Lenny Mendonca, a retired executive at McKinsey & Company, serves on the boards of a dozen nonprofit organizations. He was photographed at the James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco, where the interview took place.

Credit: John Fensterwald / EdSource Today

Lenny Mendonca, a retired executive at McKinsey & Company, serves on the boards of a dozen nonprofit organizations. He was photographed at the James Irvine Foundation in San Francisco, where the interview took place.

For more than three decades, Lenny Mendonca has analyzed big problems and recommended big fixes in government – both for pay, as a senior executive with the Washington, D.C., and San Francisco offices of McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, and now as an adviser and board member of a dozen nonprofit organizations.

Public sector leaders regularly seek his advice. Ted Lempert, president of Children Now, whose board Mendonca chairs, says a number of state budget and government reforms, like legislative redistricting, have Mendonca’s “fingerprints” on them.

Mendonca supports the big changes transforming California’s K-12 schools and offered to share his view of the Common Core standards and the Local Control Funding Formula. He has a native Californian’s perspective, having grown up milking cows on his family’s farm in the Central Valley. He graduated from Turlock High before heading off to Harvard University, where he graduated with honors. Both of his daughters attended public schools in California, and one teaches in San Bruno.

Before he retired as a senior partner from McKinsey, Mendonca, 54, founded the firm’s U.S. state and local public sector practice, and oversaw the McKinsey Global Institute and the firm’s communications. He served for a decade on McKinsey’s board of directors. Among his nonprofit leadership roles, he co-chairs California Forward, is chair emeritus of the Bay Area Council and is on the boards of New America Foundation, the Committee for Economic Development and College Futures Foundation.

Mendonca talked with EdSource about education in California.

If you were brought in as a consultant to the State Board of Education or the Legislature that’s changing its funding system at the same time that it’s implementing new academic standards and changing the way it measures schools, what advice would you give?

I am a huge fan of what the state is trying to do, both to its aspiration, that all kids should be career- and college-ready, and that we want that to happen at a pace and scale that no one’s ever seen before. We believe there should be very big changes in the system around local control funding, aligning resources around where the needs are, and in the implementation of a new curriculum. All are happening all at the same time. It is extraordinarily ambitious.

You would not have said to the Legislature and Jerry Brown, “Go serially, and not do it all at once.”

No. Because they’re related. If you’re not giving people the alignment of resource, they’re not going to be able to accomplish what you want them to accomplish. And if you’re not clear on what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re just spreading the money around, and (saying), “Go do what you’re already doing.” So I think you need both.

What I would say is there is a big piece of this that is not there, that I’m most concerned about, which is professional development.

There’s a bunch of concerns around “How do you do the assessments right? How do you get the technology in place? What’s the real accountability system?” Those are really, really important. I think I can see a path to those. I don’t think we have any sense of how you actually develop hundreds of thousands of teachers and principals and school-board members and administrators. That is a massive exercise, and I don’t think we are 1 percent of the way to thinking that through.

As somebody who lived in, grew up in California, and worked here for decades, too, did you see the sort of limitations of California’s standards, or the graduates of California schools, that were, perhaps, limited, in terms of the knowledge that they had, coming out of high school?

I graduated from high school right at the time Prop. 13 was passed, so I’ve been here for a long time, and I’ve worked here, with the exception of being on the East Coast for half a dozen years, for my entire career. The first standards that were set were a very good first start.

I don’t think of it as, “The old standards were bad or too low.” They are evolving. That’s what happens when you set benchmarks. You have to know how you’re doing, and how fast you’re progressing. And then, as the world moves, you redevelop them.

I don’t think we have any sense of how you actually develop hundreds of thousands of teachers and principals and school-board members and administrators. That is a massive exercise, and I don’t think we are 1 percent of the way to thinking that through.

It was possible, when I was in high school, to get a living-wage job with the expectation of a good pension with a high-school education until you retire. It doesn’t work that way now. And so we have to help people gain a set of skills by completing college, or at least two years of more technically oriented training. And then we have to help people think about their career, not as one place for your life, but as having tours of duty that are two or three years in a number of places. And your job is going to change dramatically five times during the course of your life even if you’re in the same job in the same company or organization. That’s a different and harder challenge.

How would people in business be helpful in sending the message about the importance of Common Core?

