Monday, May 30, 2005

Cooperation vs. Competition - Another Brick "Out of the Wall"updated 5/30/05 - qualityg kudos to Olivia


After class yesterday I (student) had a discussion with some educators who teach college and some educators who teach at Day Cares and Child Learning Centers. The topic was Cooperation or Competition in school.

As I have stated before when I was teaching in a college setting I was and I'm still not in favor of grades. Last week a person in my class last semester asked if I got an "A?" In all honesty I had not gone on-line to look, I suppose I will get a paper copy in the mail.

Students (Pre-School – Grade 16) worry more about grades than they do learning or being creative or innovative and that is a tragedy not only of our education system but also to those who think education is a game. Grades destroy Joy of Learning. I wonder if there is a rise in verbal or physical abuse at home when it’s report card time. I remember our pastor would sit in front of the class and read each name, if a boy student got a “D” or lower he would toss the card on the floor, as you bent to pick it up he whacked you with his cane. I don’t remember anything being done to the girls (I guess they all got good grades). The whack was motivating, the boys spent many hours making cheat sheets and getting sick on report card day.

I guess by now you can tell what side of the fence I was on, in fact I was all by myself. The first statements were “Competition will prepare the kids for the real world, it’s tough out their just look how many are unemployed.” And, “how will we know who is the best, the smartest, the ones who get the scholarships?” My favorite “If you don’t have competition, everyone will be able to go to Harvard and Yale and of course the University of Michigan.”

qualityg’s response “Who Cares.” Starting to set up barbed wire they said “We all care about education, how can you say that?” qg says… - I did not say I don’t care about education, I said who cares about being the best when it comes to education.

I know I’m in the minority when it comes to this topic, but I don’t see Education as a game, I don’t see it having winners or losers, because each time a student fails we all fail and the effects are enormous on the economy, workplace, family, crime, etc… etc….

Education is a basic need like food and water for our existence. Why do we want to destroy so many children starting in Pre-School with labels, negative reinforcement, put in groups by how smart you are, being the last one picked in gym class and then being put in right field, being afraid after 4th grade to admit you like music or art. Formal school years label us by grades (anyone think it might be the teacher).

Cement is now being poured to reinforce the barbed wire (now a wall), “What about the sport teams, I suppose we all hold hands and play nice (kumbya), and some kids just can’t do the stuff in gym class.”

Getting a chair (I’m short) and pulling myself up, I ask ‘Why are sports considered education, they are games, I have no problem with competition when it comes to winning games (unless coaches and parent are living through the kids and trying to be something they could not).”

Starting to lose my grip I grope and say, “I thought gym class was to promote fitness and well being, why do so many high schools have it as an elective, and is there any chance or correlation that this may be a factor with the obesity crisis in the United States.”

All of a sudden I started to see some cracks in the wall. Hey qualityg, “I remember being picked last in gym class, I never wanted to go again and I skipped every chance I got.” Hey qualityg, “I remember being so upset when we graded each other’s paper, even though I was a good student I was terrified.” And, “ I liked gym class when we could run and play and make up games and have fun until the teacher turned everything into a competition.” Hey, I was put in the 3rd group because I couldn not read very well, but what was wrong with that, it’s where most of my friends were.

Folks, education is an essential for every child, should we have a competition where the one that can pound his/her chest the hardest to stop their heart is the winner? Ridiculous, I agree, but are we not doing the same thing to our children’s education when we take the heart and soul out of them with competition being first before cooperation and learning.

The wall did not come down, but from now on you will hear me say, “ Educators, Administrators, Politicians and PARENTS, tear down that wall!” Hey it worked for President Reagan.

Pink Floyd:

We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control

No dark sarcasm in the classroom

Teachers leave them kids alone

Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!

All in all it's just another brick in the wall.

