To: Board of Directors December 11, 1995
Partnerships in Education
From: Leon L. Hulett, PE
Standards Committee, STW
775-3560 or 263-7076
Proposed Written Standards for Parents, Students, and Schools based on recommendations from Industry to assure a solid foundation for Reading, Writing and Arithmetic for use in life, utilizing a standards board to establish mutual agreements with parents, students and teachers to use the standards.
Outline of standards presentation:
* Why should we recommend changing the Standards we are using now?
* What do we mean by Standards?
* What Standards are being recommended?
* What current conditions are to be improved by these recommendations?
* How will these recommendations be implemented and assessed?
* What is the Board of Directors being asked to do?
* Recognize that these simple standards can be used by the Board as a primary means to accomplish it's vision statement. Also, to recognize that if these standards are not used the likelihood of achieving our vision is remote.
* Authorize a formal program to organize, fund and implement this standards activity. The current grant provides for these activities.
* Authorize the formation of a STW standards board to implement the use of these standards.
* Authorize the presentation of this standards program to school boards, superintendents and parents in the Wexford-Missaukee district as the primary focus to achieve success with school-to-work objectives.
Why should we recommend changing the Standards we are using now?
* More that half of our high school graduates are unprepared to enter the workforce. U.S. Secretary of Labor -1994
* More than two-thirds of our high school graduates are not proficient readers. U.S. Secretary of Education -1995
* The U.S. ranks 49th in the World in Reading.
U.S Department of Education
* Half our Math students drop out of math each year.
National Educational Assessment Program (NEAP)
* 95 percent of high school graduates do not have a 12th grade skill level in math. National Educational Assessment Program (NEAP)
* The U.S. ranks last in the Top 15 Industrialized Nations in Math and Science. U.S Department of Education
* 4 1/2 percent nationally and 9 percent locally of our students apply themselves to study so poorly they have been labelled with an "attention deficit" medical condition."U.S Department of Education/Cadillac School Board"
Young people applying for work do not know how to do useful things in the work place that they can receive a good income for doing, have little formal knowledge of how to learn these useful abilities, are not familiar with a work or results oriented environment and have apparently been educated with little intention of applying knowledge to the adult world, raising a family or the world of work. Based on the assessment test results above these young people can look forward to failure, humiliation and domination by others in the international community unless we do something now.
One method of assessment used in industry is to look at how much you benefit by something and then compare that to how much it will cost you. This is called a Cost/Benefit Analysis. Let's do a Cost/Benefit Analysis for the successful student compared to the unsuccessful student.
In the past if a student was successful he or she could look forward to making a good living and providing well for his or her family and community. Historically this means a young person could expect to benefit from his or her education and make between $500,000 and $1 million dollars in their lifetime. This means this person contributed to or benefitted the community by this amount.
Now let's take as an example one of the 4 1/2 percent nationally or 9 percent locally students that apply themselves to study so poorly they have lots of problems at school and at home with their families and have been labeled as attention deficit. It will cost someone about $500.00 to get this diagnosis, cost someone about $1250 per year for drugs and cost someone about $1250 per year for doctors and other treatment. It will cost a lot more to educate this person and the odds are about 70% that this person will continue on to be an "attention deficit" adult and go on social services. Social Security currently accepts this disorder as a basis for lifetime disability of such people. Now this person over the course of his life will COST the community at least $500,000 instead of benefiting himself or the community financially!
So the benefit of the student that studies well to the community (Asset) is at least $500,000.00 and the cost to the community (Liability) of a student that doesn't study well is at least $500,000.00. Very simply, this means that it is worth $1 million dollars to the community if each student studies well. Another way to look at this is that the Net Worth of the community can change, go up or down by $1 million for each student depending on how successful the student is. "Attention deficit" means 1 million dollars "Deficit" for each student from the viewpoint of the community.
Now let's take Cadillac Public Schools with about 200 students in this "attention deficit" category. This means 200 million dollars long term to the community. The whole school budget is only $20 million per year, but the liability of just these "attention deficit"
students is ten times this amount all by itself. How many new "attention deficit" students will there be next year? How many of the students are close to this level, performing very poorly, but just not quite legally "attention deficit".
The Standards presented below are specifically targeted to correct this condition and those listed in a section below. The Standards are intended as a foundation beneath Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Like a brick from the foundation of a building has standards that must be met before the brick is formed, while it is formed and after it is formed, these standards are to be used by the student as he or she studies, as the education that will come with them to the marketplace or to their families and communities is formed.
What do we mean by Standards?
