Friday, August 12, 2005

"Draft" Michigan School Improvement Framework, WHAT ABOUT SAFE SCHOOLS???


I started out this morning writing some comments about Mike Wendland's column in today's Detroit Free Press "Laptop program fuels arguments on both sides."

I was thinking about the title and remembered a quote by Dr. Deming, "Any two people have different ideas of what is important." Before reading that quote again I was going to say that I read an article awhile back that indicated high school test scores for reading; writing and arithmetic have not improved since the introduction of the PC/Laptop in the classrooms. However, learning more about a computer has vastly improved.

I shifted gears a little and wondered again why do folks not see the big picture (i.e., Systems Thinking - see my blog on Systems Thinking if you need a refresher).

So I headed to the State Education site to see if there was any additional findings or data about laptops. Much to my surprise at the Department of Education site I found a power point presentation, "Draft" Michigan School Improvement Framework. After viewing the presentation I decided to write about the new improvement framework. They are seeking comments on a survey attached to the presentation, I chose to send my Blog because I needed to explain some statements.,1607,7-140-6530_30334---,00.html

I urge you to view the presentation first because my comments/thoughts will make more sense. I also urge you to comment if you like and tell them qualityg sent you.

In addition, I don't wish to sound negative, education is very important to me, and also to you too:
  • I was wondering if this will be posted in the local newspapers around the state, it would provide more data for the survey and be stratified by demographics (one example) to gather a good sample of the population.
  • By slide # 6 - I started to smell outside consultants, not that it's a bad thing, as long as the educators lead the effort, but the wording on the slides tells me otherwise, aagh!
  • Slide # 8 - the framework was created by educators for educators, this took me back to the time when the auto engineers used to feel they knew what was best for the consumer/customer and what car they wanted to drive. I was wondering where the students, parents, colleges, business leaders come into play; I would think they are the suppliers and customers of this framework.
  • Slide # 13 - refers to the no child left behind act. Goal (I hate goals) - requires "ALL" students succeed in school. I know this is a controversial subject so I am leaving that to others, but as a past supplier and current customer of the education system I have some concerns. I also realize it is a catch phrase, but perception is reality in the eyes of the customer.
  • "All," - does that mean everyone? By what method do we know what "All" means? How will I know?
  • "All," does that mean zero students will not be left behind? I guess its like when Quality programs were pushing zero defects, and now Six Sigma goals 999.9999... Hope everyone remembers that there is variation in all things and that means, well that means zero is pretty tough to get. Nice stretch goal, but when my bosses gave me stretch goals, there bosses made the goals part of our pay performance (dont get me started, we will talk about that in a future Blog).
  • Slide # 15 - mentions self-assessment, I smell Baldrige Criteria for Education as a possible means for the framework.
  • Slides 15 - 19 - Oh boy! Presenters of this PowerPoint presentation, beware of the DUCKER EFFECT! Make sure you understand and be able to describe and explain these slides, without a doubt you will have someone in your audience that is familiar and perhaps more knowledgeable with this framework (Baldrige), not to be able to answer their questions or asking the guy in the corner (consultant) for help will lose your credibility as well as the framework's credibility. I've been there, and it's not fun. By the way, what does "Strand" mean (slide # 16)? Why not just have "General Area of Focus?"

Research Tab - amazing amount of research seems to have gone into this effort by the amount of listings displayed. However, at the top of the list "The Baldrige Criteria" is listed (I swear I did not know until I clicked the tab after viewing the presentation, I should admit I'm a past Baldridge Examiner).

Some thoughts and questions:

  • I am attaching the criteria if you care to review - The 2005 criteria are now available.
  • The School Improvement Framework does not mention Baldrige in the presentation. Many organizations have chosen to go this route especially if they want to make the process their own.
  • Will each school do a self-assessment (slide # 15)? Who actually will do the assessment? Will they all (there is that word again) have to be trained? I understand we have some really bad budget problems.
  • The Baldrige criteria are a solid framework for improving a company's system. Each year it's updated from previous years learning's/input.
  • Will the state be asking any of the schools to participate in the award program? Again, it can be costly. I found the companies that used the criteria the best are those who used it as a guide to improve their processes, and did not apply for the award. Sometimes internal politics cause problems after applying for the award, seems like the process (Baldrige) becomes more important than the intent/objectives.
  • "Benchmarking" is mentioned in the presentation and always is criteria for the Baldrige. I was wondering if the 2003 education winner (Community Consolidated School District 15) was benchmarked and what did the committee learn.

updated 6/05/05

I wanted to let you know the survey results are in for the "Michigan Improvement Framework." The results are not on the website. I have a copy and will be glad to Email ( those who wish to see the results.

Looks like around 110 - 115 -- responses, most from teachers.

Even though I provided my website and sent my comments they did not make the final survey. A number of the survey questions did not meet my concerns.

For example - I posted a number of questions (also sent Emails to Education Director, Ltg Cherry and State Senator) relating to the PBS Special on education with Lt. Governor Cherry and what are the differences between his proposal and the New Framework Proposal - NO RESPONSE. Below is the link to that post.

updated 8/7/05

Here is what is new at the Michigan Department of Education for 2005 - 2006

qualityg says... I only have one question for the State Administration Board about the NEW! DFMSIF -


click on the below topic to go directly to site:

NEW! Michigan School Improvement Framework.

