Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Winter that won't quit! We did it - A new snowfall record in Detroit

Updated - April 15, 2014

A new record (98.4 inches) was set for snowfall in Detroit Michigan. Two days ago we were enjoying a Spring 70 degree day. What a difference a few days (Many times it can be Hours) makes in Michigan. The dogs are confused but love the snow!


Updated - March 12, 2014

One week until Spring and we are in the midst of another Snow Storm and Winter Freeze (3 degrees tonight). The all time record is 93.6 inches in 180 and 1881 and with today's snow we will pass 90 inches.

Even our Great Lakes are setting ice records with all of them 90 percent + frozen. Lake Michigan below:

A snowy start to 2014:


2013 is gone and I would like to thank the 80,000 plus visitors to my Blog this past year (up 4,000+ from last year). I hope the information I have provided has been useful and beneficial.

As I look over the stats the following are the most searched on topics within my site for 2013:

Posts - Example for one month

Mar 22, 2007, 2 comments

Sunday, March 09, 2014

School Test Scores That Don't Add Up - and that surprises you?

March 9, 2014 -      I wrote on this same topic over the years. - Please read my write-up from 2011 below this current update.

I read in my local newspaper today about an article that describes the results from the state MEAP results for student testing.



My own District - http://thenewsherald.com/articles/2014/03/06/news/doc53187d744b0cb739540056.txt

What you will find are words like "Trending, Results, Review, Average, Analyze, Compare"... These are Result Measurements and Effective Statements that continue to provide non-systemic answers to the continuing saga of not knowing how to fix or provide process improvement type solutions. Process (Result) and Efficient (Effectiveness) measurements must be established so the Voice of the Process can be identified and improved on an on-going basis.

The key word in my last statement is Process. Never do I read where students (Key input in the education Process) are tracked through out (Quality People call this Throughput) the education system. The educational leaders making comments/statements want to use the end result data to describe the problem and that is just plain wrong and no one cares because they hope the next test results will be better. Many of the folks making these comments or reviewing the data were not involved in the previous data collections and now try to figure out the data from a current perspective and rely on the next proposed educational solutions (Common Core) to solve the same existing problem.

I will know progress is being made when I hear/read those process owners/leaders of their educational system(s) start providing data and solutions prior to the reports coming out. The Test Results should for the most part already be known if they have the correct process/efficiency measures in place. It's just like the auto companies of old that used to us how well they did after the car was built. Quality Control was at the end of the process. I believe in many cases Quality Control for education is still at the end of the process being driven by after the fact result figures, data and information.

We must track the data through the process from beginning to end using the students (Good random sample size) as one of the key measuring points through the process. Ask yourself these questions:

Do your data gathers track your school data by Grade Level like the results or do they track individual students starting in Kindergarten and follow them through high school?  Do your Data Gathers identify students in trouble and track these students for improvement? Do your Data Gathers share and educate the teachers in the process from year to year? Do your Data Gathers break this data down for root cause analysis by including teachers and parents in the process?

Click on Pic to Enlarge

Schools need Fact Based Data Information and Specialists to create and implement solid improvement plans. Until then I will continue to update these posts every few years as I continue to be frustrated.

March 6, 2011,

Here we go again. Another article about the shambles of our education system; particularly our test scores.

We what the heck did you expect. All we do is Tamper and establish non value added solutions and after the fact assessments using results driven short term data and distorted test results.

The following is an exchange of some simple questions that go on every morning when results driven staff meetings take place (regardless of industry).

How are we doing? Uh, not so good How can we do better? Uh, we have some ideas Are we achieving the results that we want? Uh, we are not sure what you want or mean
These are such simple questions. Uh, well, Uh,
Why is it so difficult to get answers? Uh, the people won't do what we want, but we are going to give them some ultimatums
OK, that sounds good, let me know the results of all the changes you implement and give me the names of the people responsible. Uh, will do (now imagine a bunch a people running to the bathroom to .... their drawers and take there daily dose of Pepto Bismal - HA!)