"A standard is a definite level of quality suitable for a specific purpose."
The Statement of Purpose per the Cadillac School To Work (STW) Meeting Minutes of April 18, 1995 is:
"The vision and purpose of the School-To-Work Implementation Plan will be to provide all young people with the vital skills they will need to make a successful transition from school to the adult world and the world of work."
Let's take this specific purpose and the definitions of "study" and "student" to illustrate the use of standards to solve basic problems. A key part of the STW purpose is "to provide all young people with the vital skills..." This purpose is beyond the scope of the definitions for study and student currently used in our schools. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines study, "to apply the mind to acquire knowledge and skill." Modern dictionaries just say "to apply the mind to acquire knowledge."
Modern dictionaries define student as, "one who studies." A more complete definition for our purpose would be based on our more complete definition of study and emphasizing skills, "A STUDENT is one who studies. A STUDENT is an attentive and systematic observer. A STUDENT is one who reads in detail in order to learn and then apply. As a STUDENT studies he know that his purpose is to understand the materials he is studying by reading, observing, and demonstrating so as to apply them to a specific result. He connects what he is studying to what he will be doing." These two definitions provide a definite level of quality and improvement in quality that meets our STW purpose. Note that without these standards in place our STW purpose is very likely to fail.
Let's take these two definitions and consider incorporating them as our first two Standards. When should students be exposed to these Standards? Should we give them to students after 13 years of school when they arrive on the job? After Reading, Writing and Arithmetic have been taught for some time? Or, should we present these carefully, as the first subject, before they begin the study of other subjects? Or, as soon as possible, so they might use them while studying all other subjects from then on? What might be the result if this information, these Standards, were not given to students? Do you think they might "just study for the test", that is for knowledge only, and not be interested in spending the time to develop useful skills? Why bother to connect what they are studying with what they will be doing if no one is expecting them to do that? What if this information had never been given to teachers? Would they be preparing students for tests only or to acquire skills that can be used in life and emphasizing how to learn skills and to practice skills to perfect them? What might be the result if this information were given to students as something very important, to use continuously, to agree upon with family and teachers, to be assessed at this level, as Standards of Excellence?
What Standards are being recommended?
* The definition of the word study: To apply the mind to acquire knowledge and skill.
The purpose of this Standard is to assure that each student knows that acquiring skills is what he or she is supposed to be doing when they study. This is the intention of a student. That he or she does study with this intention and that he or she does have the required skills after being educated in them and that these skills can be assessed by other standards and shown to exist. The student must arrive at the workplace and everywhere in life with the knowledge and skills he or she was trained in.
It is estimated that more than half of the possible gain from any subject is involved with the "discipline of application", not just what some information is or why, but how you apply it, how you use it. If this area is not taught the student will miss more than half of what is available to be learned and gained in each subject.
How will this Standard be assessed? Ask the student, "What is the definition of the word "study." The student should give you this exact definition instantly, without having to think about it or alter it. Ask the student to demonstrate how this definition can be used to improve his studies or things he wants to pursue in life. He should be able to demonstrate this easily. Ask the student application type questions about this area, for example "How would a student educated without this definition apply knowledge to life and achieve a high standard of living?" The student must present evidence that he has used this standard successfully. If this test were given to current public school students what would be the result? Parents, Industry, higher education, and the community must observe and assure that these students are now actually learning what is needed.
How will this Standard be used? The student, parents, tutors and teachers will learn this definition and its uses in a basic study course or during tutoring. The student will look for skills, abilities and uses in what is studied and estimate the time and amount of practice needed to attain these skill levels and the value of attaining these levels of quality. The student should understand that his ability to be responsible for and in control of any situation will depend on the knowledge, practiced skills and intentions he brings to the situation. If a student shows obvious signs of not understanding and is not using this Standard such as, "Well the dictionary says study means to acquire knowledge only, not to acquire skills or to practice or to actually think about using it!", that student should be retrained on this Standard. What would be observed if a parent did not know how to use this standard? If a teacher did not know how to use this standard?
* The definition of the word student: A STUDENT is one who studies. A STUDENT is an attentive and systematic observer. A STUDENT is one who reads in detail in order to learn and then apply. As a STUDENT studies he knows that his purpose is to understand the materials he is studying by reading, observing, and demonstrating so as to apply them to a specific result. He connects what he is studying to what he will be doing.
The purpose of this Standard is to assure that each student has a complete definition of what it means to be a student and what it is that a student does, why they do all these things and to assure that each student does these things. Most importantly it is to assure that each student achieves the knowledge and skill to conceive high personal and social goals and then is fully empowered to achieve them.
