“Be good, or else” and “An ORSome”, May 27 edition

Date:     15 June 17

By:         Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
              2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON Canada        905 634 9538
For:        Editors, The Economist, London, UK
Re:         “Be good, or else” and “An ORSome”, May 27 edition
Dear Editors:
In a remarkable demo of aphorism, you have captured, in only a few lines within millimeters of each other, about three quarters of the aggressive populism (read: Trumpism) surrounding us, viz:
Traders have shown themselves ready not just to stretch the rules, but to collude in outright illegality.
 
– and:
 
The coalition of central bankers who developed he Common Reporting Standards is supported by a panel of industry participants.  The code of conduct’s 55 principles lay down international standards on a range of practices, from the handling of confidential information to the pricing and settlement of deals.
 
– and:
As the market has proved in the past, it is important not to underestimate the power of peer pressure to worsen behaviour as well as improve it.
 
– and:
Tax dodgers and their advisers are enterprising sorts, eager to clamber through the smallest loophole – and gaps in the “55 principles” in the Common Reporting Standard there are.
 
So, with the fox assiduously guarding the henhouse, the rest of us, the General Serfdom, can confidently forecast the results.
Frank Gue

News from the NEPC: Report Fails to Muster Evidence To Support School Improvement Strategies that Remove Democratic Control

From: Frank Gue [mailto:frank.gue@cogeco.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 12:45 PM
To: William Mathis <wmathis@sover.net>; gsunderman@umd.edunepcnews@gmail.com
Cc: Gue Frank <frank.gue@cogeco.ca>
Subject: Re: News from the NEPC: Report Fails to Muster Evidence To Support School Improvement Strategies that Remove Democratic Control

 

Date:      13 June 17

By:          Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,

2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5, Canada    905 634 9538

For:         Mr. Wm Mathis and Ms Gail Sunderman, NEPC

Re:          Measuring education results

 

Good day, William and Gail

 

Here are a citizen’s thoughts about the following sentence from your post (below), which reads:

 

It also relies on test score outcomes as the sole measure of success, thus ignoring other impacts these strategies may have on students and their local communities or the local school systems where they occur.

This warning appears repeatedly and predictably in statements by education apologists, some of whom, they should candidly acknowledge, fervently wish not to be measured at all.  As stated emphatically and publicly by one local (Burlington, ON) Supt of Ed, We will not use comparisons.  

OK then, lady, you will not improve your system, since improvement depends on comparison, which depends on measurement.

 

The educational enterprise as a whole should take to heart the motto of the Fraser Institute of Vancouver, BC, Canada:

If it matters, measure it.  We should start by agreeing, as I trust we can, that Education matters a whole lot.

 

I am a Professional Electronics Engineer (no, not an electrician, as many mistakenly think).  One definition:  An Engineer is one who believes in measurement, knows how to measure, measures, and abides by the result of the measurement whether they agree with his opinion or not.

 

My own aphorism, which springs from that definition and addresses the NEP’s dismissive reference to test scores, is:  The admitted inability to measure everything is not a valid excuse for measuring nothing.  And so, my good fellow educators, dismiss test scores if you feel you must, but you must then propose alternative specific, auditable measurements.

 

What are they?

 

Cheers,

 

Frank Gue,

Professional Engineer

 

On Jun 13, 2017, at 10:05 AM, National Education Policy Center <NEPC.NEWS@gmail.com> wrote:

 

Recent report provides little guidance for states considering improvement strategies for low-performing schools.

Report Fails to Muster Evidence to Support School Improvement Strategies that Remove Democratic Control

Key Review Takeaway: Recent report provides little guidance for states considering improvement strategies for low-performing schools.

