Byron's Babbles

Eliminating Hoops & Hype in Education

Posted in Education, Education Reform, Learning Organization, Strategic Planning by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 16, 2014

IMG_0544.GIFI have had an absolutely incredible first day at the 2014 National Quality Education Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin put on by the American Society for Quality and the ASQ Education Division. I was excited to speak on my research of connecting school work to real life, but was more excited to hear the other speakers. Additionally, as always, I learned a great deal from visiting with the other program participants. This post is a compilation of my learning from the first half of the day. You can also check out my tweets from the day by using the hashtag #ASQEd or following my tweets at @ByronErnest.

The day started with Lee Jenkins as the keynote speaker. Lee is education’s expert in continuous improvement. He started by talking about removing the hoops and hype from education. Hoops were described as waste in a school’s time, money, and enthusiasm (staff and students). Hype is a change with no way of know if we’ve improved. The secret to removing hype, according to Jenkins, is to have baseline data to know if an intervention is working or not. Much of Jenkins thoughts on this come from the book: The Toyota Way To Continuous Improvement by Jeffrey Liker.

It is very important that we take an attitude of wanting to be superior to our former selves. If you think about this from a school improvement standpoint it makes perfect sense. We have a starting point and just need to keep getting better from there. Our goal here needs to be to outperform the year before. The secret to this improvement is root cause analysis. When you dig into root causes you find things you never expected to find. When we know the root causes we are able to remove what Jenkins calls “Blamestorming.”

Think about that term “Blamestorming.” We have all done it. We can blame the legislature, political leaders, school leaders, lack of time, too many standards, standardized tests, lack of money, too much money, too many programs, et cetera. But, these are not really root causes. We must dig down deep and find the root causes. Think about this question: Was it the reading program we purchased that improved reading, or the fact that the program required that we triple the amount of time spent reading every day? Think about that. If the root cause was needing to triple the amount of time reading we could have done that without any new program cost, professional development cost, or all the other woes that come with implementing a new program. It is why programs and initiatives don’t work – teachers do! That’s me talking there; not Jenkins.

Remember, if we eliminate the hoops and hype we can optimize our systems for our students and employees and optimize the delivery of our curriculum.

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