How will this Standard be assessed? Ask the student, "What is the definition of the word "student." The student must be able to give this definition without hesitation or alteration. Ask the student to demonstrate how they can use each part of this definition to improve their studies. The student must be able to do this easily without hesitation. The student must present evidence that they have used this standard.
How will this Standard be used? The student, parents, tutors and teachers will learn this definition and its uses in a basic study course or during tutoring of the student. If the student shows obvious signs of not understanding and is not using this Standard in their studies then they must be retrained on this Standard. The student using this Standard should be observed by parents, teachers and industry people.
* The definition of the word goal: A known objective toward which an action is directed with the intention of achieving that end.
The purpose of this Standard is to clarify the definition of the word goal. In many dictionaries goal is defined in terms of the words "purpose" or "aim." Then the words "purpose" and "aim" are defined in terms of the word "goal." This is very confusing to the student because none of these concepts were actually defined in a way that is comprehensible. Often the difference between goal and purpose is not made clear and sometimes the actual intention to achieve the goal is dropped out.
* The definition of the word purpose: The lesser goal applying to specific activities or subjects.
The purpose of this Standard is to clarify the definition of the word purpose. In many dictionaries it is confused with the word goal and it is not made clear that the word purpose is usually used for specific activities or subjects and the word goal is used for broad, long term and general objectives. Both words inherently contain the idea of an intention to actually achieve something as opposed to a thought or bright idea that is merely conceived or formed with no real intention of doing whatever it takes to achieve it or no real action or energy are planned as a means to achieve it.
How will this Standard be used? The student will learn this definition in a basic study course or during tutoring. If the student is seen to have difficulty organizing things or having difficulty with these subjects then they should be retrained on this Standard.
Studying with a purpose. If the student has no use or purpose for what he or she is studying it will be senseless. If the student studies with "for the test" as the only motivation, the student will not be able to apply the material to life, to what he or she will be doing in the future, such as assuring a high standard of living for himself, his family and community. He will not practice and develop skills.
The purpose of this Standard is to assure that each student will be thoroughly trained in how to have his own purposes for study, how to connect what he is studying to what he will be doing, know why he is studying, knows how to use what he is studying in some meaningful and useful ways (skills), know what the skills are that are used when applying this knowledge to useful things. This standard is also for teachers and parents in terms of what their expectations are for the student. Instead of just looking for Grade Point Average (GPA), look at what this student is doing, what new skills are being used? What can he do with what he is learning? It might be important for the parent or teacher to ask the student "why?" Isn't it more important to know that the student already knows to do this routinely and is doing it? When the parent or teacher hears something like, "I'll never use this!" "Why should I do this?" A very loud bell should go off! This person doesn't have a purpose for what they are studying.
How will this Standard be assessed? When a student studies in this way he will be able to use what is studied and the student will have this as a skill. When a student does not study this way the student will not have application of the information as an intention and as a skill. To assess this Standard you just ask the student "How can you use this information?" If the resulting answer shows the ability to use the information and demonstrates that obviously the student has been studying with purposes in mind for this information then he passes. If he responds with a shrug or I don't know or shows you studying for a test or to be able to use it in the future or some other vague response then he doesn't have his own purposes for studying the material and should be retrained on this Standard then retrained on the material he was studying.
How will this Standard be used? The student will learn this definition in a basic study course or during tutoring. If the student is observed by a parent, teacher or industry person to be studying without a purpose or having a use for what is being studied or can not answer application type questions about information that was studied then they should be retrained on this Standard, including why they felt it was OK not to do it. Then they should restudy all the materials that were not studied with this Standard fully applied.
* Studying with the idea, "There is something there to study.". The first barrier to study is "when you think you know all about it already." If the student believes or has the idea that "he or she knows all about the subject already" that student should know that he or she is preventing himself or herself from getting involved with and learning the subject. This standard is to assure that each student is thoroughly trained in the consequences and use of this barrier to study and avoids having trouble with it in all his future studies. When a parent or teacher, or the student for that matter, hears, "Ah mom, I already know all about that." That very loud bell should go off and someone should realize, "This person doesn't know that there is something here to study!!!" It's not that it's not important to him or to you, it's that he has a fixed idea, "that he knows all about it already" and can't learn it. It's like a disorder, it's a barrier, it's solid until you learn what causes it and handle it. Then it's very easy indeed. The student has to realize for himself, "There is something there to study."
