Statistics and education August 15

Filename Statistics and education August 15

Date: 30 August 15

By: Frank Gue

For: SQE Board

Re: “How to” support our mission statement of

yesterday.

GE, all.

We quickly dropped the subject of statistical process control as a possible “how to” support our very good mission statement. That was a mistake.

You will recall the bar chart I circulated long ago showing that the poorest performing (by EQAO) five schools delivered less than half the value per dollar that was being delivered by the best five, and delivered only 64% of the average of all 25 schools in the sample (which was a patch of schools of nearly identical socio-economic status here in Burlington).

That bar chart was derived from a classic bell curve, condensed to emphasize the potential it presents to us.

With no apology whatever for using an industrial analogue, let me tell you what I did in a similar situation in heavy machinery manufacturing:

In our steel fabricating shop we had a frightful clutter of parts, only a few of which were needed today. In our Ship On Time project, we had the computer tell us the standard deviation of our departures from schedule. We identified the workstations (a steel shear is a workstation) with the widest deviations. We improved material flows there, but more importantly we made it clear to all concerned that they had to stick to schedule sequence; make only what’s needed tomorrow, make nothing not needed tomorrow.

Results:

· Magically, half of the parts vanished from the no longer cluttered floor.

· Labor cost in the assembly department dropped 20% because they spent less time hunting for and moving stuff. (How do you “lose” a 20-ton fabrication? Easy – you lower a 30-ton fabrication over it to save space and then go off sick.)

· Sandblasting and cleaning costs dropped sharply because nothing had to be stored outdoors to rust.

· On-time performance rose from 60% to 90%.

OK, now where is the education analogue?

· Work with the schools delivering poor value-per-dollar; ignore the schools doing best, they’ll continue to do fine.

· Transfer technology (not only computer technology!) by learning what the best schools do that the poorest can do too.

· And so on.

Results to expect:

· Higher average because the low tail of the bell curve gets cut off.

· Far fewer kids left behind

· And so on.

The above is not meant to displace any of our other good “how” points but, leaping ahead (sorry, Cal), I suggest that this will turn out (in our prioritizing process) to be a must, not a want. Meantime, let’s think about it.

Cheers,

F.

Production and productivity versus money

Date:                 22 Aug 15

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

2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

For:                   Editors, The Economist, London, UK

Re:                    Third time lucky, Aug. 15th Edition

Filename           Economist re Production August

Dear editors:

One bites one’s nails to read the everlasting casting of the Greek saga in terms of dollars. The real problem is lack of production and productivity, both of which must improve and neither of which gets even a passing mention.

Two truisms always overlooked are:

  1. One cannot consume what one has not produced, and
  2. Money is a claim on current production but, of itself, has no value. Nil. Nul.  Zero. Nada. This is emphasized by the fact that, in 2015, it can be invisible small dots on a magnetic disc.

Bailout exercises merely kick the can down the road, causing the kickers to suffer increasingly painful stubbed toes as said can gets more massive.

Greece must note the 20,000 year old example of our cave-dwelling ancestor: if he fails to kill this morning, he doesn’t eat tonight. Unless, of course, he can trade one of his labor-intensive arrows for a slab of the deer his more successful neighbor killed.

What are Greece’s natural advantages? Endless sunshine on patches of specially productive land? Antiquities? Inexpensive educated labor? Short supply lines? How can these advantages be put to use to generate production that customers in and out of Greece will buy?

How can this saleable production be created with less labor, i.e. more productively? Because competitors are always at Greece’s heels.

How can the shoes made by Aristarchus settle at a value that approximates the value of the wine made by Theophilus? Does the Greek government know enough to get out of the way, excepting only to facilitate development of honest capitalism?

 

Money is only an enabler, a necessary but far from sufficient condition for a Greek bailout.   Get productive production tended to and the money will look after itself.

Cheers,

F.

Economist re Production August

Date:                 22 Aug 15

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

2252 Joyce St., Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

For:                   Editors, The Economist, London, UK

Re:                    Third time lucky, Aug. 15th Edition

Filename            Economist re Production August

Dear editors:

One bites one’s nails to read the everlasting casting of the Greek saga in terms of dollars. The real problem is lack of production and productivity, both of which must improve and neither of which gets even a passing mention.

Two truisms always overlooked are:

  1. One cannot consume what one has not produced, and
  2. Money is a claim on current production but, of itself, has no value. Nil. Nul   Zero. Nada. This is emphasized by the fact that, in 2015, it can be invisible small dots on a magnetic disc.

Bailout exercises merely kick the can down the road, causing the kickers to suffer increasingly painful stubbed toes as said can gets more massive.

Greece must note the 20,000 year old example of our cave-dwelling ancestor: if he fails to kill this morning, he doesn’t eat tonight. Unless, of course, he can trade one of his labor-intensive arrows for a slab of the deeer his more successful neighbor killed.

What are Greece’s natural advantages? Endless sunshine on patches of specially productive land? Antiquities? Inexpensive educated labor? Short supply lines? How can these advantages be put to use to generate production that customers in and out of Greece will buy?

How can this saleable production be created with less labor, i.e. more productively? Because competitors are always at Greece’s heels.

