Let Me Think!

Recently, I read an article regarding Performance Funding for many of our Nation’s K-12 Schools and Community Colleges.   One continues to read that during a time of financial limitations we need to hold  the “Systems” accountable.   Accountability is a benchmark for success.  In addition a practice of fiscal prudence has always been important as the finite resources we have allocated toward learning have been limited.

The term Accountability, in most cases, equates to some form of measurement regarding a learner’s performance.  In “short” what has the learner – learned and how much did it cost?   Shortly, after WWII an American by the last name of Deming assisted the Japanese Government in rebuilding their public and private agencies.  Today, Deming is revered as a key in rebuilding the Japanese Economy.   The key components of Deming’s teachings were process, measurement and performance.

In the late 1960’s the United States Government selected a total of fifty  K-12 American Educators  to “remake” our school systems.   The fifty educators selected came  from various geographic regions throughout the country as well as a multitude of disciplines.  In a very competitive process I  was one of the fifty selected receiving a year and a half  of Graduate school with fees and living expenses paid   The funding for the program  was an allocation by Congress  under the American Defense Education Act.   The intent was to measure determined outcomes for both the learners and teachers.  We studied topics such  mathematics, measurement, PERT Charting, Functional Flow Block Diagrams, Performance Requirements etc.   During that time I remember being in a meeting with  group of visiting  Japanese Scholars  that came to the States to meet with “our group”.   In our conversation one of the  visiting Japanese Scholar’s  asked, why are you doing this?   He stated,  “ we came here to learn how you  encourage learners to be imaginative,  creative and innovative  The American Educational System and teachers have always excelled in those areas.  We know how to measure things.”

Accountability, cost effectiveness and performance are important but let us not lose sight on what we do well.

In this Autobiographical Notes, Albert Einstein writes, “ it is, in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of Inquiry.”

As it has always been, it is up to us.  All of us.

Author: Jim Pulliam, Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and Trainer. Email Jim.

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