All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

updated 05/21/05


An essay wins a lesson on a legend


The following are some excerpts from an essay contest won by a third grader in Detroit. "The contest is sponsored by the MLB, MLB Players Trust, and Scholastic, Inc. Sharon Robinson, daughter of the late great Jackie Robinson presented the award.

Robinson, spoke about nine values her father used to be successful: courage, determination, teamwork, persistence, integrity, citizenship, justice, commitment and excellence.

Breaking Barriers - What Kenadi Said

Excerpts from Kenadi Jefferson's winning essay in the 2005 "Breaking Barriers" competition, "My Math Barrier."

  • "When I started the 3rd grade, my biggest fear was learning my multiplication ... I tried all summer before school trying to learn them. My dad would go over them with me everyday. I would start to remember them and the next day I would forget them."
  • "My mom and dad were very patient with me ... They always remind me that it takes time to learn anything and for some it takes longer, but do not give up."
  • "I started to say them and Granny stopped me at the very first one. She said you have to sing them...I came up with a little hum and I started to say my 6's. Before I knew it, I had sung them all correctly..."

qualityg says... Jackie Robinson was a great competitor in sports, but I would also say based on his nine values that Cooperation and Commitment were a pre-requisite to competition, and more important, values for a successful life.

Naysayers, hey qualityg this was a contest - winners and losers?

qualityg says... show me the losers --> quote "Sixty-two giddy and ecstatic third-graders gathered Friday at the school to learn about Robinson and celebrate Kenadi's winning entry in a national essay competition about breaking life barriers. Their special guest was Sharon Robinson, Jackie Robinson's daughter."

qualityg kudos to Kenadi and her family!

updated 5/31/05

I saw this in Monday's Paper (5/30/05)

Students merit recognition
I am writing regarding the Brightest and Best of 2005. All of these top students truly deserve all of the recognition they are getting for their achievements. I am a junior in high school and feel that if I am at least half as successful as them I will be happy. Kudos for all of your work, and good luck on the rest of your lives. Your parents should be proud of you. They have a right to be.
Olivia Girard
Macomb Township

qualityg says... Olivia, you have shown in one paragraph that you are already one of the best and the brightest, grades are just one "small" part of the equation, you have mastered a much greater part.

qualityg kudos to Olivia!!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Creativity --> It's in the Art & it's in the Music (Sarah Smiles), updated 5/23/05

qualityg says…

Come on say with me; don't say "No." Tracy never let go!

If you have been reading my posts you will know of my concern with the loss of creativity and innovation among our school children. With all the focus and pressure to obtain the goals for the federal and state standardized tests I’m wondering if we want all our children to be the same. Are there standards for music, arts, drama, etc…?

Last Sunday (Mothers Day) while I was working on my mother in law’s computer I had a chance to see and hear my young nieces and nephew (ages 5- 11) playing in the backyard. As I listened and watched them play I had forgotten how much fun kids have when they are left alone to play, explore and make up games as they go. No adults standing over them to make sure they throw the ball correctly or play the game according to the rules. No “standards” were posted or enforced except to be safe. It was just Erica, Tracy, Morgan, Monica, Kristine (also my god daughter) and Brian having fun.

When I think of the well-known inventors, artists, authors, etc… most of them were different, they had a passion for what they were doing and I bet they also had fun! They were not part of the status quo based on “Standards” that are supposedly good for all of us. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not for throwing away the standard testing completely, I’m just not willing to do it at the expense of sub-optimizing the creative talents of the children.

Just before the get together was ending my sister-in-law came in and showed a web-site that displayed the artwork Tracy had done at school, being in fourth grade (age 9) I was amazed at her talent (I was discouraged from being an artist in the first grade, the Nun did not like my coloring and stuck me under her desk and kicked me periodically during the day, it was the end of my art career, but I did do well blocking kicks on the football team).

Most of all I applaud Tracy’s teacher and parents for giving her the freedom and encouragement to be creative and innovative.

Now, Come on say with me; don't say "No." Tracy never let go!

