Fordham’s Petrilli and Pondiscio are political lapdogs !

Don’t shoot the test-score messenger, Delaware Michael J. Petrilli & Robert Pondiscio Michael J. Petrilli and Robert Pondiscio are president and vice president, respectively, of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and fathers of school-aged children.

First it’s important to remember why so many states started down this path in the first place. Under federal law, every state must test children every year in grades three through eight and once in high school to ensure they are making progress. That’s a good idea. Parents deserve to know if their kids are learning, and taxpayers are entitled to know if the money we spend on schools is being used wisely.

Petrilli and Pondiscio are stretching the facts. “Federal law” in this case only applies to states who accept federal grants particularly Title 1. There is no federal law arbitrarily requiring such testing.

Political lapdogs Petrilli and Pondiscio says nothing about how Arne Duncan blew in Obama’s ear to allow him to deface NCLB and Title 1 section 1118 via NCLB Waivers.  The rights of Title 1 parents have been high-jacked to point they are not partners in decision-making. Parents are indoctrinated in education agendas after the fact such as in the case of Race to The Top, Commons Core Standards and The Smarter Balanced Assessment.  

All this talk about college ready is a smoke screen! If we can’t get those below the achievement-gap particularity minority student “high school ready.” There is now way we’ll see them going to college.

Federally grant money via NCLB Waivers allows states and schools to that money for all students beyond the intended target group, high poverty students. We went from targeted assistance, to school wide and now for come on, come all. 

The Common Core should help to boost college readiness – and college completion – by significantly raising expectations, starting in kindergarten. But we shouldn’t be surprised that Delaware found that less than half of its students are “on track” for college. In fact, that’s what we should expect. Parents, in other words, are finally learning the truth.

The truth is , there is profit in poverty when it comes to K-12 education. All the money pissed away of new political laced public education agendas via testing and purchasing new education material from the test makers could be better served adding more teachers and paraprofessionals in high poverty schools. Why fix the problem at the root cause when it harms profiteers?


8 responses to “Fordham’s Petrilli and Pondiscio are political lapdogs !

  1. Kilroy,

    I could not agree more with your conclusion about the importance of “root cause”.

    In 1983, Dr. Deming met with a small group of school superintendents
    to share his “systems thinking” and in 1983, he published “Out of Crisis”
    that sheds light on a path forward thru organization improvement to transformation. The Superintendents found this thinking style
    counterintuitive and foreign and, as they say, the rest is history.

    Last month, in a conference call with our state-level quality partners in Missouri, a former school superintendent and state board of education member acknowledged that neither “systems thinking” nor continuous improvement is taught in the schools of education.

    Hark, there is good news as several schools of education are revising
    their curriculum to address this critical (1983 to present) gap.

    For example: in Delaware:
    – Wilmington University prepares more education leaders than all other schools in education leader preparation and has not responded to this growing opportunity; How will we improve education without this
    important learning center?
    – University of Delaware is well aware of NCCVT’s (state-level) Baldrige
    Award recipient in 1994 as well as our work in Milford schools in 2000
    and sporadic approaches in Red Clay, Seaford, Christina and others.
    Perhaps this longitudinal successful framework will be recognized
    by incoming SecED Dr. Godowski, since he benefitted from the success
    of NCCVT as the successor to Dr. Dennis Loftus.
    – The Delaware (state-level) Quality Program has been refreshed after
    being terminated in 2009, after a successful run from 1993 to 2009, and,
    at one point, we had over 500 quality volunteers available to provide technical assistance to: manufacturers, small business, service, government / non-profit, health care, and education with NO or LOW
    cost assistance, guidance, and support. In 2012, I was asked to help,
    – as an unpaid volunteer – refresh this critical program.

    The “root cause” and other quality tool boxes are available to Delaware
    Education and others, and perhaps as the political agenda adjust,
    leaders will see the value of no longer merely “re-arranging the deck
    chairs on the Titanic” and seek to improve and transform education
    in order to have a school recognized in the top 1000 per the U.S. News
    and World Report – the top ranked Delaware school is #1041. We
    are surrounded by states that continue to deploy root cause analysis
    and other quality tools in their quest for excellence journeys

    In the next few weeks, we will learn of the 2015 Baldrige applicants –
    4 in Education, 11 in Health Care – with the prospect of an
    Education Award recipient favorable. My colleagues in the National
    Alliance of Performance Excellence agree that this may represent
    a “Tipping Point” and, after 15 years, ignite interest nationally.

