Saturday, April 22, 2017

- Earth Day - 4/22/17

I always liked this poem by Walt Whitman -
 Appropriate for Earth Day

Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers or families, re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem.... ~ Walt Whitman ~ (from the Preface to Leaves of Grass, 1855)


Earth Day Video and plant a tree! qg

Here are some cool songs related to Earth Day -


Six years ago I planted a Washington Hawthorn Sampling I ordered from the Arbor Day Foundation. It looked something (smaller) like this when I pulled it out of a regular size mailing envelop:

Last year I took a picture and I'm proud to show it has grown wonderfully!!

Happy Birthday Dano!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Numbers do lie, they do dance and they do often mislead. Yes they DO!

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: High Schools

Here is a statement from a local high school (Many do this to attract parents to their school):
"In the past five years, our graduates earned over $20 million in scholarships."
OK – I know for a fact this school averages around 100 students that graduate per year. I’m not a math wizard and I’m not making these numbers dance but this statement would mean 20 million divided by 500 = $40,000 per student.
What this really means is the old Pareto Principle at work - The Pareto Principle is very simple, yet very important. It is named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who, in 1906, found that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.
What was most important about Pareto’s finding was that this 80/20 distribution occurs extremely frequently. For example, in general, 20% of your customers represent 80% of your sales.
In the scholarship numbers used by many high schools this really means your top ten students are getting offers from multiple schools to attend and get scholarship dollars. Let’s say I apply to 5 colleges and they each offer me a full ride equaling $60,000. The school will now put in $300,000 in the pot. I can only go to one school the actual scholarship dollars are $60,000. So if you really want to know the numbers ask the counselor to be specific and show you the scholarship winner and the schools they are to attend. I guarantee you it will be a much smaller number.

Following is a prime example of distorting the system: Wells Fargo

The phony accounts earned the bank unwarranted fees and allowed Wells Fargo employees to boost their sales figures and make more money.

"Wells Fargo employees secretly opened unauthorized accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses," Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said in a statement.

Whom do you blame? Management owns the system and sets the policies. Employees follow these rules in order to save their jobs or to make more money. It all comes down to the dangers of Management By Objectives (MBO), Quotas and Rating and Raking. I have posted about this numerous times since 2005.

There are so many examples day in and day out. The most popular today is “FAKE NEWS.” Everyone is distorting the facts to gain viewer and readership and this is very dangerous. Social Media only compounds the problem.

Dr. Deming wrote about these dangers/diseases many years ago and people continue to abuse them:

Dr. Deming did not just tell about the diseases he provided a prescription for preventing (not fixing) them. We would all do well to take a good dose of learning and applying these concepts.

Oh - by the way - I DO realize numbers don't actually lie it's the people manipulating them for their own gain or protection.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

April is "Autism Month"

I was sent (Valerie) this link for a new web site. The magazine provides expert advice from respected professionals about autism and offers solutions for families.

Check it out it is really good!

Click here

 or on the ASD Label (Left Sidebar) for more of my posts on Autism.

Monday, March 06, 2017

ESSA - State of Michigan seeks comments on proposed educational changes

The Michigan Department of Education is seeking public comment on the new proposed ESSA standards that gives schools letter grades (A-F) for success.

On December 10, 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), reauthorizing the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and replacing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the 2001 reauthorization of ESEA.
Michigan’s ESSA plan is drafted and open for public comment through March 16, 2017. 

Here is my Email and Comments:

Thank you for asking for Public Comments to the new ESSA Legislation proposed for the state of Michigan.

I have commented over the years on various initiatives the state has proposed but never heard back from one source. Perhaps my comments are not worthy but I will try again from and end-to-end perspective. Basically this means from a "Systems Thinker Perspective." 

My background is both in business and education. I retired from the telecommunications industry where I held a number of Quality related positions. I have been a national director for quality and process improvement, certified auditor, manager and instructor. I have also been a part-time instructor in college as well as an administrator and mentor in a K-12 school.

With so much high level detail in the 153 page document which I have read twice a couple if things jump out at me that I would like to comment (2) on that I hope will be taken in to account.

Overall, I like the concept but implementation is the key and the who and the what are identified but the "How (By What Method)" is where success will lead to failure if not done properly. There is much written about results but not process. Explained below.

I am pleased by the the amount of detail written about the needs of having good teachers and the on-going support required to keep them skilled, excited and hopefully retained for a long period of time.

Concern # 1 -  There is no mention of how are teachers are trained - by this I mean - Who trains/create our teachers? Michigan creates an  "Educator Preparation Institution (EPI) Performance Score Report" -
but I see no mention of it as it relates to this study.

