Friday, March 24, 2006

SAT Scores & Incentive Pay for Teachers - NOT!!

Quality Education at its Lowest

SAT Scores

"People Pay People for Making Errors and Then They Pay Other People To Catch & Correct the Errors"- qg

In the wake of grading errors that wrongly lowered the SAT scores of thousands of students, a number of guidance counselors and college test-prep services say they are urging test takers to pay extra for backup scoring services to verify results.

These services, which can range from $10 to $100 on top of the $41.50 fee for the test, are available only through the College Board itself. They include sending students copies of their answer sheets that they can check themselves, or hand scoring the test, which is usually graded by machine.

qualityg says … The folks at Pearson Educational Measurement (scan SAT) said the error affected less than 1 percent of test-takers, and shouldn't affect admissions decisions — even though it's too late for students to apply to schools they might have considered with a higher score. I bet close to a million students take some form of standardized test a year. That would make 10,000 students with wrong scores. Oh who cares about 1 measly percent.

I like what this college has done ---> For the last five years, Hamilton College in upstate New York has been one of a growing number of colleges not to require the SAT exam. The test causes too much anxiety, Hamilton concluded, and there's a risk of missing bright students who don't test well.

Thanks to Mike P for sending me this article, he knows how to get me riled up over an issue.

States Want Performance Based Teacher Pay

United Press International
March 7, 2006

Several U.S. states are considering proposals that would base teacher pay on student test scores rather than seniority.

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski has introduced legislation that would award bonuses of $1,000 to $5,500 to school administrators, teachers and support staff in schools that significantly boost student performance on standardized test, reported. Top teachers in Massachusetts would receive cash bonuses of up to $15,000 under Gov. Mitt Romney's proposal.

Similar measures are being considered by lawmakers in Alabama and Mississippi, which—along with Hawaii—are also looking at providing financial incentives to teachers who agree to work in hard-to-staff schools.

Supporters say the changes will attract higher-quality educators and reward the ones who get better results in the classroom or take on tough assignments, Stateline said.

State teachers' unions, however, have defeated many attempts to reform teacher pay. Of the 14 states that considered teacher pay proposals lastyear, Minnesota was the only state to adopt new legislation.

qualityg says ... Here we go again, it doesn’t matter whether or not it is business or education, granting performance for pay takes the employees focus off the target/aim of education and puts it on the individual. We need cooperation before there can be competition.

More from qualityg on Performance Appraisal @ Performance Appraisal

You are going to use Standardized Tests as a measure? You have got to be kidding. Have you ever heard of variation? Example, a sixth grader finally gets a good score on a standardized test. Do you reward the sixth grade teacher only? What about the 5 previous teachers, does this mean they were all bad, why would they not get a bonus? What if there are 3 sixth grade teachers, do they all get a bonus or just the homeroom teacher?

By What Method will you use the Standardized Tests to score excellence? That is ridiculous, your tests scores do not reflect the overall goal of education and that is to teach children knowledge and skills.

Our current educational system is broken and will continue to get worse with ideas like this coming into education. If you don’t believe me study our American Management System.

Question for you teachers? When grading papers do you say why can’t this student understand, or do you ask does the student need extra help or specialized help? Do you ask yourself how to improve your own teaching methods?

UPDATED 3/24/06

Florida to Pay Teachers Bonuses for High Test Scores, also being looked at by 20 other states.

I saw this on Good Morning America (GMA) this morning. Read story and see video at

qualityg says ... I did not think our education system could get any worse. I was wrong.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Quality Leadership - Bill Ford and Mike Ilitch - Detroit's Finest CEOs

Updated 3/18/06
Ford CEO to donate shares to charity

Ford Motor Co. might have granted CEO Bill Ford, a stock award valued at $4.96 million, or 632,587 stock equivalents. But the philanthropic automotive scion has no intention of keeping all that dough. As he has in the past, Ford's top executive plans to give the goods to charity. The stock equivalents, granted under the company's long-term incentive plan, are to be converted into common shares on March 10, 2007. Bill Ford recently disclosed that he donated 240,288 shares, worth about $1.9 million, to the William Clay Ford Jr. Scholarship Program and to other charitable organizations.

qualityg says ...
This is on heck of a CEO, most of his community work goes unnoticed - I sure hope Ford Motor makes a turn around - Mr Ford and his employees deserve it.

Bill Ford to turn down his pay
CEO won't take it until auto unit is profitable
qg says... for those who like to criticize Detroit, how many of your hometown big time CEOs would do this gesture when the company is not doing well?
Kudos to Mr. Ford.