* The only reason a person becomes confused or unable to learn is that he or she has gone past a word that was not understood. This is another barrier to study and the most important barrier to study and it causes by far the most problems. This is the most important of these Standards. This is the primary reason for students failing to participate fully when studying a subject. This is the primary reason students do not have the ability to apply what they learned in school to life. This is the primary reason for a lot of things. There are certain physiological things that happen to the student when he hits this barrier and there are very specific ways to correct them. This standard is to assure that students are thoroughly trained to avoid becoming unable to learn or to correct the situation in themselves and others if it occurs. Application of this one standard should eliminate "attention deficit" conditions. The student must be trained to detect when he or she goes blank and correct it instantly, to detect when they do not understand and correct it, to detect when physiological phenomenon unique to this barrier occur and to correct them, to understand that leaving or dropping a subject is almost always a result of this barrier to study, and that this condition should be corrected. The student using this Standard should be able to recognize instantly when someone is stuck in this barrier to study.
* Studying a subject without the actual mass of the subject present is very hard on the student. This is another barrier to study. If the student does not know about and apply this Standard he or she will experience a whole set of physiological symptoms from just this one thing. The students will feel heavy, bent, twisted, squashed, sort of spiny (dizzy, as if one were spinning). It can make him or her feel sort of dead, bored and exasperated. These symptoms are quite unique to just this one thing, the absence of mass while studying. The solution to this barrier to study is to supply the mass. If you are studying about tractors you could go look at and touch some tractors, or some pictures of tractors, or some movies about tractors, or make some models of tractors and their uses. The student would then feel OK again and usually brightens up remarkably when this is done. This standard is to assure that the student is thoroughly trained in the use of this technology to avoid these symptoms and to correct them in himself or herself and others if they do occur.
* Present evidence of using the technology. If the student knows that he or she can apply the knowledge to be learned, has learned the skills required and presents evidence of this knowledge and these skills to someone, such a Standards Board, and they accept it, we have reached our goal and accomplished the purpose of the STW above. This is how we can assess whether these other Standards have succeeded. There is currently no other standard that provides this result.
The definition of the word standard: "A standard is a definite level of quality suitable for a specific purpose."
The purpose of this standard is to clarify the definition, importance and use of these standards for the student. Let's take as an example a person who has the purpose "to drive a car." The person might have ideas and knowledge about driving and about cars, he might have a high purpose such as saving a life, he might be saving money for or have money for a car, but to actually drive a car, to actually accomplish this specific purpose he definitely needs a car. So for this example a car is a definite requirement, a definite level of quality for this specific purpose. Now to actually drive this car, the car has to be of a definite level of quality, it has to go down the road. It doesn't have to be pretty and it doesn't have to be fast, it just has to go down the road. Now comparing this to something in education, testing this person 4 or 7 or 11 years later to see if he has "a car" is not a very good way to assess this purpose.
If our purpose is see that students have the skills to be successful, all the knowledge and the good intentions and all the money in the world will not do it. Students knowing while they are learning that they are also learning skills, not just knowledge is definitely required. Having the skills to learn how to be successful are definitely needed. Parents and teachers learning and having skills, not just knowledge, are also needed. We can not accomplish this purpose without these things.
How will this Standard be used? Students, parents, tutors and teachers will thoroughly learn the use of these standards on basic study courses or during tutoring or be referred to them during study if they are not being used. Students must present evidence of using this and the other standards.
How will this Standard be assessed? The student himself, a parent, or tutor or teacher may ask for this definition and its use. The student must give the exact definition and be able to demonstrate its use in a variety of situations.
Administration of these Standards. Parents, teachers, students, administrators and School Board members using these Standards must be thoroughly trained in the use of these Standards. Persons using these Standards and responsible for the use of these Standards must present evidence that they have personally used these standards successfully and do achieve the expected results administering these Standards.
If you had to make the choice, to hire a High School Graduate with a 4.0 GPA to run your company, what are the chances they will have the skills and the ability to do this? What if you could examine the evidence of a person educated with the above Standards, understanding, using and demonstrating their knowledge and skills, doing exactly the things you need to have done? But this person has no GPA information. Wouldn't it be a very easy choice?
What current conditions are to be improved by these recommendations?
The inability to apply knowledge in useful ways in school, at work and throughout one's life.
The inability to learn useful skills in school, on the job and throughout life.
The 50 percent failure rate per year in Math.
Difficulties in learning Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
Not knowing how to study.
Having a low standard of living due to not having the skills needed to learn well.
High School Graduates and College Graduates with poor Math knowledge and skills.
The inability to read comfortably and easily.