Even in California, where there is broad-based support for Common Core, you cannot take for granted that everything that’s required to ensure that we deliver the Common Core is put in place. And so business needs to use their voice to say, “That really is important, and we’re going to be part of ensuring that the standards stay.”

Number two, particularly when you combine Common Core with the Local Control Funding Formula, there’s a lot more responsibility and expectation with money flowing to the local level. It’s important for business leaders to get engaged where their employees live, where their kids go to school. You know, post the early ‘80s, business largely checked out of K-12 education.

Why?

There were only two ways to engage that made any difference: Locally, at your own school or at some really macro-policy level, where business people got frustrated that they couldn’t make any difference. Now, there’s a lot more expectation at the school-district level, now that you actually have a lot more flexibility, and a resource aligned around needs. Now you actually have to deliver that through your LCAP. Common Core and the Local Control Funding Formula encourage businesses to have an expectation that their involvement can make a difference. I would hope more business people run for school boards.

Can I say one more thing?

Go ahead.

Business leaders in California should debate issues around the Common Core, which in California is so much more productive than in most of the rest of the country.

In what sense?

Common Core is not a partisan or political issue in California for the most part. The discussions are more around “How do we make this work?” In a lot of the rest of the country, the discussion is to throw it out or not.

Business leaders here, especially if they’re involved with national organizations like I am with the Committee for Economic Development, need to make that case in language that business people understand.

The goal of the Common Core is to prepare kids for college and careers. It’s easier to define “college-ready,” based on what the California State University and the University of California require. How would you define career-ready?

There are not simple metrics to explain that yet, though a few things are helpful. Number one, the expectations of the CSU system, whether you go to a four-year college or not, are pretty good proxies for what you’re going to need to have a living-wage job in California.

Second, it turns out that, beyond some reasonable level, things that employers typically screen for, like “What school did you go to?” “What was your scores and grades in school?” are pretty bad indicators of “Are you going to be successful in the job we’re offering?” And so trying to get a richer understanding of things like resilience, communications capability, teamwork. Evidence of leadership. Ambition for accomplishing something. Those things are much better indicators of if someone is going to be a successful, longer-term employee than what your résumé says. Employers are going to have to get better at that.

What pitfalls should the state think about as it goes through a transition to Common Core?

I’m worried about two things that we can anticipate and do something about, and one thing that we can’t expect when and how it’s going to happen, but it’s going to happen.

We have to prepare parents for what happens the first time we have real results on the new assessments. They’re going to be disappointed. We have to plan for, “You know, these are different standards, so don’t compare (the results) to what they were before, or feel like that means your kid is failing, the school is failing. They are high standards, and they’re not the same.”

Second, there is a possibility that we will have teachers overwhelmed by all these changes. Right now, they’re very supportive, and want to make it work. But if we layer all this on top of them, and don’t give them the time and space and resource and tools to improve, we are going to have a backlash. Front-line teachers are going to say, “You’re asking me to do things that are unrealistic.” And we can’t have that happen.

Third, the budget is not going to be great forever. So what happens the first time we have a downturn in the state, and what does that do to all of what we’re talking about? I haven’t thought through what to do, but we should be thinking about it.

 

 


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  1. Concerned parent 1 year ago1 year ago

    Here is how I see it. . . . Californis is experimenting in funding and instruction and...it is a real big mess which shows negative planning and really those at high levels,in state education jobs need to be removed. . . . Teachers are lost with regard to teaching math and science. Lost. . . .Some schools are regressing in learning to the extent that, in my opinion, any fifth grade teacher in year 2015-2016 will,soon find out that all children going into 5th grade … Read More

    Here is how I see it.
    .
    .
    .
    Californis is experimenting in funding and instruction and…it is a real big mess which shows negative planning and really those at high levels,in state education jobs need to be removed.
    .
    .
    .
    Teachers are lost with regard to teaching math and science. Lost.
    .
    .
    .Some schools are regressing in learning to the extent that, in my opinion, any fifth grade teacher in year 2015-2016 will,soon find out that all children going into 5th grade did not learn 3rd grade standards .
    .
    .
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    And I say this regression will be seen as a domino effect due to a lack of emphasis of properly covering all common core standards.

    .
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    This article is in my opinion a propaganda article full of feel good,statements.
    .
    .
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    Why not check data.
    .
    .
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    Why not immediately implement simple diognostic chec for understanding and mastery of learning for all math grade levels?
    .
    .
    .
    Why is our stat also creating tow,paths of have and have not mastered math middle school,algebra pathways…why
    .
    .
    .
    This article and the view that Californiamleadership,is to be admired is madness.