April 7, 2005

Ford CEO's pay gets a boost

Compensation tied to automaker's increased profits
April 7, 2005 for full story go to:
Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford was paid $17.5 million last year -- 10 times as much as he earned in 2003 -- a dramatic increase that coincided with the company's rising profits.
In 2003, when the company earned less than half a billion dollars, Ford was paid about $1.7 million in stock and perks. He was also given 4 million stock options, which give him the right to buy shares of company stock at a set price.
Last year, the company netted $3.5 billion -- seven times the small 2003 profit -- and Ford's compensation soared.
He was paid $1.5 million in restricted stock in lieu of a cash salary, and he was given stock bonuses worth $10.4 million. That included a $1.5-million stock bonus that he is using to fund college scholarships for children of employees. (info - Mr Davidson of Guardian Industries/Owner of Detroit Pistons has the best plan when it comes to scholarships for children of employees).
He also gained $5.3 million -- on paper -- by exercising stock options, although he kept the stock he purchased. Most executives immediately sell stock acquired by exercising options.
He was also granted almost 1.6 million options in January, worth an estimated $9.9 million. But the Free Press does not count this as income until the options are exercised, because, if the stock falls and stays down, the options could be worthless.
The board said Bill Ford met or exceeded most of his goals for the year, which justified his bonus.
The committee of outside directors gave him credit for pretax profits and leadership but said he came up short on customer satisfaction and market-share goals.

The compensation committee evaluated Bill Ford and the company's performance on several aspects.
GOALS EXCEEDED: Corporate pretax income, cost performance, operational effectiveness, leadership and relationship building
GOALS MOSTLY MET: People and succession planning
GOALS PARTIALLY MET: Strategic direction
MIXED RESULTS: Customer satisfaction
GOALS NOT MET: Market share

qualityg says

Personally, I think Mr. Ford is a good leader. He exemplifies the definition of a leader when it comes to providing support to the community and to the employees of Ford (see above highlight on scholarships). He also is a good person who "cares" about his family and the plight of others by contributing to countless charities and non-profit organizations. So my following comments are not directed to or about Mr. Ford, but to the Goal Evaluations (not just Ford, there are many others, you know who you are).

1) Am I the only one who noticed that the "customer" is only mentioned once. And, what the heck does mixed results mean? 50% good and 50% bad, or geez, I don't know.

2) Would it be a stretch to say that if the customer was the number one goal, and the aim in strategic planning was the customer, the other goals would not have to be measured for evaluation. Also, I firmly believe that goals exceeded like Corporate pretax income, income cost performance do not matter most to the customer in their buying decisions, no wonder market share was not met.

Here is a comment that works when frustrated at a company's strategic planning ...

" I'm tired of financial bean counters/MBA pontificators who want to drain organizations of innovation, creativity and passion. Reduce it all to the bottom line, in the box, or better yet, 'paint by numbers and don't go outside the lines.' Limitations cause people to stop working, and worse yet, worry about each other as opposed to concentrating on what matters most to the customer."

Sorry, but if customer satisfaction results are mixed and market share is not met, then how can the others be exceeded. If you have to come up with "numerical" goals, at least look at them from a system thinkers perspective, and not as optimizing one goal over the others.

qualityg kudos for Mr. Ford:

Ford CEO makes surprise plant visit
Wayne Stamping worker impressed
June 11, 2005

Ford Motor Co. CEO Bill Ford surprised workers at the Wayne Stamping and Assembly Plant, which makes the small Focus car, by dropping by Friday without a security entourage and gaining some regular-guy credibility.

The move seemed to be an immediate morale booster, said Tim Phillips of Dearborn Heights, a 36-year Ford employee. "I was so pumped it was not even funny," he said. "He is such a cool guy. He was all by himself."

Ford apparently spent time talking directly with workers on the line and asking how the plant is running -- an event that a Ford spokesman described as an occasional routine for the CEO and great-grandson of the company's founder, who is practically royalty in the Motor City.

"We feel really good we've got him for a boss," Phillips said. By contrast, Phillips recalled a visit to the plant by former Ford CEO Jacques Nasser, in which he arrived with a group of security guards so large that "it was like the president was visiting."

qg says... CEOs should spend as much time with workers as they do with customers, reduce time with VP Execs. If you need to ask why, go to your MBA professors and ask them why you didn't learn this at school.


Salaries of today's CEOs and CFOs is disgusting to say the least. The only ones who should be able to make as much as they can are those (i.e., Mr. Gates, Mr. Dell, etc) who started their own company and built it up over the years. Officers of companies like GE, GMC, AT&T, MCI (or whatever your name is today), should be ashamed of yourselves. You should make no more than a reasonable % of dollars than that of your most experienced non-mgt workers.