How can the shoes made by Aristarchus settle at a value that approximates the value of the wine made by Theophilus? Does the Greek government know enough to get out of the way, excepting only to facilitate development of honest capitalism?

 

Money is only an enabler, a necessary but far from sufficient condition for a Greek bailout.   Get productive production tended to and the money will look after itself.

Cheers,

F.

Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Filename:    Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Date:          7 Aug 15

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

2252 Joyce St.,

Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

905 634 9538

For:            MP  Mike Wallace

Re:               The Trans Pacific Partnership

(TPP)

Good afternoon, Mike.

I was once a member of the PCPO’s Cornerstone Club (CC).  For a non-trivial annual fee, CC members get to do neat things like dine with cabinet ministers in high-falutin’ locations such as 191 Front St. (“May I take your coat, sir?”).

Over a series of CC meetings, I learned that the CC was heavily influenced (dominated?) by Big Pharma.  At a policy breakout table, my call for business cards would often reveal that several of the seven to ten members at my table would be Big Pharma reps.  My suggestion to a series of PCPO Presidents that all CC meetings require sharing of business cards went unanswered.  I withdrew from the CC: my picayune fee paid out of household accounts was no match for the time-and-expenses-paid plus probable corporate donations of the Big Pharma oligopoly.  Similarly, I recall back decades to Bill C91 (I think it was) which permitted Pharma companies to repackage standard drugs to a much higher per-unit price, thus capturing big unearned profits (“rent”, the economists call it, made possible by “exclusivity or scarcity”).

Writing in today’s Spec, columnist Tom Walcom raises this same risk and threat regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated, mentioning also our managed marketing of dairy products.

Now, being a good small-c conservative, I am all in favor of free trade.  But I also recognize the big potential for oligopolistic abuse of it  by entities like Big Pharma.  To the extent that the TPP opens any such door, it must not happen.  Remember, slavish, uncritical devotion to free trade was no small contributor to the demise of Canada’s once-vigorous manufacturing industry, in which I and thousands of others made good, productive, challenging, socio-economically sound livings, not the trivial, stack-the-imports-over-there jobs of which we seem to have so many now.

A few years ago I would not have believed I would hear myself saying it, but: fair free trade may involve, for instance, customs duties to protect vulnerable Canadian industries. Thus, fair, level-playing-field free trade, yes.  Biased, oligopolistic, so-called free trade, no. Please see that the TPP does not degenerate into this.

F.

The $1-a-week school

Filename:    SQE_Re_Private_Schooling_in_Low_Wage_Countries  (Lexar)

Date:           5 Aug 15

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

2252 Joyce St.,

Burlington, ON L7R 2B5

905 634 9538   frank.gue@cogeco.ca

For:            SQE Group and whom it may concern

Re:            The Economist Aug. 1 edition re education

GE, all.

The Economist for Aug. 1 has two important articles on Education: “Learning unleashed – Where governments are failing to provide a decent education, the private sector is stepping in” and “The $1-a-week school – Private schools are booming in poor countries.  Governments should either help them or get out of their way”.

I’d link you to them but I can’t figure out The Economist’s mysterious method of doing so, or even if it has one.

Please try to get this edition of The Economist and read these two articles.

 

The gist:

*  Private schools are growing at double-digit rates in the poor countries

*  Main failings of government schools include unions (surprise); teachers (surprise again – 25% absentee is typical); and the government (“surprise again – government bureaucrats often oppose private schools); the UN – “For-profit education should not be allowed in order to safeguard the noble cause of education”, said the UN’s special rapporteur on Education Kishore Singh

*  Private schools operating on a few dollars a month typically outperform public schools by wide margins

*  Much of the support for private schools comes from poor homes with incomes of $2 per day or less.

–       and lots else.  Do read these articles!

I’ve supported (with money) education for third-world girls for about 50 years.  History shows that, as an under-developed population becomes educated, the birth rate falls.  This has to happen if we are to avoid accelerating over-population disasters like the mass migrations from Africa to Europe and the constant sectarian (really territorial) wars all over the world.  The New Zealand Maoris had it right thousands of years ago when they said:  “For women and for land men will fight, men will die.”

For saying that, of course, I identify myself in the eyes of some  as a right-wing extremist.

F

Supreme Court and Administrative Fines

Date:           1 Aug 15
By:               Frank Gue, B.Sc., MBA, P.Eng.,
                    2252 Joyce St.,
                    Burlington, ON L7R 2B5
For:             Marni Soupcoff
                    Executive Director
Canadian Constitution Foundation
Re:               The Supreme Court Guindon Decision

Marni, this makes my blood run cold.

I know nothing of Ms. Guindon’s case and do not wish to know.
But for the SC to impose a fine, from one dollar upward, without due process or presumption of innocence, can be regarded, among other things, as a warning to activists; This is the Thought Police. You’d better self-censor yourself better, because we are watching you.  Don’t step out of line.
The fact that this can be done by bureaucrats multiplies the threat by about 10.
Does this call for legislative action, or what?
How did the individual members vote, particularly Chief Justice Beverly McLaughlin (my sister Julia Daeley taught Beverly in grade school in Pincher Creek, Alberta)?
What does CTF do now?  It needs money, obviously.
?
F.