  2. Elizabeth 1 year ago1 year ago

    Is this a PR campaign for Mr. Mendonca? Is he planning to run for political office? The overlap in funding from the Gates Foundation to both EdSource and Children Now is surely just a coincidence. As are the similarities in the websites of Children Now and California Forward, I’m sure.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Gates Foundation grant to Ed Source?

      “EdSource Inc. 2014 College-Ready US Program $768,070”

      -copied from Gates Foundation grant awards

      Does this raise questions Ed Sources’ reporting bias?

      It sure seems that overall Ed Source promotes a fairly positive view of CCSS in its reporting of the issues – what it chooses to report – how it reports.

  3. Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

    While Mendonca's views on implementing LCFF and Common Core at the same time can be supported, the simultaneous implementation of components for the Common Core does not make sense. The major components for the CC are implementing (1) Instruction, (2) Assessments, and (3) Accountability. Instruction involves (a) curriculum frameworks as a basis for (b) instructional materials, both of which are needed for (c) good professional development for teachers. Mendonca fingers PD as a major laggard … Read More

    While Mendonca’s views on implementing LCFF and Common Core at the same time can be supported, the simultaneous implementation of components for the Common Core does not make sense. The major components for the CC are implementing (1) Instruction, (2) Assessments, and (3) Accountability. Instruction involves (a) curriculum frameworks as a basis for (b) instructional materials, both of which are needed for (c) good professional development for teachers. Mendonca fingers PD as a major laggard for California’s implementation of CC, but I’d also point out that curriculum frameworks for ELA have only recently been approved by the State Board, and instructional materials for ELA are scheduled for later this year, so at least for ELA we are not ready yet for effective PD programs. If instruction for CC isn’t yet adequately implemented, then statewide assessments for the CC are clearly premature, generating invalid unreliable unfair scores for 3.2 million students, essentially a waste of time and money. Even State Board Pres Kirst has been quoted in the media saying the new Smarter Balanced tests will not yield useful data until 2019 . . . . . . And without solid centerpiece statewide assessment data, how can we expect a new state accountability system to generate useful information? Clearly, the LCAP portion of LCFF does not have the foundational elements to be workable in the near future.

    So, while at a 50K foot level, LCFF and CC being implemented simultaneously can make sense, when we got down to the components there is great need to implement at least CC with required sequencing for the instruction-assessment-accountability elements. Not to follow the logical sequencing just generates massive confusion and inefficiencies in the trenches . . . . .

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Doug, once again you nailed it. In the first comment on this thread I made a generic observation that the Common Core and SBAC has been pushed through hastily, a common refrain by many including yourself, and that you can't implement simultaneously. Thank you for your reasoned and precise description of the proper process of implementation. I couldn't say whether Mr. Mendonca understands how a progressive implementation of the components you describe is crucial to … Read More

      Doug, once again you nailed it. In the first comment on this thread I made a generic observation that the Common Core and SBAC has been pushed through hastily, a common refrain by many including yourself, and that you can’t implement simultaneously. Thank you for your reasoned and precise description of the proper process of implementation. I couldn’t say whether Mr. Mendonca understands how a progressive implementation of the components you describe is crucial to the overall success of California’s standards, curriculum, assessment and accountability regime. But it is hard to reconcile his notion that everything should happen simultaneously given that reality.

    • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

      A respectful question regarding the issues addressed by Doug and Don regarding CC sequences. Shouldn’t common core oriented assessments be the very first to be implemented in the CC sequence? Wouldn’t this generate a broad and inclusive baseline with which to assess the efficacy of the common core interventions?

      • Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

        Andrew -- No, a primary guideline for implementing large scale end-of-year statewide assessments is that instruction has to come before assessments. Another way to say it is that students must have the "opportunity to learn" the material being assessed for valid assessment results, a legal principle established in the late 70's for statewide high school graduation exams, affirmed by several court cases over the past 35 years. A more common sense way of saying it … Read More

        Andrew — No, a primary guideline for implementing large scale end-of-year statewide assessments is that instruction has to come before assessments. Another way to say it is that students must have the “opportunity to learn” the material being assessed for valid assessment results, a legal principle established in the late 70’s for statewide high school graduation exams, affirmed by several court cases over the past 35 years. A more common sense way of saying it is Dave Gordon’s quote in the SacBee Feb 2014 that “It just isn’t fair to test kids on material they haven’t been taught.” Tests administered before instruction [end-of-year tests intended to measure the results of instruction, not diagnostic tests not used or interpreted as measures of the results of instruction] generate a false lowball baseline, which in turn will generate inflated gain scores year-after-year.