Most of the everyday workers have been in the company for many more years and statistically produce much more than the officers who come and go as quickly as the "short-term planning and decision making they bring with them.

You fly by night officers don't own the company and more importantly you be should become servant leaders. Unfortunately, it's the status quo for our leaders to be the last ones to suffer. Five of my close friends have lost their jobs from AT&T in the last six months. All total their years of service = 104 years. They were given severance and in some cases qualified to retire.

The officers, will be receiving millions of dollars each (many have less than 10 years of service).

Will someone please explain to me how this is good for the 20 - 30,000 employees (AT&T is just an example) who have and will lose their jobs? Oh yes, we will NOW have true competition, and the consumer will have choices and better prices. I would be glad to have my bill remain the same, or even be raised a few dollars to keep thousands of people working who have tax dollars to pay and consumer dollars to spend. Most of all I would like to see folks have pride of workmanship.

Where did we lose sight that companies are in business to capture market share, innovate new products and services and CREATE jobs, and more jobs!

It's management's job job to secure jobs, the problem is many can't because they lack the foresight and skills in predicting or envisioning the future in order to stay in business (how can they when they are already looking for their next empire, I mean job).


Example of Innovation and Creativity - David Brandon - Domino's Pizza Inc.

Domino's Pizza is one company that continues to Buck the trend when it comes to growth, creativity and innovation. They continue to create jobs while they capture market share (330 new stores last year). I have read a number of articles about Mr. Brandon (CEO) and in each he expresses his love for his job, company and employees. The most recent being in today's Detroit Free Press Business Section. -

qualityg says...

The following statement is from a few years back, but it still applies.

"Every group/team that has 10 - 12 members needs a Dennis Rodman type to create out of the box thinking and creativeness. However, they also need a Phil Jackson to provide parameters by which to operate without disrupting the "whole" team. Be wary of the 10 person Finance or Accounting Department in which fewer than half of the males have no body piercing or tattoos."

Think Technicolor!

Book Recommendation - Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon Mackenzie - Great Book on breaking the bonds of corporate normalcy. "Grope Good, Rote Bad" - See chapter Nine.

updated 8/3/05

Mike Ilitch Hits a Grand Slam!

Mike Illitch owner of Little Caeserrs Pizza, the FOX theater, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings hit a big home run yesterday with qulityg. qualityg loves to write about CEOs who give back to the community (i.e., Fox Theatre, youth sports, charities, etc...) and is a friend of veterans.

Mr. Ilitch traveled to Paducah Kentucky and provided Sgt. Robbie Doughty with a Little Ceasers Pizza Franchise. Sgt. Robbie lost both his legs in Iraq.

Mr. Ilitch was quoted as saying that he is "lucky to be in a position to help others." That is true Mike, but we are lucky to have you in our community.

Mr. Ilitch, as a Veteran, I salute you. He shoots, he scoooores!

For another great story about Mr. Ilitch go to my post at

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Math Sucks! Especially My Instructor (TA) & (updated 3/12/06) Professors paid not to teach

Math Sucks! Especially My Instructor!

I have been doing a study on and off for the past few months. It involves the types of classes that college students (mostly seniors) drop after they initially enrolled. Some students told me they waited to long to drop and lost money, others stated they should have dropped because they failed.

There were two basic questions that I asked:
1) If you dropped a class during your stay at this college what was it?
2) What was the reason you dropped the class?

I also had a section for comments.

I gathered over 100 students from four different colleges – Michigan State University, Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan & Central Michigan, All are Division I Schools.

Getting the responses was easier than I thought, some I asked, and mostly I used Email addresses. All of these colleges had Email directories from which I chose names at random.

The results so far show Math type classes the overwhelming favorite (87%). I’m not sure I was surprised based on all the stories in all types of media (newspaper, TV, magazines).

There were a variety of reasons but if I had to categorize them I would label the category “Instructor.”

Some of the comments included:
Ø Could not understand (language barrier)
Ø Class size not conducive to learning
Ø Teaching Assistant (TA) does not know how to teach
Ø Professor does not teach uses a Grad Student (knows math but can’t teach)
Ø No standards between instructors (one does no reviews and leaves all learning up to you, while a different instructor teaching the same class goes all out for students.
Ø GPAs at risk because instructor says he can run his class any way he wants.
Ø If you can’t keep up drop the class, not my fault you can’t learn.

qualityg says … I have written on this subject before (we'll be watching you), especially inept math instructors.

The arrogance and absolute power shown in some of these statements about their instructors is sickening.