To see more of Tracy’s art go to:

While at the library today I saw some more great Art that I wanted to share. Self portraits are my favorites. I understand this 9th grader (Rachel) is also an outstanding student.

Nice job Ms. Karen Zurakowski for promoting your students creative side.

updated 5/23/05

Sarah Smiles & Plays

Sarah sure does smile in this picture, that's because in just 9 months she has learned to read music and play in a duet at the spring concert. Hard work and practice at what you love to do creates a warm smile and soft music on a warm spring night at Cedar Lake in Oscoda, Michigan.

sarah Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"Raise Michigan High School Standards" Updated 5/18/05 - New Yale Report - Tossing the Toddlersl

Lately there have been a number of articles about the shape of Michigan schools regarding funding, state scores (MEAP) and standards. One article that has been on my mind is:

Raise high school standards, economy follows, board told
Education is No. 1 concern, Cherry says
April 13, 2005

Michigan needs tougher academic standards for high schools, Lt. Gov. John Cherry told the State Board of Education on Tuesday.

It's part of a strategy to double the number of college graduates in Michigan within the next decade, which Cherry said would help strengthen the state's economy.

"There's not an issue more basic or important to Michigan's future," Cherry said of education change.

Cherry led a commission that late last year issued several recommendations to increase the number of college graduates. Some of those recommendations fall within the scope of the Michigan Department of Education and the state board, he said.

The board could push the Legislature and local school districts to adopt tougher high school graduation standards, including more math and science classes. Cherry also said he is concerned about the number of high school dropouts and a traditional mind-set that sometimes stifles cooperation between K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.

Board members of both political parties appeared receptive to the Democratic lieutenant governor's presentation. The board already has begun work on some of the recommendations proposed by Cherry's commission.

"We're on the same page, I think," said board President Kathleen Straus, a Democrat.

The state Department of Education put together a high school change team in late 2003. The team's report concluded that the current high school structure is not meeting the needs of students, particularly when it comes to inspiring them to develop skills they'll need in the future.
The panel suggested creating small-scale career academies with employer partnerships to help develop a better work force.

Michigan has joined 12 other states in an effort to strengthen curriculum and graduation standards. The goal is for high school graduates to better satisfy needs of employers and colleges.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm has proposed giving schools incentive payments, starting in the 2006-07 academic year, if they encourage more students to follow a curriculum stocked with math, science and foreign languages.

About 26 percent of Michigan's population between the ages of 25 and 34 has a bachelor's degree or higher. The national average is 27.5 percent, and several states have 33 percent or higher.

States with more college graduates tend to have higher average incomes and lower unemployment rates.

"We're talking about a culture change," Cherry said. "We have to adjust to the notion that education needs to go beyond high school."

qualityg asks...

There are many stories on education reform like the one above; it does't have to be just in Michigan, these same problems can be found in most states.

I have some concerns as a concerned citizen, parent, student, educator and taxpayer:

1) Michigan needs tougher standards in order to double the number of college graduates (for those who don't know, people are concerned because many of the college graduates leave the state after graduation for a number of reasons, lack of jobs are at that top of the list). This is the result of a faulty system, not just high school.

2) A commission from last year made some recommendations like pushing the Legislature and Local School Districts to adopt tougher high school graduation standards, including more math and science classes. I loved to be pushed, don't you too?

3) Dropouts are always a concern, I wonder why? Look at the flow below, Dropouts start increasing during the mid to high school levels, associate the cost (10 - 100 - unknown) and it's not hard to figure out the damage that is caused to the student, society, taxes, etc..., basically it drains the budget and educational accountants do not know why.

remembermemeber, Dropouts are the "Effect" of the Root Cause that starts at the beginning of the process where prevention should occur and the cost is relatively small and the student is saved (anybody consider that K-3 teachers should minimuminnimum of 5 years experience, experience and knowledge are required during the critical starting period).

