The Politics of American Public Education and Why Dramatic Progress Still Eludes Us

The current political efforts aimed at improving the American public educational system appear to reflect Einstein's definition of insanity ? doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results ? than truly creating sustainable change. Until, we begin at square one, sustainable educational achievement will not happen and the limited resources of time, people and taxpayer's dollars will continue to be depleted.

A closer examination of the facts that are rarely discussed needs to be reviewed.

FACT #1 ? No one looks good in a bad system.

We live in a 24/7 global economy and continue an agrian school structure. We recognize that many school buildings built 40 years ago are not conducive to be energy efficient and technology friendly. However, we continue to embrace a school structure that is both inefficient and ineffective.

Many teachers know that their students begin to shutdown after spring break because they are looking forward to summer vacation. Parents will take their children out of school during the school year to accommodate the parents' vacation schedules. To build long-term cognitive memory which is the foundation for measurable performance requires multiple exposures such as rote memorization or spaced repetition to a learning event. With today's students having more to learn, every minute needs to be leveraged to optimize performance. The current system makes everyone look bad.

FACT #2 ? The initial desire for learning is innate, but needs ongoing development.

Young children are always asking why. Their innate curiosity to explore their world fuels their desire for ongoing learning. A review of national test scores shows a general increase in cognitive gains from K-3, but then a decline happens from 4th through 6th with an upward swing in 7th and 8th.

Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues recognized that learning affects three domains ? the cognitive, the psychomotor and the affective. Yet most adults, especially teachers, have very little training in developing the affective learning domain and some of their actions either intentionally or unintentionally actually diminish the desire to learn. We need to build both cognitive growth and attitudinal desire. The standard question of "Can they learn?" should always be partnered with a second question: "Do they want to learn?"

FACT #3 ? What is, is.

Today's neighborhoods are not yesterday's homogenous, farming communities. The one-room school house was successful for 4 factors:

1. Schools were homogenous

2. Communities reinforced shared values

3. Many learning objectives such as fractions, geometry, physics were continually applied within the day to day farming activities

4. With multiple grades per classroom, older students faced continual repetition of earlier learned facts

The never ending blame game needs to stop! Negativity energy consumes time when time is at an absolute premium! Our schools are filled with diverse populations of students, parents and teachers. Many parents, like those from the Depression, are working two jobs and may lack a strong formal education as well. Teachers are overwhelmed with the additional curriculum mandates. Administrators juggle new regulations and community expectations with limited resources. Focusing the blame on one group or one law such as No Child Left Behind drains the energy away and keeps the real problems from being addressed. We need to accept" What is, is" and move forward.

FACT #4 ? Processes exist for one reason only to secure the desired results.

With the emphasis on processes, a presumption exists that the results will follow. Yet, the results for educational achievement are not where they should be given the amount of resources being spent. For example, recent research indicates that the U.S. is still graduating the same percentage of college students that graduated in the early 1950's. Processes need to be reviewed and all waste removed. Removing the waste would add instruction time to the daily schedule and possibly enhance the attitudes of all involved.

FACT #5 ? Alignment of strategies, systems and people must be focused on creating loyal internal customers who will drive loyal external customers.

This alignment works to discover the "Moments of Truth" necessary for sustainable change. Today's schools are big business even if they have only 1500 students. By embracing a continuous improvement plan, such as Baldrige where everyone is in agreement both in words and actions, creates a high quality culture where "excellence is not an act, but a habit" (Aristotle).

FACT #6 ? Learning and performance are two, distinct and separate behaviors.

Many of us have heard the following: "I can't believe you did that! I taught you better than that!" What is really being said is that I can't accept your sub-standard performance because I taught you to perform at a standard to above standard level. This paradigm that learning equates performance is probably the most damaging to educational reform initiatives. Learning must be viewed as one behavior that is the acquisition of knowledge. Performance is a separate behavior that is the application of knowledge. Individuals need numerous opportunities to apply knowledge because we all learn differently.

FACT #7 ? Money will not solve the current problem and neither will more money.

Between 1992 and 2003, K-12 public education spending increased 92%, but eighth grade reading scores only increased 1%. Ignoring this fact is much like the childhood story of the "Emperor's New Clothes."

The American public educational system has delivered outstanding contributors to our society. Before we can raise the bar of performance, we need to face, acknowledge and design truly sustainable solutions to overcome the real obstacles facing our system. And, our politicians need to understand that more money is not the answer especially when the money is directed to the same solution only packaged in a new box.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S. President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS, is the Process Specialist. With over 25 years of business and education experience, she builds peace and abundance by connecting the 3P's of Passion, Purpose and Performance through process improvement. She is one of the first national certified facilitators for America's Rising Stars and includes this tool to create positive ROI driven results for youth in grades 6th-14th, parents, teachers and schools both private and public. Leanne believes we need to stop setting our young people up for failure. As co-author of M.A.G.I.C.A.L. Potential:Living an Amazing Life Beyond Purpose to Achievement (June 2005 release), she speaks nationally to a variety of audiences. Contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or [email protected] if you are seeking amazing results.

Copyright 2005 Leanne Hoagland-Smith, http://www.processspecialist.com

Permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way (grammatical corrections accepted).

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

On Politics: Trump Supports a Rewrite of Mandatory Sentencing Laws
New York Times
Good Thursday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today. • President Trump threw his support behind a substantial rewrite of the nation's prison and sentencing laws on Wednesday, opening a potential path to ...

and more »

Forbes

Bipartisan Politics Alive And Well At The SEC
Forbes
These days, it's hard to find people working together, toward a common cause that will make life better for millions of people. But that's exactly what we've seen recently at the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC has been actively engaged in ...