 

Press Release: http://nepc.info/node/8706
NEPC Review: http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-ESSA-accountability
Report Reviewedhttp://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/publication/pdfs/03.30%20-%20Leveraging%20ESSA%20To%20Support%20Quality-School%20Growth_0.pdf

Contact:

William J. Mathis: (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
Gail L. Sunderman: (301) 405-3572, gsunderm@umd.edu

Learn More:NEPC Resources on Elementary and Secondary Education Act

BOULDER, CO (June 13, 2017) – A recent report offers a how-to guide for reform advocates interested in removing communities’ democratic control over their schools. The report explains how these reformers can influence states to use the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title I school improvement funds to support a specific set of reforms: charter schools, state-initiated turnarounds, and appointment of an individual with full authority over districts or schools.

Leveraging ESSA to Support Quality-School Growth was reviewed by Gail L. Sunderman of the University of Maryland.

While the report acknowledges that there is limited research evidence on the effectiveness of these reforms as school improvement strategies, it uses a few exceptional cases to explain how advocates seeking to influence the development of state ESSA plans can nevertheless push them forward.

As Sunderman’s review explains, the report omits research that would shed light on the models, and it fails to take into account the opportunity costs of pursuing one set of policies over another. It also relies on test score outcomes as the sole measure of success, thus ignoring other impacts these strategies may have on students and their local communities or the local school systems where they occur. Finally, and as noted above, support for the effectiveness of these approaches is simply too limited to present them as promising school improvement strategies.

For these reasons, concludes Sunderman, policymakers, educators and state education administrators should be wary of relying on this report to guide them as they develop their state improvement plans and consider potential strategies for assisting low-performing schools and districts.

Find the review by Gail L. Sunderman at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-ESSA-accountability

Find Leveraging ESSA to Support Quality-School Growth, by Nelson Smith and Brandon Wright, published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Education Cities, at:
https://edex.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/publication/pdfs/03.30 – Leveraging ESSA To Support Quality-School Growth_0.pdf

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) Think Twice Think Tank Review Project (http://thinktankreview.org) provides the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: http://nepc.colorado.edu

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Copyright © 2017 National Education Policy Center. All rights reserved.

Aggressive populism

Date:     15 June 17

By:         Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
              2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON Canada        905 634 9538
For:        Editors, The Economist, London, UK
Re:         “Be good, or else” and “An ORSome”, May 27 edition
Dear Editors:
In a remarkable demo of aphorism, you have captured, in only a few lines within millimeters of each other, about three quarters of the aggressive populism (read: Trumpism) surrounding us, viz:
Traders have shown themselves ready not just to stretch the rules, but to collude in outright illegality.
 
– and:
 
The coalition of central bankers who developed he Common Reporting Standards is supported by a panel of industry participants.  The code of conduct’s 55 principles lay down international standards on a range of practices, from the handling of confidential information to the pricing and settlement of deals.
 
– and:
As the market has proved in the past, it is important not to underestimate the power of peer pressure to worsen behaviour as well as improve it.
 
– and:
Tax dodgers and their advisers are enterprising sorts, eager to clamber through the smallest loophole – and gaps in the “55 principles” in the Common Reporting Standard there are.
 
So, with the fox assiduously guarding the henhouse, the rest of us, the General Serfdom, can confidently forecast the results.
Frank Gue

Measuring education results June 17

Date:      13 June 17
By:          Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
               2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5, Canada
                905 634 9538
For:         Mr. Wm Mathis and Ms Gail Sunderman, NEPC
Re:          Measuring education results
Good day, William and Gail

Here are a citizen’s thoughts about the following sentence from your post (below), which reads:

It also relies on test score outcomes as the sole measure of success, thus ignoring other impacts these strategies may have on students and their local communities or the local school systems where they occur.
This warning appears repeatedly and predictably in statements by education apologists, some of whom, they should candidly acknowledge,
fervently wish not to be measured at all.  As stated emphatically and publicly by one local (Burlington, ON) Supt of Ed, We will not use comparisons.  
OK then, lady, you will not improve your system, since improvement depends on comparison, which depends on measurement.
The educational enterprise as a whole should take to heart the motto of the Fraser Institute of Vancouver, BC, Canada:
If it matters, measure it.  We should start by agreeing, as I trust we can, that Education matters a whole lot.
I am a Professional Electronics Engineer (no, not an electrician, as many mistakenly think).  One definition:  An Engineer is one who believes in
measurement, knows how to measure, measures, and abides by the result of the measurement whether they agree with his opinion or not.
My own aphorism, then, which springs from that definition and addresses the NEP’s dismissive reference to test scores, is:  The admitted inability to measure everything is not a valid excuse for measuring nothing.  And so, my good fellow educators, dismiss test scores if you feel you must, but you must then propose alternative specific, auditable measurements.
 