We are losing children at the start of the system, you can band aid all and hold seminars all you want up stream (middle school, junior high and high school) it will not solve this problem when you isolate on one function at a time. I can predict the the solutions - More Studies to figure out what is wrong, how about another state department that investigates "after" the fact as to what is wrong.

Implement "Process" measures people, listen to the "Voice of the Process," we already hear the cries of the "Voice of the Customers." Don't forget "idiotic" solutions like driving fear and threats as a solution so that children will have more negativity that eliminates "Joy of Learning." Perhaps we should drag the dropouts through the streets so that all can see the failures in person, humiliation always works!

4) The Governor is proposing giving incentive payments to schools that provide a stronger math, science and foreign language program. I'm sure that will work, money is not a motivator, never has and never will be.

WOW! I could write all day on this topic:

- I never seem to read by "What Method" will these tasks be done.

- This reminds me of the goals and objectives statements we had where I worked which
sounded good but no one knew how to get it done.

- Am I the only one who sees tougher standards and teaching by tests that may or not be valid as probable causes rather than a solutions?

- Singling out the high school as to where to put these recommendations is insane. Its like conducting quality control inspection "after" the product has been produced. The students
who don't have the skills in high school lost them or never had them in the earlier grads
starting way back to pre-school and kindergarten.

- Why do we continue to look at the school "system" as individual parts? After all it is a
system isn't it? You know, the whole is greater than the parts, and if you don't understand variation you are probably "tampering" with the system instead of helping it. Then again I
hear many speak about "system thinking," but I find few who can apply it.

Without going on and on I would like to show a graphic that illustrates the 1-10-100 Rule

  • Student Model (by qg) CLICK PIC TO ENLARGE

    Think of the 1 as one dollar, the 10 as ten dollars and the 100 as one hundred dollars. The concept is simple when you realize that most problems originate at the beginning of a process/system and grow much larger and complex as they move through the process.

updated 5/18/05 - Tossing the Toddlers

  • See the following report from Yale:

    I use dollars because that is what gets everyone's attention. If we practice prevention and institute requirements or standards at the beginning and continue to set and monitor them as we progress through the school system we can save many dollars (more importantly students). When the child is in middle school and we discover problems it will cost 10 times as much to solve the embarrassing times more embarrasing for the student). In high school it will be 100 times more costly and complex to identify the problem and to solve it (most will drop out rather than repeat a grade or labeled as a failure).

    If we pass a student on early in life that does not meet the standard we are dooming that individual to an impossible task later in his/her school life to catch up and succeed. Putting TOUGHER STANDARDS in high school will not solve the problem.

    By far the biggest problem is the unknown, those that graduate and go on to low paying jobs and constant unemployment with a self-concept of defeat. How many dollars are we paying for welfare, government training programs and corporate remedial training to mention just a few.

    Please look at the system as a whole, do not put money in one area that will sub-optimize the good of the whole.

    It's time to declare defeat, and start over with saving the many at the beginning of our system and help what we can at the end.


4/18/05 - Heard on the radio ( ) today that a local high school was missing 300 of the newly revised state MEAP tests. They were found in a student's locker. I guess when you put that much stress and pressure to get into college, some students will resort to anything.

There is a silver lining - Recruiters from Kmart, Enron and MCI are all offering an internship into their management development program. I suppose they figure he has COO or CEO potential. Yeah, I made that part up.

4/21/05 - supplied from a comment by M.P.

Rhode Island Using Methods Other Than Tests To Measure Student Performance
SOURCE: Education Week

Rhode Island school districts have devised methods besides testing to measure student achievement and create high school graduation requirements. State officials said the idea is to make schools focus on skills that aren't easily measured with tests, such as time management, teamwork and organization. School districts have submitted plans that focus on work-related experiences and solving real-world problems. Some districts want students to give oral reports and put together portfolios of their work. "It's very important work," said Michael Cohen, the president of Achieve Inc., a Washington based group that advocates high academic standards. "I think an ideal state assessment system would include a mix of on-demand tests and rich performance assessments" neither of which, on their own, provides all the information you need." Joseph B. Goho, the principal of North Providence High, said before his school started requiring high school seniors to do projects to graduate, there were as many as two dozen seniors dropping out. Since requiring the projects, the number of drop outs is in the single digits. "It has allowed us to leave fewer children behind," Goho said. It's engaging our less motivated kids. It's also curing senioritis for our high-achieving kids."

