An Education Horror Show

The title is from a July 8, 2109 WSJ Opinion piece.

The NEA held its’ annual meeting recently with Democrat Presidential hopefuls parading, promising more money, more, more–except results. Money has gone up lots in 30 years and results have gone down. Did the NEA say, what is working, are we spending our money in such ways that the kids are improving? Nope.

They also didn’t talk about Providence, R.I., a bastion of progressive thinking in a state that leans progressive. A 93 page review by Johns Hopkins was brutal. “Very little visible student learning was going on in the majority of classrooms and schools we visited-most especially in the middle and high schools.” Policies discourage discipline. Grossly incompetent teachers stay on. Evergreen contracts. $18,000 per student in spending.

“This is government failure, underwritten by union power.”

The kids, our future are the victims.

We must create competition to government schools!

“Give and Take” by Adam Grant

Adam Grant is at Wharton, was the youngest tenured professor when he started.  He is a psychologist who has done some interesting work in what works in the business and personal world.

“Give and Take” was an enjoyable read, well researched with lots of stories illustrating his points. He talked about how we interact with others, classifying us as “Givers”, “Takers” and “Matchers.” Later in the book he provides resources to help us see who we are and methods to alter our interaction habits if desired. An effective “how to” book.

As a sales guy, a leader in a now large company, $6 Bn sales in North America, Latin America and Australia, I found the book very instructive to assist us in our goals to be more productive, effective and personally happy. I was pleased that some of the suggestions were habits I had developed (thanks USMC), others I wished I had developed.

The interesting take away was that “Givers” reside at the highest level of “success”, and the lowest. That declaration early in the book was counter-intuitive until the research and examples were detailed.

All can benefit from reading, reflecting and acting on the results. The last section was a gift, tools to help us change if so desired. Lots of books shine in research, etc. then leave us hanging on how to implement, not this one!

Trillion Dollar Coach

I just finished this book, written by three famous Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Bill Campbell is the subject and he circuitously ended up in the valley coaching many of the leaders of our tech world.

Starting out in football, not being very successful, he evolved when at IBM in marketing, he was involved with the ad at the super bowl, the woman throwing the sledge into the screen. He found his way to the valley running a couple of companies and then evolved into full time coaching.

He is characterized as outcome oriented, a sailors’ vocabulary, unwilling to pander to anyone, high integrity, compassionate and a giver-someone who gives more than he gets.

He made a bunch of money but coached kids’ sports, talked with everyone and made contacts with folks who at the time were not “important.”

He died of cancer in early 70’s, too bad, the book has mostly good lessons, along with some stuff that I can leave behind.  A relatively short read.