The inability to write well, comfortably and easily.
The inability to use numbers and quantities easily.
The inability to recognize instantly when someone has become unable to learn and to correct the situation.
Students going blank and feeling "not-there", including going blank on whole subjects.
Students feeling ill, squashed, heavy, bent, and sick-to-the-stomach while studying and because of study.
Students loss of memory of what was studied.
Students holding their heads because of heavy feelings, feeling twisted, bent and sort of dead.
Students feeling there is no sense studying or reason to apply themselves.
Students lack of participation in subjects.
Students not presenting evidence that they have successfully used the information they have studied.
Students not receiving confirmation for having put what they learned to a worthwhile use.
Students not knowing how to study well enough to compete successfully internationally.
Low scores on standardized tests.
Students being taken out of the mainstream of life and forced into permanent disability.
And a lot of others.
How will these recommendations be implemented and assessed?
Various ways to implement these Standards have been suggested.
It is believed these are the most important factors:
What will it cost to implement? Also, it should be appreciated, what will be the cost if we do not implement them.
Management approval of plans.
How will the Standards address assessment?
Some suggestions have been:
Hand them to the Superintendent of each school and ask them if they are interested, and how could they be implemented.
It is believed that this would force Superintendents into a position of having to make a quick decision without having the knowledge of what the consequences might be.
Why not just give students a study course?
This would not directly influence, parents, teachers, curriculum, assessment, management and ongoing industry concerns with quality.
Why not just include a description of how to learn or study in a Study Planner?
It is granted that inclusion in a Planner is a good idea but a respect for the high potential value of these very basic ideas demands a more thorough handling of this technology.
This is the suggested Implementation Plan at this time:
The basic plan is to establish a Standards Board of parents, business, industry and educational professionals to administer the activity or possibly just the local School Board if that is acceptable. This board then works with Champions within the school system, National Honors Society, students, parents and teachers to come to an agreement (Contract) to use these Standards.
1) Present this Implementation Plan to school Superintendents and School Board Members for review and approval.
2) Ask if one of them would be willing to "Champion" this effort in their school.
3) Have the "Champion" coordinate with the National Honors Society, Curriculum Committee, School Improvement Committee and others that might be interested. Also this person will calculate the costs for books, courses and other items at that school and present to the School Board for approval.
4) Local School Board approval of funding for study materials and in-service training based on detail plan from Champion.
5) The local school Champion asks the National Honors Society for student volunteers to be trained at school expense in these principles of how to study, how to tutor people successfully with this technology and how to train others.
6) These Trainers then train other students, parents and staff, and tutor other students, parents and staff.
7) A person from the Standards Board meets with parents of students, students, tutors and teachers to reach and agreement and sign a contract that they will train on the Standards, use the Standards and present evidence that they have acquired the knowledge and skills required.
8) This person from the Standards Board will seek and acquire interested parents and industry people to provide sufficient volunteer staff for the Standards Board.
9) The Standards Board keeps the Contracts and evidence of use and provides an acceptance or confirmation letter to the family of the student and the student successfully completing something in accordance with the Standards. This is a letter from an independent Standards Board like the Board of Professional Engineers certifying that the student has completed the Standard Requirements. Many colleges could accept this type of credential right now. Most industries would value this level of quality in credentials above others.
What Standards are we using now?
Grade Point Average (GPA) and Letter Grades: Most parents, schools and businesses use this as the primary indicator of success in school. If the student has a 4.00 GPA, this is considered tops. For most children if they get a C that's good enough, no one is really going to bother them much.
Endorsements based on GPA: Honor Roll, Deans List, Valedictorian, Salutatorian,
High School Diploma: Most of the Armed Forces, Colleges and many businesses will not take you if you do not meet this standard.
General Educational Development Test (GED): Similar to High School Diploma.
Skill Certificates: Required for certain specialized jobs.
Associates Degree: Required for certain careers.
College Degree: Many people won't listen to you seriously unless you have a College Degree. Most businesses will not hire you as a professional without a college degree.
State License: Required for teachers and other professionals. Required to enforce certain contracts.
School Attended: Many businesses will hire only from certain schools, like Harvard or MIT.
Scores on Standard Tests: SAT, ACT, MEAP, NEAP, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and others.
Endorsements based on standard tests: State Endorsed Diploma, National Merit Scholarships,
Recognition for completing other things: Grade Level, making the team, Continuing Education Units (CEUs), staying in school, and extra credit.
General Educational Development Test (GED): Similar to High School Diploma.
Skill Certificates: Required for certain jobs.