Let me provide some wisdom provided by Dr. W. Edwards Deming on this subject – “Dr. Deming spoke of 3 ways to improve (Does not imply "good") the figures: distort the data, distort the system and improve the system. Improving the system is the most difficult.”

Following is a prime example of distorting the data:

In today’s front page of my paper (Detroit Free Press 3/6/2011) I read:

When test scores don't add up: 32 metro Detroit schools show improvements too good to be true
Each year, millions of children in Michigan and across the nation take state standardized tests that impact everything from a school's reputation to how teachers will be evaluated to whether schools will even survive.

The pressures to perform, experts say, tempt some school administrators and teachers to cheat.

The Free Press, as part of a nationwide investigation with USA TODAY and other partners, analyzed millions of test score results and found that 34 schools across Michigan -- 32 of them in metro Detroit -- showed test score gains over a one-year period that experts say are statistically improbable. More broadly, the analysis found 304 schools in six states and the District of Columbia that had test scores so improbable, they should be investigated. Besides Michigan, the states were Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida and Ohio.

Rest of story - http://www.freep.com/article/20110306/NEWS06/103060602/When-test-scores-don-t-add-up-32-metro-Detroit-schools-show-improvements-too-good-true?odyssey=tabtopnewsimgFRONTPAGE

Here is the comment that got me the most “Huge gains by some metro Detroit schools should be red flags of tampering, experts say.

Want to know about "Tampering" - enter the word in the search box on the right hand side of this blog.

Are you kidding me? Experts? Are you kidding me? This is the same crap that goes on in the business world everyday and I have written about tampering so many times bases on the teachings of Dr. Deming. Experts? Take the time to understand what it means to improve a system (any system).

“Distort the data, distort the system and improve the system. Improving the system is the most difficult.”

Educational Leaders (national education czar, state educational directors, superintendents, and principals) are responsible for the system. STUDENTS, administrative staff, teachers and support staff work in the educational system and while they are responsible for their own behavior, they cannot be held accountable for the results of the system. For example, last month, many students crammed for mid-term exams. Teachers hold students accountable for all learning and they "measure" their learning by exams! Cramming for exams is how students attempt to distort the system (i.e., the learning system) in order to get demanded results.

Other profound statements about “Distort the data, distort the system and improve the system. Improving the system is the most difficult.”

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of The New Economics, second edition by W. Edwards Deming:

A teacher, not wishing to penalize anyone unjustly, will pass a pupil that is barely below the requirement for a passing grade.

Fear invites wrong figures. Bearers of bad news fare badly. To keep his job, anyone may present to his boss only good news.

A committee appointed by the President (regardless of industry i.e., Superintendent) of a company will report what the President wishes to hear. Would they dare report otherwise?

An individual may inadvertently seek to cast a halo about himself. He may report to an interviewer in a study of readership that he reads the New York Times, when actually this morning he bought and read a tabloid.

Statistical calculations and predictions based on warped figures may lead to confusion, frustration, and wrong decisions.

Accounting-based measures of performance drive employees to achieve targets of sales, revenue, and costs, by manipulation of processes, and by flattery or delusive promises to cajole a customer into purchase of what he does not need (adapted from the book by H. Thomas Johnson, Relevance Regained, The Free Press, 1992).

A leader of transformation, and managers involved, need to learn the psychology of individuals, the psychology of a group, the psychology of society, and the psychology of change.

Some understanding of variation, including appreciation of a stable system, and some understanding of special causes and common causes of variation, are essential for management of a system, including management of people.

Want more examples that I have found read my blogs about Dr. Deming and Education. Just click on the labels below or on the left side bar of the web site.

Do yourself a favor - Google or Yahoo or Bing or whatever and learn about the teachings of Dr. Deming. Maybe then we can start to transform our educational system. Not Change but Transform!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

98.6 - We need to be in balance

Last week as I was mentoring a student and parent about college and career readiness I was asked; “What is the most important thing I have learned over the years. “ I did not have to think long because it is something I learned in 1979 and really began to understand as I lived it since then is that everything belongs to a system and in order for that system to be effective and efficient it must be in balance.

