Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Educational System is Polluted

I just don’t get it. For years many organizations have been letting people go and then returning them as contract employees. In the recent years educational (K-12) Schools have been doing the same.

One of the main reasons is financial and it helps the company or school to save on paying benefits and pensions. This makes sense when the employee is valuable and continues to add value in their pride of workmanship.

However, this post is about the employees that are forced in to early retirement or let go and then brought back in as temporary or part-time employees. This group of employees is less than desirable for many reasons like an inability to change, poor work ethic and an attitude that destroys moral and cohesiveness.

It’s also about leaders who remove people from a position of authority or leadership and move them in to a new role instead of letting them go to start fresh somewhere else. I have experienced more times that not the employee being reassigned for being a poor worker is left to wallow in resentment, bitterness and pity for all to see, hear and to deal with for a long time that ultimately gets worse as time goes by for all workers involved.

Some of these people train new employees and corrupt them with their work ethic and environment remains polluted for years to come. Some survive; many will not make it and have to be closed because their profit margins and test scores are without merit to keep going on in the same direction.

Sometimes change is needed to clean up a polluted lake. The lake will stay polluted as long as those in charge refuse to believe it is polluted or won’t realize they are the ones polluting the lake with their decisions like the ones stated above.

So instead of creating a fresh clean lake and removing the waste upfront from the environment many organizations and educational institutions create a new lake and hope everyone will start keeping it clean.

The point is this, it’s a just a matter of time before the new clean lake becomes as polluted as the old because those in position of authority will not confront situations and make the tough decisions that are required for improvements to take place. They sit back and wait for someone else to do the right thing or they just hope the situation will go away by itself. Some will even block others who advocate change and improvements because they don't want to be exposed or just don't want to do the extra work that is required for real change to take place.

Our education system has started so many lakes but they have no filters or decision makers that will accept the current ways of leading and doing things will end in the same polluted manner over and over again.

                                                                                                                                                                        "No one has to change, Survival is optional" - Dr. Deming

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"Not Invented Here Syndrome" - Goes for Education Too!

UPDATED 6/26/2011

Not Invented Here Syndrome or NIHS as we used to say back in the Quality Improvement days referred to those organizations or leaders who could not bring themselves to replicate/implement someone else's ideas because that would mean they are doing something wrong or mediocre.

That is the kiss of death in the business world. So the result is to just keep complaining about what is wrong in very good detail as if to further justify their ignorance for the sake of an ego. It's funny that a large group of educators like administrators, counselors and principles refuse to learn a new way of helping our students. That is right "Student Focus" is the optimum words that must be spoken at all times.

In the past two weeks (actually for years) I have read three articles about the sad state of affairs of our educational system. Each author elaborates on all the things wrong with the system and provides some lackluster and non-proven means for probable improvement.

How about taking some suggestions and giving credit for processes that are already implemented and working in a number of school systems. When we do find one we raise it so far up on a pedestal, and then leaders rather than replicate the process they ignore it because it won't work for them because there school system is unique. BS!!! Politicians won't endorse it unless there is something in it that relates back to them.

Get over yourselves educators and writers (many who are educational consultants) who think you have the answers. Get out and find some real processes that are tested and true to attack the failures of our system like not preparing our high school students for college and the working world. Below is a Link that identifies one of those processes others will not utilize because they did not invent it!

Each new administration whether it be governmental or educational sets forth a statement without a measurable "AIM" and convinces people for a short period of time they have the answers.

Even sadder is the Jesus Syndrome. That is where good processes exist and will not be recognized or implemented in the place of business or school system where they exist.

"Knowledge necessary for improvement comes from the outside" - Dr. W. Edwards Deming

I truly believe this  statement especially in my role in an educational environment. If you don't believe me re-red this post!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

School Accreditation/Assessments - Another Process gone bad!

It continues to amaze me whether it is leaders in education, business or government on how they follow each other like Lemmings when it comes to creativity and innovation – THEY HAVE NONE!
I am referring to proposed cuts in education and job training. Why do we sacrifice our future for present and past mistakes? The reason is because our leaders have no foresight except the next election or the next bottom line quarterly report.

Another reason, it has to do with incompetence and taking the easy road out to make them look good. Why can’t for once you represent the people you SERVE! In case you don’t know who they are they are your constituents and employees.

We never learn, result measures for education improvement and business measures go month to month, quarter to quarter and year to year. Like traffic accident reports these are nice to know (What) but in education I never see action plans and measures (How) to improve the system.

Short term educational results are not an indicator of good leadership. Business leaders for years have shown us that it is easy to show results by cutting training, removing workers and providing meaningless measures.

Current educational result measures do not help students learn math or how to read. They make no contribution to improvement. They only make conversation of ignorance.

School accreditations and assessments are nice but the attention and focus given by leaders are before, during and for a short time after the accreditation or assessment is done. In between the visits, reports and so-called improvement measures it’s business as usual and no means of actual improvement is done except for annual standardized reports that are not process improvement but a means used for recruitment brochures.

Certifications and Assessments of an educational system (school) are result measures. School official’s year and after provide results and “cursory” plans that have no structure, time or means of measurement to show they are implementing process improvements or if they do that they actually work.

Education Improvement will not come from accreditations or certifications, it will only come through improvement to the on-going improvement of the system (end-to-end) and this can not be done through actions that are result driven and not a combination of process and result measures led by an “active” leader.
Many Governmental and Educational Leaders are EXPENDABLE. What value do they bring? Are they more important than your customer facing and producing employees?

Does Sara Lee “pay” more attention to their Finance VP because of the paper results or to the employee who makes and sells the company products? People who create and present paper results do not make bread.

I continually look to see some improvement in local, state and national educational systems. All I see are roller coaster plans, targets and goals with no one taking charge, responsibility or accountability.

Educational Czars and State Educational Leaders are like CEOs that come in from outside the system for a short-term and change direction that actually deprives the educational system for lasting improvement. Why does this happen? It’s simple, they do not know the interdependencies of the system nor do they take charge they delegate their responsibilities to committees, task teams and assessment teams that use subjective measures that do nothing but continue to tamper and already out of control system.