        The above basic principle being stated, it has to be a considered judgment (especially for a state the size of California) just when statewide assessments for a new set of academic content standards should be initiated to provide reasonable baseline information. Clearly, one cannot wait for ALL districts/schools to fully implement instruction for a new set of content standards. My own judgment is that statewide supports for instruction need to be in place [i.e., curriculum frameworks, approved instructional materials, and some time for robust professional development for teachers involving both the new curriculum frameworks and locally adopted instructional materials], and that a substantial majority of districts/schools (say roughly 80 percent) have substantially implemented instruction for the new set of academic content standards. For the Common Core standards, my judgment has been that these criteria will be met by 2018, or perhaps by 2017, but not earlier.

  4. Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

    The elephant in the room, ignored for obvious reasons in consideration of common core, is general intelligence, or "g". When SAT test scores were correlated with measured IQ of the test takers, correlation was strong (r = .82) to the point where college SAT test scores could virtually serve as a surrogate for g and for IQ. Will Common Core assessment test results show a similarly high correlation with general intelligence? There isn't … Read More

    The elephant in the room, ignored for obvious reasons in consideration of common core, is general intelligence, or “g”.

    When SAT test scores were correlated with measured IQ of the test takers, correlation was strong (r = .82) to the point where college SAT test scores could virtually serve as a surrogate for g and for IQ.

    Will Common Core assessment test results show a similarly high correlation with general intelligence? There isn’t a lot of data to work with so far to answer that question, but hints at a very strong correlation are emerging.

    Would it really be surprising if common core assessments turn out to be surrogates for IQ? Aren’t the benchmark common core reasoning abilities, applied to various subjects, the same reasoning abilities expressed in “g”?

    Meeting the common core standards seems to be as easy as falling off a log for a gifted child with an IQ of 150 and the attendant innate reasoning ability. But extraordinarily difficult for a child challenged with an IQ of 70. Is it realistic to set the same standards for a child with an IQ of 70 as are set for a child with an IQ of 150? Intelligence is clearly valued, in business and in education. But to what extent is children’s intelligence innate and relatively unchangeable as much science suggests and to what extent can it realistically be created through the educational process? These are important questions for teachers. Because teachers will be the first to be blamed when relatively less intelligent students fail to meet expectations in common core assessments.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Andrew; If you poke around in the relevant research a bit you will find an even stronger correlation than that between IQ and SAT scores: the correlation between parental income levels and SAT scores. It is well known that SAT prep-courses can have a powerful impact on CAT scores and access to those is far easier for those with wealth. And let's not go to eugenics based "arguments" about IQ and economic status. The BELL Curve already … Read More

      Andrew;

      If you poke around in the relevant research a bit you will find an even stronger correlation than that between IQ and SAT scores: the correlation between parental income levels and SAT scores. It is well known that SAT prep-courses can have a powerful impact on CAT scores and access to those is far easier for those with wealth.

      And let’s not go to eugenics based “arguments” about IQ and economic status. The BELL Curve already did that to Harvard’s and the nation’s shame.

      Note that IQ tests cannot be used in schools for various minority groups because the tests have been found to have inherent cultural biases. As most tests of all kinds do.

      • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

        In the 1984 9th Circuit case, Larry P. vs. Riles, the court held that intelligence testing could not be used as a basis for assigning certain minority students to classes for the developmentally disabled, unless the tests were validated as not displaying cultural bias and approved by the court. The state had already prior to that decision implemented a moratorium on such utilization of intelligence testing and never made any effort to have … Read More

        In the 1984 9th Circuit case, Larry P. vs. Riles, the court held that intelligence testing could not be used as a basis for assigning certain minority students to classes for the developmentally disabled, unless the tests were validated as not displaying cultural bias and approved by the court. The state had already prior to that decision implemented a moratorium on such utilization of intelligence testing and never made any effort to have culturally unbiased intelligence tests validated despite advances in the science involved since 1984.