Too much or too little of anything is not good. It’s like the name of a song by Keith in the 1960s called “98.6” because that is science calls the number that indicates our most important system in life is Normal.
When we have disruptions to the norm we have a negative consequence. For example – think about when you have had or when others have had too much or too little of anything:

  •   Too much Love or too much Hate
  •  Too Cold or Too Hot
  • Too Black or too White or too Brown or too Yellow or too Red
  • Too much Christian or Too much Muslim (See first bullet)
  • Too much education or not enough education = no common sense
  • Too much Water or too little Water
  •  Too much Sun or not enough Sun
  • Too many Rules or not enough Rules
  •  Too much Government or not enough Government
  • Too much knowledge = idiot or too little knowledge = idiot

I could go on and on but the results are always the same. Balance and interdependencies are the keys to all things in systems (i.e. life) and when it is interrupted or altered a negative result will occur.

When we get out of balance we look to medicine, religion, faith, family and friends and other experts to bring us back in line. What we need is a “98.6” in all aspects of our lives so we can predict and prevent out of balance in our lives.

As Keith sang in 1967 “Hey, 98.6, it's good to have you back again


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Just Don't Get it!

I Just Don’t Get It! - IRS

Often times it becomes increasingly frustrating/confusing to understand social economic issues especially as it pertains to education. Our education system has and is in a constant state of disarray because of lack of leadership at the decision positions from the top posts in government to local school districts.

For the past seven years I have been directing a mentoring program (http://qualityg.blogspot.com/search/label/Dream%20Mentor ) that has been widely acclaimed. Over two years ago I made a decision (against the wishes of those who work with me) to create a non-profit business of this program.

My intentions were to go after scholarships and grants and then pass those dollars to students and teachers. I would not have charged parents and students but would accept donations. This is just a snippet of my intentions but I am in the process of dissolving this initiative (The IRS has a provision that will not return my application fee). Funny I should get into a for profit business that takes a business plan for a $1000.00 and sits on it and collects interest and then refuses to give money back for no services rendered.

You see my application (AND FEES I PAID) has been sitting in the IRS non-profit department without any activity or communication (Except to tell me I owed more money). The IRS has a website - http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Where-Is-My-Exemption-Application that informs you of the month and year they are processing applications (Currently May 2012).

We have all read and seen reports the problems this department has caused with the refusal and delays for any company that had ties to the Tea Party. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/10/us-usa-politics-irs-idUSBRE9490S720130510. As with most problems like this it is the little guy who suffers. This problem runs much deeper than just denying Tea Party businesses and no one cares.

Please understand I am not a Tea Party Member. I’m just a guy who wanted to make a difference create some jobs and change the PARADIGM of how we prepare our students for College and Career Readiness.

Updated 2/14/14

Finally received a letter from IRS now wanting additional information and to update my original documents after 18 months. The website I mention above now states April 2013. So in a matter of a month they jumped a year in processing applications. I had some questions and called the number in my letter 5 times and no one answers and no one has returned my call. Years ago it was the Post Office that came under fire for customer service - Go Figure!

I Just Don’t Get It! – Common Core Standards/Teacher Evaluations

I have always prided myself on making most of my decisions on Fact Based Data and Information (FBDandI). The much discussed and often misunderstood Common Core Standards (CCS) are still confusing the stakeholders (Teachers, Parents and STUDENTS) who must adhere to what the standards mean and how they should be implemented.

I am not going to go into the standards (see my write-up - http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2012/08/common-core-standards-by-what-method.html ) but I will tell you the stakeholders will be negatively impacted because the LEADERS (Superintendents, Principals, School Boards) have not planned and prepared  (training, tools, resources)the teachers to implement these standards. The IT requirements alone to administer the testing portion will drive schools to more budget deficits in both public and private schools.

