UPDATE: Today’s Sun announced that Laconia took him off our hands. Woo-hoo!
Today’s Laconia Daily Sun is running a piece that Gilford’s current Curriculum Director, Steve Tucker, put his hat into the School Super’s ring and is now in the top two for selection. While he held a similar position in Laconia before coming to Gilford, my take on him applying is just go. In my eyes and upon his confirmation of his methodology of “curriculum development”, I’d rather see him in the town next door rather than here. Why?
Two budget seasons ago (since we just completed the most recent on), I sat in on the sub-committee that had his position included. Being an engineer and former researcher, I innocently asked what I thought was a foundational question:
What difference did it do and did it work better than what it replaced?
Deer in headlights. Asked another way, “so how are you measuring whether any new curriculum is better than what it replaced?“. As in this, from that post:
We’re spending a lot of taxpayer monies on new programs. What metrics do you establish to set a baseline for Program A and what do you use for metrics for Program B against which to compare the two for better, worse, or no difference?
And we went back and forth – it just seemed to be a totally foreign idea – I don’t think he had ever confronted the subject before. Silly me, being an engineer and former biologist – we ALWAYS have a control and an experimental group. We ALWAYS had ideas about “what do we have, what do we want to accomplish, and how to measure the differences?”. You can’t measure what you can’t quantify and you can’t quantify what you don’t think about upfront. Will this new machine make a difference – what is your result? Is it a better ROI than the current process? Does it yields higher productivity? How about better quality (the question that actually applies here)? Can it give us functionality / flexibility / results that we can’t accomplish now?
I leave you with more from my second post on how Steve Tucker conducted his testing on new versus current curriculum:
…What you essentially just told me was that “we are spending thousands of dollars – and we have no clue”. You have no analysis and no prediction of outcome.
Tell me, sir, what did you put in place so that you could directly correlate the changes brought about by Program B from a baseline derived in Program A? DO you have charts showing the results? What are some of the the predefined metrics that should have been established for previous changes / revamps – and what were the objective measurable B to A changes? You DO have those, right, over a baseline spanning at least two years? A couple of charts, backed up with actual data, would be quite helpful.
Otherwise, plainly speaking, you’re just spitting into the wind and wasting taxpayer monies doing it. Right now, unless you can prove to me later, you have no rigorous standards in place in which to judge what the “next fad” (because without careful planning and metrics, that’s all you are doing is playing “Fad Merry-Go-Round”.
So why would we give you more money?
And while these words were aimed at Gilford Superindent Beitler, they apply even more to Steve Tucker. After all, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE HIS DEPARTMENT, right? If he can’t do the job with even a minimal amount of measurement, how is he going to provide good data to Laconia? If this is the rigor that Steve Tucker brings to Laconia, I say “Buh-Bye”. Better spending money uselessly there than here.
Which reminds me – I ought to start asking those same questions again because I still don’t have any decent answers and Gilford taxpayers are still spending for no measurable results – just another set of faddish educ- dribble that they can’t prove works or not other than soap marketing slogans: New! And Improved!
(Image H/T: Laconia Daily Sun)