    Let’s hope so. Continuous improvement is a process and root cause analysis is essential to authentic efforts for improvement; We stand
    ready to assist SecED Godowski, College and University presidents
    and other state leaders. The 2016 annual quality cycles is underway!


    • lastDEconservative

      Don Q.,
      Prithee, how many of the how many states that are actually (and I mean actually, truly, seriously, measurably, and verifiably) using such tools as root cause analysis, continuous improvement, etc., let alone the whole Baldridge shmear, are headed by conservative governors/legislatures v. liberal/progressive/socialist governors/destroyers as we have here in the People’s Republic?


  2. -last,

    More states that I can identify. Since 2000: MD, IL, IN, TX, NM, OH, SC,
    MO, AK, CA, MA, NJ, PA, MI, WI, NC, IW, CO, OK, KY, NY, VT, VA, MN, and over 2500 high performing schools deploy the Baldrige education framework.

    Yes, Delaware has responded differently and has not participated in the American Society for Quality’s National Quality Education Conference in over 20 years; Perhaps that would be a good first step? In 2014, we celebrated with 31 states and 6 countries.

    BTW, the tilting has ceased as last months workshop at a DE school
    was successful…continuous improvement and transformation has begun.

    I ‘m unsure as to the individual state leadership, politically. Thanks for your interest.


    • Greg, I’ve been reading your sales pitch for Baldridge for years… Let’s say I’m sold, how much does it cost me?


    • lastDEconservative

      R govs (not necessarily conservative), 14: MD, IL, IN, TX, NM, OH, SC, AK, NJ, MI, WI, NC, IW, OK

      D govs (demonstrably or most likely liberal, at best), 10: KY, CA, MA, NY, MN, CO, VA, MO, VT, PA

      The question remains, what are the comparative results in these 14 v. 10 states? What is the result of them signing on? I’m taking on faith that all 24 are in fact actually, truly, seriously, measurably, and verifiably using such tools as root cause analysis, continuous improvement, etc., currently.

      AND, okay, I’ll bite. What DE school is doing what transformative work where and how?


    • lastDEconservative

      I have no doubt why few (if any, really) are willing to go all in with such a thing … these are smart people, these destroyers in the governor’s mansions and their appointees, they know if they really truly dig out the truth (which they already know) and, God forbid, that truth gets out (simply stated, that truth is that the leviathan is the cause) they are all in deep kimchi. Their goal is to keep the truth under wraps, the control in their hands, and to keep those who they are supposed to serve in the dark and subservient.


  3. Break,

    In 2000, DOE, DSEA, DASA, and others invested $40K and in 2005, I’m told that another school district invested 50K; the former was recognized with the Lt. Gov. Carney Models of Excellence Award, the former doubled the reading proficiency. Sadly, when the program was terminated in 2009, it dismissed over 500 quality professional volunteers and “stuck a stick in the eye” to Kent and Sussex, in my opinion.

    For the 2016 annual quality cycle, Delaware is engaged in conversation with other state quality programs to offer the Baldrige framework at NO or Low cost in order to fulfill it’s mission as a public-private partnership. Recently,
    I accepted a low cost subscription fee to provide an educational organization
    with a proper start for their Quest for Excellence journey. This mirrors
    other states and keeps Delaware aligned with the annual quality cycle.

    We have come a long way from being overly dependent on consultants and
    make the first few years an easier on-ramp to the national program.

    – NO hospital or health care organization can access the Baldrige program without collaborating with the state-level quality program.
    – NO manufacturing organization can access these quality tools.
    – NO small and service business are stopped in their improvement efforts.
    – NO education organization will benefit from role model schools.
    I remain eager to help those advocating for job growth and wonder
    why they remain unsighted in this area.

    So, for you and your team…a complimentary introduction session via telephone; No cost / No obligation and ASAP.


  4. Last,

    To begin with, our partner organizations remain confidential.

    Secondly, while your research is laudable it overlooks that the
    Race to The Top was based upon the Baldrige Education recipient:
    Community Consolidated School District in IL and in competition
    with SecED Duncan’s City of Chicago.

    Indeed, history will show just how such an opportunity was developed.
    Remember the bumper sticker: if you think education is expensive; Try ignorance. There are several YouTube videos of Dr. Deming and
    V.P. Biden can be viewed awarding the Baldrige to several recipients.

    V. P. Biden, please accept our full endorsement; Delaware needs Baldrige!

    Thanks for your interest and my invitation hold until next Friday.