What are they?
Cheers,
Frank Gue,
Professional Engineer
On Jun 13, 2017, at 10:05 AM, National Education Policy Center <NEPC.NEWS@gmail.com> wrote:

Big bubble of 2017

Date:     6 May 17
From:    Frank Gue, B.Sc, MBA, P.Eng.,
              2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5,    905 634 9538
For:       Editor, The Spectator,
Re:        Home Capital’s free fall, today’s Spec
Dear Editor:
Let’s see – is this item from today’s Spec or from some letter of mine to you in October of 2007?  It’s hard to tell, the phrases are so familiar:
* stop the  bleeding at the Canadian mortgage lender
* misleading investors over fraudulent mortgages
* a rash of withdrawals … losing about $75M a day
* its woes could spread to other alternative lenders
* etc.
Ah, yes, today’s item is merely a wholly predictable rerun of the 2007 scenario.  I’ll file it in a safe place so that I can use it again when the occasion arises, which it inevitably will: all we don’t know is “when”.  I’ll bet that you, fingers and toes crossed, have done the same as you anxiously placed it on Page A19 rather than Page A!.
Rather than waste more of my time framing any “comment”, I’ll just paste-in below my recent letter to The Economist.
 
Cheers,
Frank Gue,
Professional Engineer.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Editors, The Economist, London, UK
Re:  April 29, p. 58
 
Yes  indeed, weren’t central banks “surprised” by the 2008 melt-down!  This was despite the readily observable fact, as I pointed out to you in several letters over several years, that razor-thin reserves were inviting disaster; and that if there was any one thing that would avert it, increasing reserves would have to be “it”.  That was true then: it remains true now.  It will remain true when the next bubble arrives, which it inevitably will, the only unknown being “when”.
 
Pray tell me (sorry, Sir Winston); what has been the history, since 2008, of the reserve positions of a representative group of big banks?  Could we have a graph?  Does this history possibly suggest, as I have said to you several times, that an institution “too big to fail” must buy an insurance policy “too big to ignore”?  And that such a policy is readily available in the form of a regulated minimum reserve ratio (others have suggested as high as 30%)?
 
If the authorities lose faith in the forecasts and suggestions of economists, which they should in view of their routine total failure to hit forecasts of any economic datum you care to name, perhaps they should try Professional Engineers instead.
 
Frank Gue,
Professional Engineer
 

Climate change, the “red-blue” debate

Date:          22 April 17

By:              Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,

Burlington, ON L7R 2B5    905 7634 9538

For:             Whom it may concern

Re:              Climate change, the “red-blue” debate

This proposal is useful and thought-provoking.  One of the thoughts, unfortunately, is that the scientific-public-media-education-etc. milieu at present is so heavily biased against AGW skepticism that skeptics find it nearly impossible to be heard.  The evidence for this is so personally and publicly overwhelming (books are written) that I will not drag us through the endless proofs thereof.

Being a bachelor of science, I try always to find and fall back as far as I can reach for a scientific tool that may silence the chaos and enable clear thinking.  The Scientific Method is a robust, time-tested, and respectable candidate for such a tool.  So, taking a deep breath, let us charge in with it. It has four steps and an addendum from me:

1.  Collect and organize data.  Goodness, haven’t we just collected data!

2.  Form an hypothesis that might account for such a body of organized data.  Yes, we have as candidates solar cycles, AGW, CO2, etc.