A big question mark (?) that comes with this initiative is how they will grade teachers. I have written about this before (http://qualityg.blogspot.com/2012/03/i-have-heard-enough-about-teacher.html ). There are published reports by the State of Michigan that 99% of our teachers received high marks on their evaluations. Now is that Fact Based Data and Information or is that a result of the leaders (Principals) who are “supposed” to evaluate the teachers do this on a fair and consistent basis (Many parents don't know that CCS only covers Math and English Language - Does this mean Science, History and other teachers get a free pass). I’m here to tell you a big problem is the people in these positions for the most part are good educators but they are not equipped to be managers, supervisors and leaders when it comes to making these types of decisions. The main Root Cause is they don’t have the stomach to rate their friends and co-workers negatively. This was the same problem Union Leaders and Managers in the business world faced when downsizing and lay-offs took off in the 1980s. I have been involved in both of these scenarios.

This problem goes higher because who evaluates Principals and who evaluates Superintendents?  Too many articles complain and pretend to make issues of the common core standards. However, no one challenges the fact the standards are not standard in their roll-out (That is for another post) or in their implementation. Thus, as in most systems/processes the problems are found upstream with increasingly confusing complex negative issues in the downstream. The problem like in the past process quality initiatives is the leaders put all the money in band-aid fixes and symptoms.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Why I Still Like Girls Basketball - Season Eight - Season Over 2/27/14

SEASON EIGHT - New Beginnings

To read the seven previous seasons click on the label to the left on the main page where where it says "Girls Basketball" or click

JULY - 2013

We attended our summer team camp last week and just like previous years we learned a lot about what to expect for our upcoming season. I would have to say the coaches were expecting some better results but yet we were not surprised at the outcome.

This is basically a new team from last year that will need to develop their own identity and develop an internal leadership group that must lead the team both on and off the court.

We continue to lack size but we are more experienced in some key positions. The summer workouts have been good and I have added some speed and agility drills that hopefully create quicker hands and feet that we must have to play solid team defense this year.

Our summer workout sessions have been well attended and learning continues to take place at each practice.

November - 2013

We have concluded our 4 Player Workouts and had a good turnout to work on their individual skills.
This week we are concluding our try-outs and should have a good nucleus of players from 10th - 12th grade.

Team Leadership will be a factor going forward to determine which players want to take the lead and what players will be voted to be the leaders. In other years this was predictable but not this year.

I must say that if I was to pick a saying for this year it is:

How Hard? By putting everything you got in to each practice and a little more into each game going forward by being better than you were the day before - cc

December - 2013

The team may have lost our best defensive player and senior captain to injury. We are waiting on the MRI and the doctor to determine the extent of the injury. Nothing affects me more than seeing a player work so hard and go down to injury (especially senior year). Others will have to step-up if we are to be successful this year.

We had a five team scrimmage last week and we got beat up pretty good both physically and mentally. There are always good things to learn from these situations and we now have a good sense who can handle pressure and who is tough when it comes to pushing oneself beyond the norm.

First Game - We won our first game against a team that was not very good. What I especially liked was the play of a few players who really crashed the boards and got some easy put backs through hard work and hustle.

February - 2014

We are now 7-7 and we have again been riddled with injuries but in truth that is the nature of sports and not to be used as an excuse. We play in a tough league and if you are not prepared or have "Basketball Players" on your team it is very difficult to win tournaments, leagues and championships.

Basketball Players are those who work on their game all year long and especially in the off season to get in daily defensive drills and shooting work (200-300 shots). Fundamentals must be taught early (5th grade on...) because too much time going over blocking out, closing out, defensive position and multiple offenses and defenses in daily practices in high school proves futile. If I can't add or subtract what good does it do concentrating on multiplication and division and story problems that required deducing the facts? Just like in the classroom there is a wide knowledge gap between those that get it and those that do not. To win you must have at least 7-8 players who get it and are on the same page. The result is you beat teams that you should and lose to teams that you should. Thus - you have a 500 season.

It's very simple -
"For the most part you can not improve your game while preparing to play the next game"

February 27,  2014

Unfortunately we lost our first game in the state tournament and our season is over. Our local paper did a nice pictorial and video shoot of the game that can be found at:

I will miss the girls

This will be the last Post of this series. It's been a good run and for the most part fun.