        Why bother with the science of intelligence as a factor in achievement when you can blame teachers. In the vacuum created by California when it “threw” this case, the justices of the court chose to blame teachers for the poor performance of subgroups of students, ultimately concluding “. . . it is essential that California’s educators confront the problem of the widespread failure to provide an adequate education to underprivileged minorities . . . ”

        You are free to deny the unpalatable science that establishes that some have more innate intelligence than others, and that their intelligence makes high educational achievement relatively easy. But then you must attribute all low achievement to something other than intelligence. Process of elimination over time, once you have artificially eliminated innate intelligence as a factor, will inevitably lead to blaming teachers for low achievement of students, including with Common Core. I don’t think it is fair to teachers. But they and their leaders seem to be putting themselves in that unenviable position.

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          Andrew: You say: "You are free to deny the unpalatable science that establishes that some have more innate intelligence than others, and that their intelligence makes high educational achievement relatively easy." Certainly there are variable in human intelligence, but there is not a shred of evidence (outside of the admittedly biased current tests) to suggest these break down along ethnic or economic lines. Are you suggesting otherwise? As has often been stated, on international tests (which have their … Read More

          Andrew:

          You say: “You are free to deny the unpalatable science that establishes that some have more innate intelligence than others, and that their intelligence makes high educational achievement relatively easy.”

          Certainly there are variable in human intelligence, but there is not a shred of evidence (outside of the admittedly biased current tests) to suggest these break down along ethnic or economic lines. Are you suggesting otherwise?

          As has often been stated, on international tests (which have their own set of biases) US schools with 10% or less “poverty” (as determined by Free and Reduced Lunch #) the test scores are the highest in the world. In US schools with 25% or less poverty the scores are equal to the other high scoring countries in the world. It;s only when you get to the 50% of poverty or higher that scores dip. The US has the highest number of schools with high poverty in the industrialized world because the US has some of the highest child poverty rates in the industrialized world.

          So, I don’t need to blame teachers at all. It’s unfortunate it appears the court may have implied that. And I don’t buy into the canard that schools with low poverty rates have some kind of human service “secret sauce” that allows them to get the best teachers. The critical difference is the levels of support students get prior to and during school attendance and the grinding levels of poverty sans supports students living in poverty are subjected to.

          The fact that so many seem more than ready to shrug off the facts of children’s poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth and the wealthiest state in that nation are ugly and shameful. When the history books of the future are written the denizens of the Gilded Age are going to look good compared to us.

          • Andrew 1 year ago1 year ago

            "Certainly there are variable in human intelligence, but there is not a shred of evidence (outside of the admittedly biased current tests) to suggest these break down along ethnic or economic lines. Are you suggesting otherwise?" We would apparently disagree, Gary. I maintain that general intelligence is real, measurable, and has a very significant impact on outcomes, including academic and economic outcomes, and if ignored in the equations involved can lead to very unfair … Read More

            “Certainly there are variable in human intelligence, but there is not a shred of evidence (outside of the admittedly biased current tests) to suggest these break down along ethnic or economic lines. Are you suggesting otherwise?”

            We would apparently disagree, Gary. I maintain that general intelligence is real, measurable, and has a very significant impact on outcomes, including academic and economic outcomes, and if ignored in the equations involved can lead to very unfair treatment of students, teachers, and other. I also believe that each child, regardless of intelligence, is of great and inestimable worth.

            I maintain that “race” and “ethnicity” are mostly irrelevant and should be disregarded for educational purposes and for most other purposes. You might conclude that I am “white” by your measures. Actually, like every other human being on the planet, my ancestry is at its very origins from East Africa. So I am ultimately ethnically African and we are all racially African. I can think of nothing less relevant than skin color. It can change with a suntan and is a matter of degree. Some you might claim are “black” are descendants of Thomas Jefferson. Almost everyone, doubtless including me, is a mix of all sorts of things ethnically and racially. All of what you might categorize as races and ethnicities include individuals having a huge range of IQ’s, from the highest to the lowest, and it would be scientifically obtuse to assume any individual’s intelligence based on perception of an artificial concept such as race or ethnicity. The science of race is that there is no such thing, for most meaningful purposes. The science of general intelligence is very real, though uncomfortable to many.

          • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

            "And I don’t buy into the canard that schools with low poverty rates have some kind of human service “secret sauce” that allows them to get the best teachers." You've consistently maintained that seniority confers the advantage of experience and, therefore, higher quality. Knowing that less senior teachers frequently are bumped during RIFs and that the teaching force gravitates away from high burnout low-performing schools and towards higher-performing schools, it follows that these schools have … Read More

            “And I don’t buy into the canard that schools with low poverty rates have some kind of human service “secret sauce” that allows them to get the best teachers.”

            You’ve consistently maintained that seniority confers the advantage of experience and, therefore, higher quality. Knowing that less senior teachers frequently are bumped during RIFs and that the teaching force gravitates away from high burnout low-performing schools and towards higher-performing schools, it follows that these schools have more experienced and, as you would maintain, better teachers.

            You don’t get to have it both ways to suit whatever argument you’re making.

  5. CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

    This interview reminds me of the editorial cartoon showing the actual teacher in front of the classroom full of children, cowering a bit with a cadre of think-tank fellows, policy analysts, politicians and other entities entirely removed from the classroom and the students breathing down her neck. Does interviewing a senior executive with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, who is also an adviser and board member of a dozen nonprofit organizations, about … Read More

    This interview reminds me of the editorial cartoon showing the actual teacher in front of the classroom full of children, cowering a bit with a cadre of think-tank fellows, policy analysts, politicians and other entities entirely removed from the classroom and the students breathing down her neck.

    Does interviewing a senior executive with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, who is also an adviser and board member of a dozen nonprofit organizations, about his views on educational policy — rather than interviewing an educator — subtly promote the pervasive attitude that only outsiders know what’s best for education, and that the opinions and experience of those who actually teach children should be ignored and disdained?

    If so, is it in the best interests of education, schools and children to further promote that pervasive attitude?

    Discuss among yourselves.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Caroline, Ed Source has been running a series of Q and A Common Core interviews for the last several months. Scrolling through the "older posts", they're almost all with superintendents, no teachers - so there's certainly room for more perspectives from the varying parties, even business because it is important to achieve balance when talking about the value of standards which ought to represent society at large. What happens in the classroom … Read More

      Caroline, Ed Source has been running a series of Q and A Common Core interviews for the last several months. Scrolling through the “older posts”, they’re almost all with superintendents, no teachers – so there’s certainly room for more perspectives from the varying parties, even business because it is important to achieve balance when talking about the value of standards which ought to represent society at large. What happens in the classroom is everyone’s business – students most of all. But I’d like to hear from other informed individuals, besides superintendents, with on the ground experience such as teachers and school-related community groups and parents. I think Ed Source is doing its readers a disfavor by not including stakeholders in these interviews. There’s this prevailing sense that only industry-insiders can speak intelligently to the Common Core. That they chose to branch out by interviewing a representative of the business community could be viewed as progress, even if the interview responses were not student-centered.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        One thing I disagreed with in this interview was the take on business sector input. First, I dont think any business sector types will know anything about common core, even if they step into BoE roles. Second, any 'needs' they think they have are going to be specific to their own businesses or those of that community's businesses. This may or may not align with supposed value in CC, and clearly would not help those … Read More

        One thing I disagreed with in this interview was the take on business sector input. First, I dont think any business sector types will know anything about common core, even if they step into BoE roles. Second, any ‘needs’ they think they have are going to be specific to their own businesses or those of that community’s businesses. This may or may not align with supposed value in CC, and clearly would not help those businesses if those students did not end up living and working within that same community. Obviously there are values that are common (ha!) to the workforce in general, but I question whether businesses would be preferring these to ‘skills’.
        I guess one of the ideas is that businesses usually play an important role in ‘running things’ in a community and getting them to buy in would help CC’s cause. That’s likely dangerous though unless they are well-versed enough to defend beyond the superficial. District leaders are barely able to do that.

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          Navigio:

          Good points. Looking at the history of public education the business community has a long and very undistinguished record of trying to interfere with how the schools carry on their business.

          And of course we have the Gates, the Broads, and the Welches who have created absolute mayhem with their big-footed efforts to craft education in their own narrow and self-involved images.

          • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

            Strange comment, Gary, considering tyou support the Common Core which was brought to us largely through the collaborative efforts of those very corporate interests of which you speak.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              We are not providing educated employees for companies, productive employees. We can improve our economy by improving education. How much do kids learn in school which will never help them earn a top salary and be more valuable to companies?