Students have little recourse. Administration does not respond in a timely fashion in order to help students in immediate need of help. Students have enough stress without having to fight with college administrators over their failure to get good instructors.

Am I wrong, I thought the student was the customer (honor roll for instructors)? The college pays for less than adequate instructors who produce less than adequate teachers who then get jobs in our high schools and teach less than adequate math skills. The college complains the high schools are sending students not prepared for college math. Seems to be a cyclical type system problem here with the student as the loser in all scenarios.

P/s – I will say it again, why are we paying for grad assistants and TAs to teach our children when it should be the professor. College administrators protect their own (instructors). They know students come and go and besides if the students fail or drop the class to late they will get more money when the student has to retake the course.

Sad, very sad, do something right and start having independent educators assess your instructors.

I can't wait to get the Emails from Math Instructors - Bring it on Puppy Dogs!

UPDATE 3/12/06

Professors paid not to teach
I have been complaining and writing about this problem for a long time. I was glad to open the front page of the Sunday Detroit News and read this excellent story by Paul Egan Professors don't teach of the Detroit News.

Sabbaticals cost ailing Mich. schools $23.2M; universities say they're needed to recruit top talent.
Following are some highlights and comments from the article:

Pros & Cons

  • Proponents say sabbaticals give faculty time to do research, travel and attract grants.
  • Critics say professor workloads are low and paying them to be absent is wrong when college costs for students are on the rise.

qualityg says ... first priority is educating students, all else is BS, send your TAs and Grad Students to do research. If they are smart enough to teach our children they are smart enough to do research and recruit. I'm sick of paying high tuition at a major university for second rate instructors. If a TA or Grad Student teaches a class the tuition should be lowered to compensate for their lack of experience and knowledge.

I enjoyed this statement from one of the worst offenders:

Gayle Davis, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Grand Valley State, said "professors at research universities such as U-M and Michigan State have lower teaching loads than nonresearch universities and also offer leaves of absence other than sabbaticals that professors can use to do research. Those are a couple of the reasons a school such as hers might top research universities in its rate of sabbaticals, Davis said."

Professors work hard, probably 60 hours a week on average at Grand Valley State, Davis said. However, "we have faced this kind of lack of understanding in the public since time began."

qualityg says ... Well, time began? Gosh, I'm sure that statement clears things up. By what method do you make that assumption Ms. Davis?

You lack the understanding that you and other universities and colleges promote a higher education for our students and then fill the clasroom with student teachers at our expense.

"since time began" - what a joke!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Fall 2005 MEAP Scores are in for the state of Michigan - Is your state like mine?

See 7/15/06 Post

MEAP Scores for the state of Michigan are published at Fall 2005 MEAP Results.

I have been reviewing the data provided and it seems a little vague to me. For example let me share some comments made by some state educational resources regarding the scores.

  1. "We're seeing more money and resources on test preparation, does that make our kids smarter? No, it doesn't it makes them better able to take standardized tests."

qualityg says ... see similar responses from MEAP results for 2003 and 2004. Same response each year. I guess statements don't get much better either.

2. "The controversy would disappear if we could collectively agree on what kids should know after 12 years of schooling."

qualityg says ... I guess this means we don't know. Can't tell the players without a scorecard, how are we going to identify schools and children in need if we have no "stinking" standardized parameters.

3. "We need to have a system where teachers are supported to get their hands around the curriculum."

qualityg says ... I hope the teachers have some big meat hooks, it's going to take some monster paws to accomplish that task. You see Teachers are like Service Reps in a Call Center. The IT, Marketing, Sales and Operations folks all send their own requirements and information they want one rep to tell the customer, many times the rep has to go to multiple systems to get the answers or information. Teachers get bombarded by all sorts of educational committees and new political agendas.

4. "Other states are not only catching up with Michigan, they are moving faster than Michigan."

qualityg says ... Let me see Mr. DOE at a big school, it has been stated by many that Michigan's state test is one of the best and toughest in the nation. So that means in order for Michigan to be passed the rest of the nation must have the "same" test or "better." Oh pleeeeze stop making statements that are not factual. Unless you have a formula for factoring in the differences, then this statement makes no sense.

5. "State Test Scores Show Students Reaching Higher Curriculum Standards." - please read this statement found at the state educational site - State Scores Show ...

qualityg says ... a lot of percents are thrown around by different people in this statement.

If 100,000 students are evaluated and 20% percent don't fully meet or don't meet standards at all how many students would be affected?

100,000 X 20% = 20, 000 students (i.e., one grade only) - How does this figure relate to "No Child Left Behind (NCLB)?"

