Saturday, May 21, 2011

Education - Billions of Dollars, Poor Results and No Outrage

In the late 1990's, former education Bill Bennett penned a book entitled The Death of Outrage. Even though this was a politically directed book, this title can be applied to many different situations especially public education.

Where is the outrage in public education? We hear about all the reasons why No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is bad and won't work, but the average American citizen is not hearing about the results or lack thereof that are happening each and every day throughout the elementary, middle schools, high schools and college classrooms.

Each year in conjunction with the Gallup organization, Phi Delta Kappa releases its poll of attitudes towards American public education. What is interesting to note is the yearly consistently high scores of A's or B's that respondents who are parents give their local schools. Yet, results from the Nation's Report card as well as another recently released study from American Institutes for Research show that these parents really don't know the "real story."

Here are some facts from a variety of sources that can be easily located using the Internet:

4 year bachelor's degree takes a minimum of 5.3 years to earn.
50% of college students take at least one remedial course
17 year olds have not gained one point in reading during the last 33 years.
Most soon to be college graduates lack the analytical ability to understand a credit card offer or compare the cost per ounce of food.
20% of college students could not estimate if they had enough gas to get to the a service station.
80% to 75% of surveyed adults believe that it somewhat likely to unlikely in securing a teacher with a 4 year college degree who is fully licensed or certified and knows the subject matter (the definition of highly qualified teacher under NCLB).
In 1998, less than 65% of 12th grade students understood the purpose of a tax table.
Between 1992 and 2005 national fourth grade reading score (NAEP)s went from 217 to 219 on a scale of 500.
Eighth grade scores in the same time frame went up 2 points from 260 to 262.
In 30 years, reading scores in grades 4th, 8th and 12th never exceeded 300 points on a scale of 500.(NAEP)
Urban school students still suffer from under-education despite increase of 50% in federal funding since 2000 where much of the federal dollars are directed.

A Thought: If we look at student performance from a simple analogy perspective, would you put your money in a bank that delivered less than a 5% return over the course of 33 years? Of course, not!
Every day we receive new information showing that despite the increase in funding from both states and federal governments (2004-05 school year is estimated at $536 billion for K-12 and another $373 billion for higher education), our spending is not achieving performance improvement when compared to nations that spend far less and achieve higher levels of student performance.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

University Business Case Study Choices for Your Team

Every year Universities assign students in their Business School projects. Come up with a business, make a business plan, develop a marketing plan and submit it to the class. This makes sense for students and professors and is an excellent way to learn.

Unfortunately these students will use deception to seek information for their project by pretending to be interested parties of goods or services of real companies in order to gain this information, without revealing they are actually students doing a research project. Although this goes on in the real world of competitive intelligence gathering it teaches the students bad and unethical traits, which they will use later in the real business world.

With corporate corruption at issue in the United States at least with regards to media and regulators, why are we allowing students to lie or looking the other way when we know they are doing this? So much for ethics; apparently the dishonesty is being taught in the liberal land of academics, the same schools, which pretend to teach ethics, foster unethical-ness. This should not be too surprising to anyone, yet it is indeed in need of being pointed out, thus this article.

Often a student will pretend to be a buyer of services or products to gain information while using their email address. Most smart business people know that these are bogus inquiries. When they come into our company we usually reply something like this:

"I see you are a student, graduate, administrator or professor at the University is this correct? If so, how long would it be before you choose to enter the industry? Or are you considering do a research project for school? If so what information do you need."

If they are an actual buyer then usually they will correct us and say; "No, I am seriously interested." Yet they often do this because they do not want to be caught in a lie, fabrication of truth or complete falsehood. So, we indicate, call us when you graduate. Then someone else on their "Business Class Team" will email us, always from the same area about a day or a day and a half later, this time more honest. We feel this is good as we are teaching them to be truthful while the Universities deal in lies allowing for dishonesty.

Recently such an email came through and it was; instead of matching the actual name of the submitted inquiry. This the name of the inquiry is probably incorrect and completely fabricated; a lie or AKA. Rather than get upset for these students wasting our time. We replied to this fake inquiry;

"Dear Sir, Your email address does not match your name. Why is this? "A Wakefield" could be a family name, thus there could be misdirection here for some purpose, which would be a tactical error, as you are asking for free information from us. Integrity is the best policy for our correspondence."

Further we asked them questions to make them work for their project, as our company is not interested in getting an "A" in their class as we are in the real world not the BS fantasy world with unethical students and professors who have never had to make a payroll in their lives for the most part; having never been in business. What about the students being used to collect information for a professor wanting to gather data to start his own company, you know this goes on too. Either way these students are going to have to work for it. So we sent these questions back to the students;

"What part of the car wash industry do you see yourself in or what part of the car wash industry are you doing a college project on? Full service car wash, flex serve, robotic, mobile or truck washing? All would be good in your current location or market. Do you see yourself leaving this area after graduation or in the future? Each region in the United States is slightly different and those differences have large effects on how one might strategize to maximize profits?"

Indeed this seems to work as we have not heard back a reply nor do we expect one. We believe this to be because not only are the students unethical and wish to take short cuts in their research and cheat, but that they are also completely lacking worth ethic and are basically lazy. I challenge the next up and coming university students to get off your asses and do your own work, learn all there is to learn and practice some of those ethics that your liberal skewed world in college so gallantly proclaims. Because I think it is appalling the lack of personal character these days in our Universities from the highly paid Professors to the students.