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              We should turn over all public education to private industry and cancel any courses which do not specifically imbue qualities those employers seek. Who needs education when you have a job?

  6. Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

    It would be beneficial to the real job of educating students if we would get intellectuals out of the equation. The State of California implements ideas without any real thought as to the consequences of their actions. Implementing Common Core and LCFF at the same time is going to have so many unintended consequences that peoples heads are going to spin when reality hits. It will not serve the Governor or the ruling party well. … Read More

    It would be beneficial to the real job of educating students if we would get intellectuals out of the equation. The State of California implements ideas without any real thought as to the consequences of their actions. Implementing Common Core and LCFF at the same time is going to have so many unintended consequences that peoples heads are going to spin when reality hits. It will not serve the Governor or the ruling party well. The State of California is going backwards and while the priority of Jerry Browns father was the real education of every student so that California would have an educated populace, todays politicians use the public education system to steal money and then deprive students of the right to a basic education. Worse yet is the reality that California’s new funding law was not designed to provide a sufficient level of funding to educate every child- rather it is designed solely to redistribute wealth from rich communities to poor. The unintended consequence of that is to deprive EVERY student who happens to live in a wealthy area of their right to a free and basic education simply because of where they happen to live and irrespective of their individual wealth, race or ethnicity. That my friends is unconstitutional. It violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution- but who cares about educating students when we have a train to build and new entitlement programs to start. California from 9th largest economy on earth to a third world country. No water- no power- masses of poor and uneducated people. How sad for the first Governor Brown seniors legacy.

  7. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    Interesting that one of the links with today's post (above) is an article on "where school funding is least fair." They feature a discussion of conditions in Mississippi where, being a deeply "red" and non-union state, the condition of the schools is at a third world level. Deeply shameful for the wealthiest nation on Earth. All of that being said the article goes on to rand all of the sates on at least two criteria: … Read More

    Interesting that one of the links with today’s post (above) is an article on “where school funding is least fair.” They feature a discussion of conditions in Mississippi where, being a deeply “red” and non-union state, the condition of the schools is at a third world level. Deeply shameful for the wealthiest nation on Earth. All of that being said the article goes on to rand all of the sates on at least two criteria: 1) fairness of distribution (of funds); and 2) effort (of the state to provide funds). CA gets a “C” for fairness and an “F” for effort. Who is going to stand up to be rightfully held accountable for this? If not for the Governor, the teachers’ unions, and community groups supporting Prop 30 where would we be? At F-?

  8. Jim Mordecai 1 year ago1 year ago

    Lenny Mondonca's statement given below asserts that a living wage is predicated on having the skills that completing college and/or two years of technical education provide. Perhaps his statement is reflective of the corporate view from his Harvard business school indoctrination, and the McKinsey corporation management values he acquired but it is political power, and not education standards, that determine size of living-wage jobs. Weakness of unions, and control of the media and the … Read More

    Lenny Mondonca’s statement given below asserts that a living wage is predicated on having the skills that completing college and/or two years of technical education provide.

    Perhaps his statement is reflective of the corporate view from his Harvard business school indoctrination, and the McKinsey corporation management values he acquired but it is political power, and not education standards, that determine size of living-wage jobs.

    Weakness of unions, and control of the media and the political system by corporate interests inversely related to availability of living-wage jobs, not the courses offered by technical schools and colleges. And, outsourcing overseas and development of computers changes the job market but how the American power structure handles these structural changes is determined by political power not the standards of education institutions. Workers management struggle is played out with education meritocracy myth blaming worker for not having skills to deserve a living wage.

    That is why Mr. Mondonca’s quote that follows is misleading.

    “It was possible, when I was in high school, to get a living-wage job with the expectation of a good pension with a high-school education until you retire. It doesn’t work that way now. And so we have to help people gain a set of skills by completing college, or at least two years of more technically oriented training. And then we have to help people think about their career, not as one place for your life, but as having tours of duty that are two or three years in a number of places. And your job is going to change dramatically five times during the course of your life even if you’re in the same job in the same company or organization. That’s a different and harder challenge.”

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Well stated, Jim. As critical as I (not to mention Krugman and Stieglitz) often am of Germany's heavy handed role in Eurozone economic policy and stubborn affinity to austerity as the uber-solution to all things fiscal, there is an area where I highly admire them and their policies that offer a critically needed lesson for the US. Though the German economy has suffered a few hiccups they remain the industrial powerhouse of the Continent. They … Read More

      Well stated, Jim.

