Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I Just Don't Get it! IRS & Common Core Standards

I Just Don’t Get It! - IRS

Often times it becomes increasingly frustrating/confusing to understand social economic issues especially as it pertains to education. Our education system has and is in a constant state of disarray because of lack of leadership at the decision positions from the top posts in government to local school districts.

For the past seven years I have been directing a mentoring program ( ) that has been widely acclaimed. Over two years ago I made a decision (against the wishes of those who work with me) to create a non-profit business of this program.

My intentions were to go after scholarships and grants and then pass those dollars to students and teachers. I would not have charged parents and students but would accept donations. This is just a snippet of my intentions but I am in the process of dissolving this initiative (The IRS has a provision that will not return my application fee). Funny I should get into a for profit business that takes a business plan for a $1000.00 and sits on it and collects interest and then refuses to give money back for no services rendered.

You see my application (AND FEES I PAID) has been sitting in the IRS non-profit department without any activity or communication (Except to tell me I owed more money). The IRS has a website - that informs you of the month and year they are processing applications (Currently May 2012).

We have all read and seen reports the problems this department has caused with the refusal and delays for any company that had ties to the Tea Party. As with most problems like this it is the little guy who suffers. This problem runs much deeper than just denying Tea Party businesses and no one cares.

Please understand I am not a Tea Party Member. I’m just a guy who wanted to make a difference create some jobs and change the PARADIGM of how we prepare our students for College and Career Readiness.

Updated 2/14/14

Finally received a letter from IRS now wanting additional information and to update my original documents after 18 months. The website I mention above now states April 2013. So in a matter of a month they jumped a year in processing applications. I had some questions and called the number in my letter 5 times and no one answers and no one has returned my call. Years ago it was the Post Office that came under fire for customer service - Go Figure!

I Just Don’t Get It! – Common Core Standards/Teacher Evaluations

I have always prided myself on making most of my decisions on Fact Based Data and Information (FBDandI). The much discussed and often misunderstood Common Core Standards (CCS) are still confusing the stakeholders (Teachers, Parents and STUDENTS) who must adhere to what the standards mean and how they should be implemented. OOPS! The CCS inform us what students should know and by what grade level but it DOES NOT provide the HOW the standards should be taught and that is a big problem assuming educators already know how to do this vital step in education. It did not happen with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)  or the the other educational plans that have come and gone over the years. I should not say gone because they get implemented and then pile up on each other leaving teachers the task to try to be successful at all initiatives.

I am not going to go into the standards (see my write-up - ) but I will tell you the stakeholders will be negatively impacted because the LEADERS (Superintendents, Principals, School Boards) have not planned and prepared  (training, tools, resources) the teachers to implement these standards. The Information technology (IT) requirements alone to administer the testing portion will drive schools to more budget deficits in both public and private schools.

A big question mark (?) that comes with this initiative is how they will grade teachers. I have written about this before ( ). There are published reports by the State of Michigan that 99% of our teachers received high marks on their evaluations. Now is that Fact Based Data and Information or is that a result of the leaders (Principals) who are “supposed” to evaluate the teachers do this on a fair and consistent basis (Many parents don't know that CCS only covers Math and English Language - Does this mean Science, History and other teachers get a free pass). I’m here to tell you a big problem is the people in these positions for the most part are good educators but they are not equipped to be managers, supervisors and leaders when it comes to making these types of decisions. The main Root Cause is they don’t have the stomach to rate their friends and co-workers negatively. This was the same problem Union Leaders and Managers in the business world faced when downsizing and lay-offs took off in the 1980s. I have been involved in both of these scenarios.

This problem goes higher because who evaluates Principals and who evaluates Superintendents?  Too many articles complain and pretend to make issues of the common core standards. However, no one challenges the fact the standards are not standard in their roll-out (That is for another post) or in their implementation. Thus, as in most systems/processes the problems are found upstream with increasingly confusing complex negative issues in the downstream. The problem like in the past process quality initiatives is the leaders put all the money in band-aid fixes and symptoms.

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