3.   Test the hypothesis.  No, we have not and cannot ever test the hypothesis; because there are literally scores (hundreds?) of independent variables, and any result will be forever indeterminate.  (one failure invalidates the “law”  – Einstein)

4.  Write a law such as Ohm’s Law (current = voltage divided by resistance, which hasn’t ever failed).  No, since we didn’t do #3, we cannot do #4.

Gue’s addendum:

5.  Continuously challenge the law.  Note that, 100 years later, articles still appear attempting to defeat relativity.

We cannot do Steps 3, 4, and 5.  Therefore, although we have quite easily proven that there is climate variability, we cannot prove AGW or any other hypothesis.

– end –

How banks scoff your money

Date:         19 April 2017

By:             Frank Gue B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,

2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

905 634 9538    <frank.gue@cogeco.ca>

For:            Producers, Metro Morning, CBC Radio 1

cc:              Letters, TheSpec, Hamilton

Re:             Your series re Bank processes –  my file TD Time to Pay

Dear Producers:

My Rebate Reward statement (TD Bank credit card) says in part in the Bank’s own words, (rearranged to make sense in terms of a householder’s budget):

New balance:                      $ 3,444.43

Minimum payment:            $      10.00

The estimated time 

to pay your new balance

if you pay only the 

minimum payment

each month is:                    41 years and 3 month(s)

The statement in bold italics above is not true.  In fact, the time to pay $3444.43 with the bank’s suggested $10.00 monthly would accumulate forever at the stated interest rate of 19.99% since the monthly interest far exceeds the bank’s $10.00/month minimum payment.

Further, since 53% of adult Canadians are innumerate according to StatsCan, a very large number of Visa credit card holders are unaware of what that 19.99% interest rate is doing to them.  This public ignorance is very helpful to the banks.

If you were to ask Mr. Frank Psoras, VP Credit Cards, TD Canada Trust, POB 3000, Toronto M5K 1K6, for a demo of how this $10/month payment would retire the  $3,444.43 decremented at $10 per month, you might get what I did, i.e. a long string of minus $10 entries which is arithmetically correct but is a trivial answer to a different question.

Small wonder the banks receive (note: not “earn”) profit by the billions through economic thick and thin without providing any service or incurring any cost whatever.

Since we must all use banks, it’s a classic “gotcha”; because they have other devices they can then use that I could detail.

You do good investigative work: this belongs with it.

Best,

Frank Gue,

Professional Engineer.

Date:         19 April 2017

By:             Frank Gue B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,

2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

905 634 9538    <frank.gue@cogeco.ca>

For:            Producers, Metro Morning, CBC Radio 1

cc:              Letters, TheSpec, Hamilton

Re:             Bank processes – your series – my file TD Time to Pay

My Rebate Reward statement (TD Bank credit card) says in part in the Bank’s own words, (rearranged to make sense in terms of a householder’s budget):

New balance:                      $ 3,444.43

Minimum payment:            $      10.00

The estimated time 

to pay your new balance

if you pay only the 

minimum payment

each month is:                    41 years and 3 month(s)

The statement in bold italics above is not true.  In fact, the time to pay $3444.43 with the bank’s suggested $10.00 monthly would accumulate forever at the stated interest rate of 19.99% since the monthly interest far exceeds the bank’s $10.00 minimum payment.

Further, since 53% of adult Canadians are innumerate according to StatsCan, a very large number of Visa credit card holders are unaware of what that 19.99% interest rate is doing to them.  This public ignorance is very helpful to the banks.

If you were to ask Mr. Frank Psoras, VP Credit Cards, TD Canada Trust, POB 3000, Toronto M5K 1K6 for a demo of the arithmetic suggested by this $10 payment, you might get a long run-down of $3,444.43 decremented at $10 per month, which is arithmetically correct but is a trivial answer to a different question.

Small wonder the banks receive (note: not “earn”) profit by the billions through economic thick and thin.  Since we must all use banks, it’s a classic “gotcha”; because they have other devices they can then use that I could detail.

You do good investigative work: this belongs with it.

Best,

Frank Gue,

Professional Engineer.