      As critical as I (not to mention Krugman and Stieglitz) often am of Germany’s heavy handed role in Eurozone economic policy and stubborn affinity to austerity as the uber-solution to all things fiscal, there is an area where I highly admire them and their policies that offer a critically needed lesson for the US.

      Though the German economy has suffered a few hiccups they remain the industrial powerhouse of the Continent. They did not make the same kinds of mistakes the US did that undermined the working middle-class and stripped the US of industrial capacity. One of the key reasons for this is that industry boards of directors are required by law to have a certain number of worker/union members on their decision making bodies. These boards did not allow industry to chase the lowest cost labor across the world and, therefore, did not ship overseas their industrial capacity, middle-class incomes, or economic capacity.

      The efforts beginning in the 198os to disempower unions, resulted in industrial losses that now approach a national security crisis, a diminished middle/working class, and the lack of power to drive consumption in an economy that is 70% based on consumption. Since the decision making powers in industrial policy were handed over wholesale to international corporations who care not a wit about the well-being of the US citizenry we have an employment slump slightly mediated by increases in low wage jobs.

      One political party has been able to use the Horatio Alger myth as well as emotionally driven wedge issue to keep number of the population consistently voting against their own self-interest and supporting politicians who spot propaganda about government not working in order to get elect and be congressional do-nothings and obstructions that keep government from working.

      It should be noted that the same interests today are attacking the last vestiges of middle-class union power, the teachers’ unions, to continue the national downward spiral.

      For a person working full time a living wage is a moral imperative.

  9. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    I have to say at the outset, the interview responses are overtly contradictory. But first - Children Now received a $475,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the purpose of "support for the Common Core". So let's not assume the information presented here has no bias. Are there any organizations promoting the Common Core which did not get a grant from Gates'? Mr. Mendoca says, "all (the major reforms) are happening … Read More

    I have to say at the outset, the interview responses are overtly contradictory.

    But first – Children Now received a $475,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the purpose of “support for the Common Core”. So let’s not assume the information presented here has no bias. Are there any organizations promoting the Common Core which did not get a grant from Gates’?

    Mr. Mendoca says, “all (the major reforms) are happening all at the same time.” He goes on to reinforce that everything SHOULD happen simultaneously. When John asks him if we should “Go serially, and not do it all at once,” he says no and goes on to say –

    “There’s a bunch of concerns around “How do you do the assessments right? How do you get the technology in place? What’s the real accountability system?” Those are really, really important. I think I can see a path to those. I don’t think we have any sense of how you actually develop hundreds of thousands of teachers and principals and school-board members and administrators. That is a massive exercise, and I don’t think we are 1 percent of the way to thinking that through.”

    So how do you do it all at once if you haven’t got to …”1 percent of the way to thinking that through.”

    Later in the interview he says, “Second, there is a possibility that we will have teachers overwhelmed by all these changes. Right now, they’re very supportive, and want to make it work. But if we layer all this on top of them, and don’t give them the time and space and resource and tools to improve, we are going to have a backlash. Front-line teachers are going to say, “You’re asking me to do things that are unrealistic.” And we can’t have that happen.”

    The possibility of teachers overwhelmed? Oh yea!

    All this begs the question of how you do all these things simultaneously if you’re not prepared? Everything about the Common Core and SBAC has been rushed.

    Oh well, I won’t bother with the rest of the interview. It was “enlightening” to get the perspective of an industry efficiency expert.

    Replies

    • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

      I've come to see the purpose of Common Core as enabling/encouraging/requiring teachers to teach differently. What mostly gave me that insight was watching YouTube videos of Phil Daro's presentations, so maybe that is skewed to the mathematics standards. So I was also confused by those same statements. It's almost as if he is saying California is engaged in Common Core in a minuscule fashion. But one thing I've learned from … Read More

      I’ve come to see the purpose of Common Core as enabling/encouraging/requiring teachers to teach differently. What mostly gave me that insight was watching YouTube videos of Phil Daro’s presentations, so maybe that is skewed to the mathematics standards. So I was also confused by those same statements. It’s almost as if he is saying California is engaged in Common Core in a minuscule fashion. But one thing I’ve learned from reading EdSource is inconsistencies in people’s thinking about education in the large are par for the course.

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