Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rating and Raking Accomplishes "Nothing"

Like most states Michigan educators, parents and lawmakers cannot come to grips or even a small amount of agreement as to where we should be headed with our education system as it relate to common core standards, testing and evaluation.

Hardly a week will go by without a story like this:

No one is looking at it from a systemic or systems thinking perspective in trying to determine where the process starts and ends and what it should look like when it is done. All of the sub-pieces have their own interest (i.e., Teachers don't want to be rated ranked), nor do School superintendents want their districts rated and ranked with what they believe to be faulty testing and data.

Lawmakers have no idea of what really goes on in an educational system yet they pretend to do what is right and change their views as often as the weather.

All I know is Rating and Ranking accomplishes nothing but creating fear and despair. Our purpose should be to help people learn and improve. Evaluations of this type are beneficial. The problem is too many people in leadership or decision making roles want to use evaluations for rating and ranking to get rid of people (Justified/non-justified). So what if there is a bad employee or if he/she not doing their job? How do you get rid of them? I say - you should have not hired or placed them in that position in the first place. Leadership did not do their job upfront in the hiring process. Too often Rating and Ranking are used as a tool for poor leadership decisions. If some people have to be let go through a good evaluation then at least try and place them in a position where they will be successful. If they are a "bad" employee then fire them based on a sound evaluation from fact-based data and not a cowardly way by using ranking and rating.

Rankings and Ratings are for sports entertainment and other games. They should not be used for something as important as the education of our children and the future of our society.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

- Earth Day - 4/22/15

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


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!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Systems Thinker's Prayer

O Holy Spirit Paraclete of Life please grant me the wisdom and profound knowledge to better serve the benefit of ALL as opposed to oneself.

 Once I was asked what is the difference between wisdom and knowledge. In my understanding I see knowledge as being an expert in a particular subject area were wisdom can only be gained over time that is developed through many trials, tribulations, exultations and experiences of life.

I dedicate this to the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming - 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Educational Leaders Operate in a "Command and Control" Environment

I am totally convinced the majority of educational systems in the Untied States operate in a Command and Control environment.

The problem lays in the fact that people in positions of authority think they are Leading (They are Commanding). However, they operate in a short-term vacuum that expects immediate results from non-systemic thinking. They think they are Managing (They are Controlling).

So what does that mean? It means many educational leaders do not understand how to run an organization (School. District) from an end-to-end-process philosophy.

So what does that mean? They have no concept of "By What Method?" It's about just doing rather than thinking and planning for the long-term based on factual data and talking to customers and employees (Parents, Students, Teachers/Staff). It's about as a leader stop thinking you know what caused the problem from your office and get your butt out in the classrooms and teacher lounges and parent committee meetings and stop tampering with what might be a stable system (Stable does not necessarily mean good).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

School Count Day = The Demise of the American Educational System

School districts across Michigan are gearing up for Count Day on Wednesday, when students in seats equal dollars for the year. Click on the following link to read the staggering statistics.


 Here we go again!

The pictures re so cute - I'm all for bringing gifts and animals to schools too - I just can't see the relevance of doing it on Count Day other than the fact to get more money from the State. Why can't the State just do count day randomly so we can get an accurate count and spend our tax dollars wisely.


In 2010, many districts enticed students with a total of $20,000 in Target gift cards, a shot to win laptops, iPods, or 42-inch flat screen TV.

In 2011, every Detroit public high school student who shows up to school on Oct. 3 will be rewarded with a free pair of Nikes, courtesy of a local shoe store.
This year Detroit public schools is giving away notebook computers on Wednesday to lure more students to class on the day attendance affects state funding for the district. The district declined to release which schools will receive the computers on Wednesday. Distribution will continue weekly through October until about 19,000 students received the Netbooks.

Am I the only one who finds this practice to be a total sham? Dollars from our tax dollars should not be given based on a few count days a year to determine how much each school district receives per pupil.

Come to school for a few days and get a PC Notebook. Oh it will be stated that the notebooks will help with learning and homework and… BS!

If this does not prove that the American Education System is in total disarray I don’t know what will. You want results – look at these tactics.

Bribe kids to go to high school – yep, and then bribe them to go to college – yep, then …

Yep, I know where to go to buy a slightly used “cheap” PC Notebook in about a month.

Tennis great John McEnroe said it best ...