
The above cannot qualify as objectives. Objectives have to specify a specific achievement, preferably a numerically expressed achievement that in this case must be a higher number than what was previously achieved, because the result was too low. One has to be able to see clearly that the objective has been achieved or not, the result not being subject to any argument. Numbers don't lie. In addition the objectives described need to become the personal objectives for the people intended for their performance evaluation. If the objective(s) do not possess the qualities stated, they become useless in focusing a team of any size on what needs to be achieved. The above objectives cannot perform as objectives. The person who wrote them simply did not have management training for a management job, not to know such a basic requirement. Such a person who writes vague objectives is not sure about what needs to be achieved, and how it will be achieved. They do not want responsibility for results. And such management, no one needs and wants because they lose every time and produce poor results as the ACT performance history shows. HOW DOES ANY OF THE OBJECTIVES ABOVE FOCUS THE BOARD, THE SUPERINTENDENT, CENTRAL MANAGEMENT AND ALL THE SCHOOLS TO DELIVER AT MINIMUM A HIGHER AVERAGE ACT SCORE, THAN THE LAST ONE ACTUALLY ACHIEVED? HOW DOES IT FOCUS ALL SCHOOL DISTRICT EMPLOYEES AND THE BOARD TO IMPROVE THAT TERRIBLE 21% ACT READINESS PERCENTAGE OF REGULAR DIPLOMAS TO ONE THAT SHOWS THAT WE IMPROVED THE RESULTS TO 41%, AND WE ARE STILL NOT WHERE WE SHOULD BE BECAUSE MORE THAN HALF OF OUR CHILDREN WILL BE JOBLESS?!
DOES ANYONE IN LEGISLATURE UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SNOW JOB, AND WHAT IS NEEDED FROM A MANAGEMENT PERSPECTIVE TO IMPROVE OUR POOR RESULTS AGGRESSIVELY?!
If anyone believes that immeasurable and vague objectives like the ones above will improve the poor education of our children, they do not have the experience to make anything successful. Just like the person who wrote the above objectives.
Excessive administrator overload
In Knox County, Tennessee, we have increased administrators by 130% between 1995 and 2014 while students increased only 14%. Administrators have people working for them. That number is unknown. When a commissioner requested a couple of years ago a list of people from the superintendent who are not performance reviewed by a school principal or his/her in-school supervisors or managers, the superintendent would not supply him with such a list. I requested the same from the superintendent on June 1, 2015. The resulting administrative increase beyond normal in Central Management does not disappear until all those employees with the excessive number of administrators go elsewhere. Reference to normal is presented below.
The ACT test measures what children learned from grade one to twelve. They also predict accurately who is ready for a job or further learning beyond high school, or not ready. The ACT results did not improve with the addition of all those administrators and their employees. The school district's ACT score went down setting an all time low ACT record in 2013. If money spent on administrative excess was spent in the classrooms, we would have had a much better chance for improved ACT results.
All Central Management employees, meaning all school district employees who do not work for a school and whose performance evaluation is not performed by a school principal or the principal's staff, must not exceed 1% (one percent) of the school district's total employees. Reference the second graph below. The Knox County, Tennessee school district exceeds this limit by more than 600%!
The actual pages of the referenced book can be examined by clicking here.
Peter Drucker, 1909-2005, Father of 21st Century Management By Objectives
GRADE IMPROVEMENT sounds positive, but it may or may not be important. The maximum ACT score is 36. As the average ACT score increases, it does not represent a proportional (linear) increase in the regular diploma holders' readiness to be ready to be trained for a job. For example, an average ACT score of 21 means that only about 20% of those with a regular diploma will be ready to be trained for a job, and 80% will NOT be ready to be trained for a job. But the situation changes fast once we get the average ACT score above 22. To achieve an 80% readiness for job training or to finish only the first year of college or a technical school those with a regular diploma would need to be close to an average ACT score of 24. Job trainability readiness is not something to celebrate. A 0.5-1.0 average ACT increase at the lower numbers does not change job training readiness much. But such a change above an average ACT score of 22-23 brings big improvement in the "readiness" percentage of regular diplomas for job or college training.
Unfortunately our poorly performing school districts make any improvement positive news, sometimes so extreme that a publisher in Knoxville, Tennessee called the superintendent a Miracle Maker for an A or B Tennessee state test result that is meaningless because it represented less than 30% good answers on a test. The Tennessee state test (TCAP not the NAEP) is too easy in order to produce high grades, but in reality it represents F level performance for a 45-50% score when compared to ACT's measurement for job or college readiness; not an A or B as represented to the public. Under the same superintendent also in 2013 we set an all time low record in the average ACT score at 20.2 that represents only 21% of the regular diplomas being ready for job training or to complete only the first year of college or a tech school; with 79% of those graduates with a regular diploma not being ready. They are minimum wage candidates. But the publisher chose not to mention that, when the ACT score was the more important information. This is what journalism has become in many places. We are presenting that article as an example further down below. The point is that the public is informed only by what appears to be good news, but they are not told about the bad results that really count. One can legitimately wonder why such journalism misrepresents the results coming out of our schools, when we, the public, are paying for it.
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA
WE START WITH THEM...|
AND THEN, OUR SCHOOL BOARDS AND SUPERINTENDENTS DO THIS TO MOST OF THEM...ON OUR DIME AS THEY BLAME OTHERS.
PLEASE...JUST LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE WITHIN THIS WEBSITE. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE...BUT THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING AND IT MUST CHANGE.