Accountability

By: Gary R. Carlson Ed.D.

On A Mission

As a U.S. citizen you read and view news regarding the status of many of today’s issues. During these days and times, it is difficult to decipher what is fact or fiction with the amount of information available to all of us. Information can be used to influence your decisions, thoughts, and actions. Knowing this, it is imperative to make sure we are positive with the information we receive by asking ourselves to consider the facts more than the communicator of the information. Actual information should be analyzed before any actions were taken to communicate. Today there is so much information available through social media, smart phones, and freelance reporters in that it is often reported before investigated. In the past we could rely on specific individuals to give you the facts. Now we may just be getting the information. There is one full sure result of information is that it has consequences. Actual information creates positive, negative, emotional or apathy thoughts. Without looking at the actual analysis of the information anyone of these could be without merit.

I am sure the twist on words, both vocally and in writing, can be used against any of us or associations we are actively involved. By speaking out on these issues for example, I would be coined as having a conflict of interest whereas it is not a conflict but most definitely an interest. Our schools in America have been drawn into question continually by some people who have interest in education but have no knowledge of the education process. We have become a Google society where all information exists. I would like to highlight one senator who has a huge challenge in their state with budget, taxes, and education funding. This person is one of the most frequent critics of career schools.  This senator’s attacks career schools in America in general and doesn’t see the value of career education. His state needs skilled workers. We have all heard of the statement that it is easier to be negative than positive. When someone needs to be noticed with sensationalism by using scapegoats and getting on their bandwagon provides immediate attention. Our country is one that provides a free enterprise system. Our citizens have enjoyed the freedom to use this system with the encouragement of freedom of choice. As an American citizen, I have always admired the freedom of choice by observing our society enjoying alternatives that fit their needs and desires. Education leaders have recognized the needs and desires by creating free public education, private education, sectarian, and vocational education to offer alternatives. While considering all the alternatives, not one but all of these are having to rethink their philosophies to adhere to the stipulated regulations provided by law. 

In a free enterprise system, we are aware it allows for good, bad, and ugly to exist. Be assured that those that fit into the bad and ugly will be singled out and identified. But when we ever generalize religion, race, community, education, or industry as the institution of fault and are scapegoated in history it has proven to be incorrect. Leaders of deceit and wrong doings are the individuals who are misleading. 

What has happened to the old economic rule of supply and demand. Our communities, states, and country all have needs and demands. The free enterprise system needs to have the freedom to meet the supply requirements with good common sense. Career schools from a citizen’s vantage point provides an alternative. Our education systems have in the past solved the supply needs for professional and skilled workers. By providing these alternatives we offer to our citizens the opportunities of employment, work satisfaction and the life, liberty, and freedom our forefathers so sincerely guarded. The conclusion of what we have built is not to tear down but to create, fine tune and improve our commitment for the future. 

My challenge to you the consumer, taxpayer and patriot is to start, if you haven’t already to review and study the information you may be receiving from any leader, professing both negative and positive information. You need to be the decisive user of information for all the right reasons. False leadership provides a platform of leaving a legacy behind for our next generations to clean up. Taking comments and reports from people at face value doesn’t leave much to question except the outcomes of where it has taken us. Looking at education singly, we have students experiencing school and college closures, thousands of teachers being dismissed, communities losing taxpayers, employers desperate for skilled employees and a future pathway that has destruction written all over it. Don’t be surprised when you do your research to find out many of the basis of destructive comments may lack the moral truth of the generalizing of the entire enterprise. The craft of scapegoating and sensationalism is alive and well. Recently I met a gentleman who recently moved out of Illinois because of the state budget issues. He and his family could no longer afford to live in a state that is broke and going downhill fast.  We have all been inundated with what has been called fake news. How accountable are the leaders in states where this condition continues to thrive? On the other hand, look at who their contributors are to their campaigns and see who influences their votes. One senator communicated to the entire nation that career schools are not accredited. I ask you to go to these schools’ websites and see if they are accredited. This person claims people with membership on these accrediting boards have conflict of interest by being part the school industry. How would you like a nursing board to have members of the culinary industry or tax lawyers? Have you looked at your senator or representative on how they vote in congress and see how large donors may affect outcomes. The simple solution is to become an educated citizen on who your elected officials are and how they vote which affects all those who need to know. Don’t aspire to follow on emotion alone by the rhetoric written or spoken without the facts you have gathered. 

Be careful with people who pass vendettas for proprietary schools and cast vengeance on their accreditation organizations by communicating they are not accredited. As people know this was a false statement where they are accredited in most cases by national accreditors approved by the US Department of Education. Rhetoric is used for impact No attention was given to the teachers and students education in the schools and only had a concern for proprietary schools having conflict of interest in their membership in the accreditation organizations with their votes. Campaign donations may be a conflict of interest. I will leave it up to you on how you would assess 39 million dollars donated from interest groups and how an elected official keeps their integrity when voting on issues regarding their funders. One of the U.S. Senators had a state that operated two years without a budget. This state had 250 billion dollars in pension liability. Medicaid payments were not being paid. Lottery tickets were not distributed in a state because of the lack of confidences to pay out the winning funds. This only exemplifies the issues that are carried over to the Federal government. We have bailed out entire industries and destroyed others. What was the influence that caused these decisions?

Find your congress representatives or senators and see how they stack up in your state and are they have your key interest at heart. A country that has been based on the consciousness of the importance of education at all levels creates a healthy and prosperous country. When we ignore our supply and demand education gaps become issues. Blanket statements on how to destroy which offers not well-thought-out solutions makes for false hopes from citizens who have put their trust in these leaders. You will see below just one leader who has focused on destruction for many of the alternative’s citizens have enjoyed. 

The ills of student loan debt exist at all levels and institutions. The hierarchy of education has resulted in chaos with our education institutions in the middle. 

Questions to be answered:

  1. Over regulation and equity of regulations?
  2. Education funding responsibility and equity of funding? (federal, state, local, private)?
  3. Institutions responding to supply and demand?
  4. Competency based curriculum.
  5. Faculty and teacher performance based upon fair and empirical research?
  6. Building potential out of diversity? 
  7. Standardized Test value or purpose?
  8. Personalized education (measuring from baseline intervals to outcomes?
  9. Accepting and improving online education alternatives?
  10. Gatekeepers for education excellence vs. student finances?
  11. Teacher compensation not based on number of years but on achievement.
  12. Small and large business partnerships with all levels of schools written into the curriculum?
  13. Utilizing research that highlights symptoms of innovation success and culprits that may be the enduring factors of failure?
  14. How to create a well thought out strategic plan which may be destroyed by lack of funding?

While moving forward in our great country these issues and more need to be considered and solved with the diversity of leadership that exists in all the alternatives. Track records of leadership should not be measured by media reports but should be from your sincerity to review the facts. When leaders have a big stage, we may overlook their success or it could be it has been some time since you had time to hear or see them locally. Elections are not about one or two people but are key to all of us to know why we are voting for any candidate. Know their platform and check to see they are fulfilling their promises. Your opinion and vote is a freedom we don’t want to give up. An unintelligent vote is just as bad. Please be assured you know what and who you are voting for!

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