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Misc - The Boys of Summer

click for larger picture


For some reason since the baseball strike I can’t watch baseball on TV. However, going to a game and watching kids play is a treat down memory lane.

To honor the “true” boys of summer I wanted to share some quotes (thanks to Joe Robl) from two Hall of Famers and one proud qg. The following quotes seemed relevant to today’s game:

Yogi - "You can observe a lot just by watching."
Casey - "That kid can hit balls over buildings."
qg – “The kid is a Natural – change his name to Roy.”

Yogi - "He can run anytime he wants. I'm giving him the red light."
Casey - "Now there's three things that can happen in a ball game: you can win, you can lose, or it can rain."
qg – “I can’t tolerate ignorant parents (who don’t know the rules) at ballgames.”

Yogi - "It ain't the heat; it's the humility."
Casey - "Most ball games are lost, not won."
qg – “A relative of one of the ball player’s attending the game should not yell at ignorant parents.”

Yogi - "I didn't really say everything I said."
Casey - "Nobody ever had too many of them (pitchers)."
qg – “Nothing could be finer than to see Jeff hit the liner that won the ball game!”

Parents – Please don’t live through your kid’s dreams let them have fun.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Quality Education --> A "Blaise" of Glory?

site (check it out some very good posts on all sorts of interesting topics). I wanted to share a comment I wrote since this is a great example of what I posted in April about 'Absolute Power."
Are we about to see a backlash against the blog hype?

Blaise Cronin, Indiana University's school of library and information science's dean, dresses down bloggers:

"The present generation of bloggers seems to imagine that such crassly egotistical behavior is socially acceptable and that time-honored editorial and filtering functions have no place in cyberspace. Undoubtedly, these are the same individuals who believe that the free-for-all, communitarian approach of Wikipedia is the way forward. Librarians, of course, know better."

"What desperate craving for attention is indicated by this kind of mundane, online journaling? "
Funny enough, he too writes a blog.

Posted by Robert Scoble on May 07, 2005 Permalink

Wait! qualityg says... What is Wikipedia? The On-line dictionary says: Wikipedia is widely praised for its incredible breadth, covering subjects that would never appear in any encyclopedia.

For more go to: to gain more "information" about Wikipedia.


qualityg says...

Education, particularly some college academia's with letters after their name anger me with their self-indulgence and insecurity about anyone else that may have an opinion in their subject area and arrogance. Just because they know a subject well doesn't make them smarter, well maybe in their area of expertise, however, it does not give them the right to intimidate (grades) or teach by absolute power to a captive audience (classroom).

While I am not a "full" time academia, I choose to instruct part-time where I can transfer information + data + application = knowledge. Add in listening and then you have Wisdom.

By the way Mr. Librarian, you work in a world of information, not knowledge. I use the library often for information, but can it write my paper or provide improvement opportunities? It's all about theory! It's about asking questions and experiencing outcomes. Hence without theory there are just libraries filled with dictionaries and encyclopedias that provide information.

We all need each other to continue to learn, I'm continuously baffled by "some" educators who try and create barriers as opposed to unlocking doors.

So keep supplying information and let us derive the knowledge.

Posted by: qg May 8, 2005 06:03 PM

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Higher Education: Promise or Dream? PBS Broadcast

Michigan Higher Education: Promise or Dream

Last night (5/4/05) I watched a program @ 8:00 pm on PBS called Michigan Higher Education: Promise or Dream. I have written previous posts about Michigan Education based on newspaper articles, state board of education web site, television interviews and newscasts.