How can there not be a correlation to the suppliers of our most needed resource (Teachers/Principals) to the success of our educational system. Clearly, the number of schools that exceed the "Met Score (Results)" do not translate in to the number of ineffective schools/teachers we have according to the numbers in the state's reports/findings. Nobody wants to take on and really hold the colleges/universities to a higher standard - What a shame.Colleges should not be telling K-12 schools how and what to train. It should be K-12 telling colleges what they need and them doing it or they will no longer higher any of their teachers (Products).

I propose giving the higher level institutions letter grades too as a means to rate their effectiveness for preparing/supplying educators. If you do not correct the upstream process the results will remain the same regardless of the changes you propose in grades K-12. Would you like verification? Survey a number of teachers and ask them if they were prepared for what the classroom is really like?

Concern # 2 - This will be short - I ddi not see much about the people who will rate the schools - I have great concern about the way assessment/accreditation are done.

I have been involved in a number of AdvancED and MANS accreditation and I must say the people conducting them are not trained enough or have the fortitude to make an honest assessment. They are not given the skills and the tools to make good judgments in a 2-3 day period. They follow standards they do not understand. There is no true follow-up and they change their methods so often the previous assessment can not be taken in to account to create a systemic measure to establish trends for proper measurements.

These assessments are much needed but should be done by a team of professional experts and just educators (Many on team are 1st time auditors who are there because their school will soon be audited so they are there to learn). Most teachers/administrators will not criticize their own because they bring in their own feelings and experiences as to what is wrong and are afraid it reflects on them.

 Thank you,

Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's Oscar Night - I would rather watch the "Walking Dead" than listen to the Talking Assholes!


I would rather watch the "Walking Dead" than listen to the Talking Assholes!

I will admit I used to watch the major shows and enjoy seeing the celebrities and stars. I especially liked the Oscars when Bob Hope, Johnny Carson and Billy Crystal were the hosts.

For about the past ten years I have watched occasionally but for the past five years I have not tuned in a single show. I want to be entertained, not pontificated to by someone who makes millions of dollars to "PLAY" a part and pretend they are an expert.

To say they have become a parade for political and social views is an understatement. I am for anyone expressing their views in the proper environment done with respect.

Celebrities are in professions that gives a medium to attack issues and some of the songs, movies, shows and articles are wonderful. The movie "Spotlight" was so powerful and done in a way that will forever bring a much need light to an evil that continues to exist. I'm so gad it won the academy award. I'm not complaining about Democrats or Republicans or anyone else's views I just don't want it crammed down my throat. One of my all time favorite songs (Fortunate Son) by Creedence Clearwater Revival would be considered a protest song and I would love to hear it on the Grammy's but I don't need a celebrity to force it on me -

What really concerns me is there are so many people (Lemmings) that believe just because a celebrity says something it must be true. Do you really think people turn in to learn anything from you? They tune in to see if you can bad mouth someone or something and have the forum where you are at stand and cheer and hoot and holler.

Well - the majority of the mainstream (People who vote) really laugh at you when they see the headlines the next day (Like me many have not tuned in or turned off the show after the first speech bashing some person or issue).

Thank God for Patty Duke! -

Competitive Televised Awards Shows
  • Emmys (Rotating: Fox, NBC, CBS)
  • Daytime Emmys (Pop)
  • Creative Arts Emmys (FXX, starting in 2015)
  • Oscars (ABC)
  • Golden Globes (NBC)
  • SAG Awards (Turner)
  • BAFTAs (BBC America)
  • Grammys (CBS)
  • Tonys (CBS)
  • Critics' Choice Movie Awards (A&E)
  • Critics' Choice TV Awards (A&E)
  • Independent Spirit Awards (IFC)
  • MTV Movie Awards (MTV)
  • MTV VMAs (MTV)
  • MTVu Woodie Awards (MTVu)
  • BET Awards (BET)
  • BET Hip-Hop Awards (BET)
  • Soul Train Awards (BET)
  • CMT Music Awards (CMT)
  • CMA Awards (ABC)
  • Academy of Country Music Awards (CBS)
  • American Country Countdown Awards (Fox)
  • American Music Awards (ABC)
  • iHeartRadio Music Awards (NBC)
  • Billboard Music Awards (ABC)
  • Kids' Choice Awards (Nickelodeon)
  • Kids' Choice Sports Awards (Nickelodeon)
  • People's Choice Awards (CBS)
  • Teen Choice Awards (Fox)
  • TV Land Awards (TV Land)
  • Radio Disney Music Awards (Disney Channel)
  • NewNowNext Awards (Logo)
  • ESPYs (ESPN)
  • Young Hollywood Awards (The CW)
  • Latin Grammys (Univision)