2005-06 Charter School Competitive Dissemination Grant Program

2005-2006 Charter School Planning/ Implementation Grant Program

updated 8/12/05

qualityg responds to latest version of "Michigan School Improvement Framework"

Back in April ( see post at top) of this year I posted a number of questions/comments about the proposed new “Draft” Michigan School Improvement Framework. I received a number of Emails from educators and some parents to keep them informed. I also have been told the state board of education also considered some questions/comments.

The state is hoping to provide the state board a final copy of the framework by the end of November of this year.

I urge you to comment on the latest draft version at the state site:

7/28/05 Version 7.05 - click Michigan SI Framework

10 General questions/comments:

  1. According to overview the purpose/aim is to find ways to improve and enhance student achievement. This is excellent the key is will your process scope remain this as you progress or will scope creep enter as outside parties want there say? I would recommend developing an operational definition around your aim that leaves no room for any other interpretation. Separate it from the overview.
  2. How will the rollout be implemented, will it be by district, school level, geographic? I’m assuming there is a detailed plan with roles & responsibilities, dates, interdependencies, etc...?
  3. Who and when will the announcement be made to the general public?
  4. Have you selected a test site (s) to observe/analyze/improve before a complete rollout? What school has been selected?
  5. Who will actually do the assessments, internal district reps, state, independent 3rd party or combination?
  6. Assessments can be dangerous if not done properly or in a standardized manner (having standardized questions is no guarantee, you must follow a standardized process). Who did the assessment training for the state?
  7. What kind of tools/instruments will be used for data collection? Data Collection can be very difficult. Please make sure you have determined what data you will be collecting, and how you will be displaying/reporting/graphing the data.

    For additional information see my post: click Data Collection
  8. Glossary – develop a glossary if you will be sending this out to the general public. Define different terms for leaders, staff, etc. Think of the acronyms you hear folks talking about from the business world, same thing for your document.
  9. Cost – How much? Where is it coming from? Has it already been budgeted?
  10. Will improvement opportunities be housed in one data storage, how will you know which one is local and which one should be replicated across the district/state?

    NOTE: Many research resources are found on slides 15 – 18. I believe the most useful was the Malcolm Baldrige framework for education (2005 edition
    @ MBNQA 2005 education version.

    Implementing all of the improvements you will be identifying will take a detailed project plan at all levels. You may consider stratifying some of your data by Categories (e.g. Strands). This may help identify systemic trends.

    Don’t just look for the bad; it’s easier to replicate (saves time & $$) the good than it is taking time to just solve the problems of the bad.

    One major drawback (Baldrige and other self-assessments) that I have experienced is that you have used the “What” and the “How, “ but I don’t find the other “Ws” à Who, When, Where and Why. Answering some of these statements will help define your project plan and improvement strategies. A Framework must be accompanied by a Project Plan).

    Questions/comments by Slide#

    Slide # 3, Strand I – Teaching & Learning
    Q1) – High Expectations for all students is mentioned often. What does this mean? High for one student may be low for another.
    Q2) – Curriculum and documentation is mentioned. Are state education documents controlled?

    Slide # 4, Strand I – Teaching & Learning
    Q1) – “Best Practice” – avoid words like this unless you have “actually” done some Benchmarking. For example I would ask you – Best practice as compared to Who and What?

    Slide # 5, Strand I – Teaching & Learning
    Q1) - You need to define reliable and stable?
    Q2) - I first wrote down “ How will you be collecting data? It was somewhat answered in Strand V – Data & Information Management. Suggestion à Perhaps a “High Level” block diagram should be included that shows interdependencies of the Strands.

    Slide # 6, Strand II – Leadership
    Q1) – For the General Public you may wish to define “school leaders.”
    Q2) – When you ask “How” knowledgeable are school leaders for curriculum, instruction, assessment – Define knowledgeable as it relates to those questions. How will you measure to determine if one is knowledgeable? Explaining these topics is not knowledge, that is information, please don’t confuse the two.

    Slide # 7, Strand II – Shared Leadership
    Q1) – What does “all staff” has collective responsibility for student learning? I would say when everyone is responsible; no one ends up being responsible.
    Q2) – Plan for school improvement, is there a process for designing new products/ services, documents, etc…?
    Q3) – MONITORING – be careful making a statement about “adjusting” plan for improvement annually, without knowledge you may end up tampering with the system. This is one of the major problems I see today in education. Move the target without knowing if it’s the process. You can’t know if you can’t determine if your process is stable.

    Slide # 9, Strand # III - Personnel & Professional Development
    Q1) What do you mean when you say, “How do the staff establish and use systems to maximize student learning? I assume you are talking about HR applications?
    Q2) – Like the business world, you have forgotten about one of the most important processes. The “Hiring” process is critical, if not done correctly up front by determining the right fit causes years of downstream problems. Often overlooked and under-valued.

    Slide # 11, Strand IV – School & Community Relations
    Q1) With the problem of “ Absentee Parents” I would consider a separate category to determine how are you going to solve this problem It’s known you don’t need an assessment, but you do need a plan of action.

    Slide # 13 – Data Management
    Q1) – See General question # 7.

Note: There are other suggestions that go deeper than those suggested above, but they are not value added at this time unless the others are included.

Closing Note: I learned long ago that if you don’t ask the right questions, you learn nothing. This can be very costly (not just $) when assessments go bad.


Anonymous said...


Very Interesting PowerPoint presentation that the State School Board put together.

Thanks for sharing, otherwise I would have not seen it until it was approved/finish and I'm a teacher.


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