Please folks, take an interest in education do not leave it to others, at least form your own opinions and you better start attending “Town Hall Meetings” (explained below). I have taken the time to offer some information (not knowledge).

This program, which lasted an hour, was straightforward and revealing about the state of affairs in Michigan regarding education.

The moderator for the discussions was Bill Poorman of the “Michigan Radio Network.”
They often have audio replays of interviews at:

I know most of you with children in school or college watched this program and gave up your regularly watching of “Lost” or “American Idol” for this week. However, for those of you who didn’t here are some highlights and comments (of course).

1. Started off with an up beat-recorded speech by Governor Granholm on her goal of stressing college for all students.

2. Ed Sarpolus VP of Epic MRA ( described some of the survey results:
· Parents talk a good game when it comes to saying they want their kids to go to college (more than 50% said no)
· Even well off parents who could afford the tuition said no.
· Parents just don’t get it yet, when students when asked about career goals for children many said “Be Happy.” Not doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc Question # 34 on survey.
· 50% of the kids don’t trust teachers, they don’t blame schools, they believe it’s the child’s fault

Survey results can be found at:

qualityg says…
· Parents talk a good game – I must agree, there are many parents I come in contact with that rely on the school systems and teachers to do their work. There is nothing more important facing parents today (Post 9/11) than to support their children with patience, positive support and the understanding that learning is a life long activity. We parents (qualityg too) need to teach our kids to be flexible and resilient in a world filled with chaos and confusion.
· There is always something about surveys that leave a bad taste in my mouth. Do the questions get interpreted as stand-alone (independent) or are they looked at as a whole (interdependent). Without having face-to-face follow up discussions on open-ended questions (this question was) leaves one to interject their subjective opinions.
· Example: “Be Happy” What does that mean, did the survey ask? It seemed Mr. Sarpolus was troubled by this answer. When I look over the completed survey results as a whole I see many interdependencies (other questions) showing a high percentage of high hopes for their children. I am a good example, for years I wanted my kids to be this and be that and I tried to instill into them the importance of knowing what you want to be when you grow up. In the last 10 years I have changed, I still want them to have goals and a plan but I now say “Be Happy in your work, have a passion for what you want to do and do it the best you can. Money is important, but being happy and diverse in skills is more important.” I believe this change is the result of people losing loyalty in their place of employment and the exuberance and arrogant behavior of many leaders in all areas of the workplace. People are miserable, trapped and stressed beyond belief, they do not want that for their children. So "Be Happy, Don't Worry."

3. The next segment was with Lt. Governor John Cherry and State Senator Wayne Kuipers from the 30th District (West Side of State around Ottawa County). Questions ranged from why is college important and what are some of the recommendations from the Cherry Commission (Senator Kuipers was a non-voting member)?

Lt. Governor Cherry:
· It’s all about jobs
· Employers look for skilled work force
· Stats – Michigan ranks 31st with workers who have a degree along with high unemployment, The top five states (Mass # 1) have high % of workers with degrees and low unemployment
· Mr. Poolman – then why are we cutting higher education funding? LTG Cherry – When the Governor was elected we went around the state doing “Town Hall” meetings, when asked about what to cut from the budget the people stated “cut higher education.”
· Dual Enrollment (HS and College)
· Pass Bond Proposal for more research, use research results to stimulate revenue & job growth
· State climate changing, medium skills no longer guarantees a job, need at least 2 yr degree.

Senator Kuipers:
· We need to get kids prepared for school
· Need strong commitment from K-12
· Shift focus to Higher Ed
· Budget Priorities
· Partnership between student, parent and state
· Change MEAP to Michigan Merit Award
· Dual Enrollment is a good idea to pursue

qualityg says…
· Where can public see all the recommendations (state site)?
· Very good discussion, I personally liked many of the ideas (by what method will they be achieved, and how $).
· Disturbed by the budget being cut because of “Town Hall Meetings.” If this is truly why the state cut funding we are in big trouble. Shouldn't this be a ballot decision?
· When I hear “shift focus,” it reminds me of a system/process being tampered with, by that I mean one part gets all the attention while the other levels chug along (not good my friends).