I have no other comment.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Autistic - SO WHAT - Basketball Player Jason McElwain Team wins State Title - WOW & Outdoor Play

Autistic basketball player creates mayhem at game

If you have not seen this news clip you are in for a real treat.

"This is the first moment Jason has ever succeeded (and could be) proud of himself. I look at autism as the Berlin Wall, and he cracked it."
Jason McElwain's mother, Debbie McElwain

qualityg has a special place for autistic children. If you would like to learn more on autism please go to: or
qg is a member of both organizations.

J-Mac's meaningful message for autism

The following is a poem I wrote about some of my boys and how they play too.

Quality Education - State Scores way behind Federal Scores & Michigan to Roll Out Education Improvement Framework ???

The nation's students do glaringly worse on a tough federal test than they do on state exams in reading and math,
raising doubts about how much kids are learning

Under No Child Left Behind, all children must be proficient in reading and math by 2014. But there has never been a promise of consistency (read post ).

Such discrepancies are not uncommon. Students from all over the country performed worse on a tough federal test than they did on state exams in reading and math -- raising questions about whether states are setting lower standards.

States define what "proficient" means, and their expectations for students, tests and passing scores vary widely. States have a huge stake in the scores on their own exams, because they determine whether schools make enough progress to avoid federal penalties.

(click to get form) Michigan School Improvement PRE-Conference Wkshop - This one day conference (Thursday March 23) This workshop is specially designed for ISD schoolimprovement staff, education organizations and ABCS Coaches to preview several drafts of new School Improvement Framework tools, and discuss professional development options in preparation for the April 27th statewide rollout of the Framework. - Free
(click to get form) 2006 Michigan School Improvement Conference - This one day conference (Thursday April 27th) will provide you with practical, hands-on information and tools to understand and use the School Improvement Framework to support and enhance your school improvement efforts.- $125.00
qualityg says ... The first one is free and the second one costs $125.00. Is this Framework a Requiremt for all school districts? Is it mandatory? Why would you have to pay for something as important as this (because of a speaker)?

I have read the framework and posted it on this blog in May 2005 with questions that are still not answered (

Free Conference - Preview "several" drafts of Framework.

Cost Conference - Hands on information and tools to understand and use Framework.
Are you kidding me? The framework is based on Malcolm Baldrige criteria (don't let state tell you it's just a small part). To understand and use tools of this type usually requires one week of training, and then to be paired with someone who has had experience and application with this type of framework.
One more question - What is the cost for this rollout?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Fake AT&T Leadership Is Nearing Deal to Acquire BellSouth for $65 Billion

Fake AT&T, BellSouth Near $65B Deal

qualityg has warned about these mergers for years. It still amazes me that the FCC and government do not just admit that judge Harold Greene (divestiture in 1984) was wrong about breaking up the "Real AT&T Bell System."

The corruption (MCI, WorldCom, QWEST, etc…), wasted dollars, political bickering between long lines and local, excessive corporate pay and golden parachutes, etc… I could go on and on but the real tragedy of this debacle was the 1 million employees that worked for the Bell System in the early 1980s.

Together, Fake AT&T (SBC) and BellSouth could have combined market capitalization of nearly $160 billion, dwarfing rival Verizon.

Together, the three companies employ more than 316,000 people, though that head count will fall as AT&T eliminates redundant operations.

qualityg said last December - click-->(SBC/ AT&T Merger) ...

Since 1984 the world and particularly the United States has suffered because of your moronic decision by Judge Harold Greene. Tell me where you can find a company today that has over a million employees with standardization and reliability that compared to AT&T in 1980. A million employees working and paying taxes with a good wage. No other company has ever come close to giving back to the communities in which they were located. In 1984 Michigan Bell employed close to 39,000 employees, today the number is around 13, 000.

Remember this headline) (BellSouth calls off AT&T deal) from a few years ago?
The Reason --> Among the details, say people familiar with the terms, was that Ackerman (BellSouth) was to remain CEO until his retirement, expected in 2006. Then Dorman would succeed him. The company would have been called AT&T. The company will still be called AT&T, but Double D (Dorman) is the odd man out with about $30 Million.

Again the Execs will win and the employees will lose. Don't believe me, ask ex-employees from PacBell, AT&T (the real AT&T), Ameritech, AT Home, NYNEX, etc...

This whole mess was not good for competition or the consumer. We would have a much more capable and reliable Security System and employment picture across the United States if Judge Greene would have listened to the people and not the politicians back in 1984.

Next Company to Go to Fake AT&T? Perhaps Lucent and then it's bye bye for Patricia Russo (CEO).

j-man sent me this article from Market Watch--> click on Link Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

for more updates go to