CNN

On Politics: Democrats Continue to Gain as More Midterm Races Are Finalized
New York Times
Good Wednesday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today. • What seemed like a mixed midterm result for the G.O.P. has turned more grim as Democrats continue to pick up seats in the House and narrow the ...
14 key political trends from the 2018 exit pollsCNN
Sen. Mitch McConnell: Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?Fox News

all 4,887 news articles »

Washington Post

'Tribalism' doesn't explain our political conflicts
Washington Post
Alarmed by the conflicts in U.S. society and politics today, the tribunes of tribalism yearn for a mythic past when Americans set their differences aside and largely got along with each other. For Sullivan, this is “roughly the century after the Civil ...


The Hill

Rubio defends '3 point kick' analogy: 'You think everyone who follows politics knows what a field goal is?'
The Hill
... retracts concession in Florida governor's race MORE (R-Fla.) is defending his use of the phrase "3 point kick" to make a football analogy while discussing Florida's midterm elections, asking "you think everyone who follows politics knows what a ...
As recount politics heat up, two Florida election officials are the targets of online harassmentWashington Post
Counting Every VoteNew York Times
Florida recount: Political, legal fights overtake vote counting processPolitico

all 7,459 news articles »

Express.co.uk

'Let him do AMERICAN politics' Macron attacks Trump as tensions SOAR
Express.co.uk
He said: “I think Donald Trump is doing American politics and so I let him do American politics … I'm not going to hold a debate with the president of the United States on Twitter.” His response was more tight-lipped than his spokesman's, Benjamin ...

and more »

Fox News

Politics on late night: 'Daily Show' pokes fun at Nancy Pelosi, predicts 'subpoena hell' for President Trump
Fox News
“The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah took a playful jab Wednesday night at possible new House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday night for celebrating a “new day in America” on Election night, saying there's nothing “new” about her being in charge ...

and more »

USA TODAY

Kim Kardashian West: Kanye drawn more to Donald Trump's personality than his politics
USA TODAY
In fact, she said West is "very not political, actually. He just happens to like Donald Trump's personality but doesn't know about the politics," adding, "He will always say he was friendly with (Trump) before, and he's the same person and friendly ...
Kim Kardashian Says Kanye West 'Doesn't Know About the Politics' After His Meeting With TrumpEntertainment Tonight
Kim Kardashian: My husband likes Trump's personality, but 'doesn't know about the politics'The Hill (blog)
Kim Kardashian: I Had To 'Educate' Kanye West On Politics After He Supported Donald TrumpHollywood Life
BuzzFeed News
all 131 news articles »

BBC News

Volatile UK politics could bin Brexit deal, worries EU
BBC News
Ashen-faced European diplomats haunt the corridors of Brussels. No sleep for them until Sunday 25 November - the day slated (for now) for the "seal the deal" Brexit summit between Theresa May and EU leaders. So what do they have to do between now and ...
Brexit: Rees-Mogg calls for vote of no confidence in May as ministers resign – Politics liveThe Guardian

all 8,251 news articles »

Vox

Why racist politics appeals to white women, explained by American history
Vox
“What is wrong with white women?” Moira Donegan asked at the Guardian after last week's midterm elections. “Why do half of them so consistently vote for Republicans, even as the Republican party morphs into a monstrously ugly organization that is ...

and more »
Google News

Why the United States just doesnt get the United Nations

For years I have been amazed as I've listened to... Read More

Discount Cigarettes and Cheap Tobacco from Europe to the UK

It never fails to amaze me. HM Customs and Excise... Read More

Global Entrepreneurs, Mining and Raw Materials

There are many mines around the world, which are owned... Read More

Peace in the Middle East

Peace in the Middle East - whoa that is a... Read More

Was Pakistan a British Creation?

The furore in the BJP camp in India, triggered by... Read More

The Public Is Enemy Number One

There is something egregiously wrong about a government that will... Read More

Franchising Democracy and Creating Cohesive World Government

There are so many problems with our perceived perfect checks... Read More

Biz Op Marketing and the Federal Trade Commission

Many had made mention of the problems of business opportunities... Read More

Affirmative Inaction

One of Abraham Lincoln's claims to fame is the fact... Read More

Liberal Agenda and Communism; Lance Rants

If we go hog wild towards the liberal agenda where... Read More

US Social Security - Is President Bush A Robin Hood After All?

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a report... Read More

The Self-Appointed Altruists

Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock.... Read More

The Macedonian Lottery

Every conflict has its economic moments and dimensions. The current... Read More

Workmens Compensation Lawyers, Lets Raise Minimum Wage; No Lets Not, Say We Did, We Have

The debate to raise minimum wage in California is totally... Read More

Should Judgeships Be a Political Event?

Thought of the day; Questions about the judicial system. If... Read More

The US Government; Under Sarbaines Oxley

Sarbaines Oxley was probably the easiest way to destroy free... Read More

End Of History? Not Quite

A visitor to Moscow would be immediately struck by the... Read More

Smelter Closures In America Hurt Our Industrial Output

The United States is losing its industrial capacity quite rapidly.... Read More

Problems in the Media

I am noticing an increasing and alarming rate to which... Read More

An Environmental Voting Guide for US State Elections

In these times when states are suffering extreme downward pressure... Read More

Bio Attack Nation Unready

We are told by out leadership that we risk loss... Read More

Economics and Politics of Regional Droughts

It cities across America water is an issue, the flow... Read More

Should the Government Compensate the Clients of TAT?

This, of course, is a political decision. There is no... Read More

Steel Import Tariff Taxes Hurt Industry, Not Help Them

US Steel prices have cost franchisees in my company and... Read More

TABOR: The Growing Taxpayer Bill of Rights Movement and Economic Incentives for Industry

A governing.com report blast one of the major grassroots initiatives... Read More