4. Juan Mestas Chancellor of the University of Michigan – Flint and President Richard Shaink of Mott CC joined the group to discuss higher education:

Chancellor Mestas:
· Resources are required to match requirements (recommendations)
· Can your school handle the amount of students if college recruits double according to Governor’s Plan – not in short term but in 10 years

President Shaink:
· Mott CC encourages students to go on and get 4 year degrees
· Mott CC could handle more students
· Encouraged by Cherry Commission Report if “all” recommendations are implemented

General Comments:
· Transfer Wizard – CCs work with Colleges to determine up front what classes will transfer so the student don’t take unnecessary classes and get done sooner
· College is not for everyone but Post Secondary Education is need in order to compete (vocational, skilled trades, etc) for jobs
· Merit Award – How much does $2500 or $4000 go in your school? Mott CC – 1 Year, Flint U of M – ½ year
· LTG Cherry would prefer Merit Award be given after “completing” secondary education. Senator Kuipers would prefer leaving award for high school and have a separate one for post secondary completion
· Free Education must go beyond K-12, times have changed

qualityg says…
· Very good discussion took place
· Free Education should go before and after K-12 (should be Pre – 14/16). If Friedrich Froebel were alive (founder of Kindergarten in 1837 in Germany) he would be pushing for federal/state funding for P-14/16.
· Politicians need to agree on what is the “end” when it comes to merit awards, both ideas have value, I sense partisan politics determine many of the outcomes of the recommendations.

5. Last segment was about improving skills and how do we keep college grads in Michigan. Pamela Loving President & CEO of Career Alliance and Superintendent Thomas Svitkovich joined Poolman, Cherry and Kuipers.

President Loving:
· Michigan economy is not dead, we are in a transitional culture change
· People need to change careers, need life long learning & it should be fun
· Michigan still a good place to work, there are jobs here, just not people who qualify

Superintendent Svitkovich:
· Education from Birth to College and Beyond
· Already working with colleagues from higher education
· HS students need Technology, Higher levels of math and higher levels of science in order to go to college and be prepared for the future
· Put old beliefs behind and educate communities about future needs and requirements
· Set a goal with parents and students to reach a pact about reaching HS and College at a much earlier age (elementary)

LTG Cherry & Senator Kuipers:
· Highly skilled employees attract employers to come to Michigan
· Employers say this is what they need before locating here: Regulation, Taxes and Education level of employees

Last question from Bill Poolman to LTG Cherry and Senator Kuipers:
What would be the “one” policy you think needs to be passed?

LTG Cherry – Bond Proposal, invest in jobs and create synergies
Senator Kuipers – Dual Enrollment – get high school kids ready for college

qualityg says…
· Life long learning and education should be fun – AMEN, - Pres
· Education from B – Beyond – Alright, - Super- understands “systems thinking” and must have had Quality Training
· Pres and Super are two people that need to be involved going forward in state education decisions


Rather than summarize the program comments I have chosen to include comments on an Editorial Opinion by Mr. Karl Ziomek – Managing Editor of the News Herald. The Title is “Talking about education can be tiresome”

Mr. Ziomek comments on the survey results as well as the validity of the comment about parent apathy toward college; qg agrees based on my immediate family, 11 children are eligible (age) for college, 9 out 10 attend(ed) MSU, 1 at U of M – Flint, 1 went into military. All of my close friends also have more than 90% of their children going to or have finished college.

Also Mr. Ziomek questions Lotto money going in one state government program and then transferred to another.

Proposal A? As the economy lags, revenue for education (and everything else) fall

The state’s largest district has been so poorly administered that it may have to close more than 50 buildings next year in one fell swoop.

Why can’t our kids go to University of Michigan?

And more…

I have requested Mr. Ziomek to send me a link to his editorial (no longer on paper web site).

Thanks for reading, I’m not going to give up asking questions and seeking answers, all of my posts are sent to the people who either wrote the articles, talk on TV or post info on state web sites.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Education - Here we go again! 5/1/05, updated 5/3/05


Articles on education are popping up all over the place, while it is good to keep education on the front burner, it seems like we continuously look at the problem like a crossword puzzle, one piece at a time, instead of looking at all the pieces and how they have to work and fit together in order to complete the process. Too many groups/people are trying to force "conventional wisdom" upon an unsuspecting public. If someone says it enough times it must be true (i.e., some politicians mantra)

Today was no exception; I’m listing them for your reading pleasure:

1) Poll shows hurdles for state's effort to shift economy's focus from brawn to brains:

1a) Survey Results -
EPIC MRA – Michigan Parents – Culture of Education The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians & YOUR CHILD:
By Francis X. Donnelly and Marisa Schultz/The Detroit News

2) Michigan must stress college for all students:
By Governor Jennifer Granholm

3) Parents' Low Expectations Frustrate Education Reform:
State pushes schooling to jump-start economy, but many moms and dads have other ideas
Editorial – by the Detroit News

4) Attitude may make Michigan the new Mississippi

By Nolan Finley

qg says…
From The Governor’s article “Our call to action is clear: We must make a college education a universal goal for every student in Michigan.
Why? Because we know that college -- whether it's at a four-year university, a two-year community college or in an equally demanding apprenticeship or technical training program -- provides students with the skills they need to be successful in work and to help drive our economic growth.
Last year, I set a challenging goal -- to double the number of college graduates in Michigan in the next 10 years. I asked our lieutenant governor, John Cherry, to lead a Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth to enlist leaders from across our state to find ways to achieve that goal.
This diverse group -- business and labor leaders, K-12 and college educators, Republican and Democratic lawmakers and many others -- developed 19 recommendations to improve education in our state and better reap the rewards that higher levels of education can bring to our economy.”

qg - This “sounds” great, my questions are where are the 19 recommendations (are they on a web site)? Why did it take so long (when you have that many leaders, trying to coordinate schedules and time is very difficult, after all, while this commission is a priority, it is one of many)?

qg - By what “method” will these goals and recommendations be accomplished and by whom?

qg – Please see post "Raise Michigan High School Standards" – where there are other questions concerning the commission.

qg – I wrote an earlier post on 4/25/05 about the new:
· Why aren’t the Detroit and Local News Papers (Free Press & News) picking up and asking questions about this framework?,1607,7-140-6530_30334---,00.html
· They want feedback. I did, did you? How could you when you have to go to the state education site to see it, if they want comments for their survey then get a proper sample.
· Will this framework work with the 19 recommendations or will the different commissions drive them? Where is the synergy?
· Will they compete for dollars from the state educational budget?

We must eat or be eaten as a state, I as governor, refuse to let us become some other
country's meal." and she said "Every child in Michigan must go on to college."

qg says…(5/1/05)- I can no more go out on my deck and yell to my garden “grow, grow,
and double in size from last year, than will some of these educational goals and "slogans" be accomplished.

Why? My garden needs a plan (includes the proper times, with milestones, etc…), it needs a method by which to cultivate the soil, prevent weeds, assure water and sunlight, fertilize at the appropriate times and keep the vermin (aka –politicians) away from the goods (process).
As I have said in many posts, without using “systems thinking” and involving all groups (interdependencies) from beginning to end you will only continue to band aid (tamper) the system.
I guess if I just plant a bulb and do nothing else, I may get a beautiful flower on it's own, but I bet it will be eventually surrounded by weeds and strangle the little fella.