Thursday, November 25, 2010

Hospitals Need Improvement :
....How about Seattle Schools?
Parallel Universes

Dave writes:
All human organizations have their problems and all have difficulties in rectifying them. See below for Medical Practice in Hospitals. While we wait for them to make improvements the best defense is an educated and alert consumer. Ditto for parents with kids in any school, public or private.

It sure would be nice if educated people like Tom Friedman would look a little deeper and not serve as a parrot for baloney like, “Tony Wagner, the Harvard-based education expert and author of “The Global Achievement Gap,” explains it this way. There are three basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate.”

To thrive in a knowledge economy our children, first and foremost, need knowledge. If more people had more knowledge maybe we would see fewer events like the current financial crisis with so many bogus mortgages written. Maybe we wouldn’t have had the Gulf Oil spill. Maybe we wouldn’t have seen two space shuttles destroyed. Maybe the 787 wouldn’t be three years late. Maybe people would see through the bogus claims of Tony Wagner who don’t know how to teach basic math and writing knowledge/skills to low-income kids but would have us believe he and others like him are certain students need the 3 C’s and that they have any idea how to teach those skills. It’s a classic “change the subject” tactic.

Friedman would do better to spend less time rubbing elbows with the elites and more time in early elementary school classrooms so he wouldn’t get snookered by the “Harvard-based education experts” of the world.

From this NY Times article:

(1) Efforts to make hospitals safer for patients are falling short.

(2) Harm to patients was common and that the number of incidents did not decrease over time.

(3) The most common problems were complications from procedures or drugs and hospital-acquired infections.

(4) Medical mistakes caused as many as 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries a year in the United States.

(5) Among the preventable problems .... were:
A.. severe bleeding during an operation,
B.. serious breathing trouble caused by a procedure that was performed incorrectly,
C.. a fall that dislocated a patient’s hip and damaged a nerve, and
D.. vaginal cuts caused by a vacuum device used to help deliver a baby.

(6) Programs to improve patient safety.....

But instead of improvements, the researchers found a high rate of problems.
A.. About 18 percent of patients were harmed by medical care, some more than once, and B.. 63.1 percent of the injuries were judged to be preventable.

(7) The findings were a disappointment but not a surprise.
Many of the problems were caused by the hospitals’ failure to:
A.. use measures that had been proved to avert mistakes and to prevent infections

“Until there is a more coordinated effort to implement those strategies proven beneficial, I think that progress in patient safety will be very slow,”

(8) An expert on hospital safety who was not associated with the study said the findings were a warning for the patient-safety movement. “We need to do more, and to do it more quickly,”

134,000 patients — experienced “adverse events” during hospital stays. The report said the extra treatment required as a result of the injuries could cost Medicare several billion dollars a year.

The researchers found 588 instances in which a patient was harmed by medical care, or 25.1 injuries per 100 admissions.

(9) Not all the problems were serious. Most were temporary and treatable.

For the most part, the reporting of medical errors or harm to patients is voluntary, and that “vastly underestimates the frequency of errors and injuries that occur,”

(10) “We need a monitoring system that is mandatory,”

The bottom line, he said, “is that preventable complications are way too frequent in American health care, and “it’s not a problem we’re going to get rid of in six months or a year.”

(11) The study made clear the difficulty in improving patients’ safety.

it was essential that hospitals be more open about reporting problems.

“What we know works in a general sense..... Right now you ought to be able to know the infection rate of every hospital in your community.”

For hospitals with poor scores, there should be consequences.

Seattle Schools a parallel Universe

(1) Efforts to improve student learning are falling short.

(2) As students progress through school, the percentage of skill deficient students increases.
{grade 3 math = 15% far below basic.... grade 10 math = 31% far below basic and in addition 7% no score}

(3) The most common problems are compounded by a lack of efficient effective interventions applied in a timely manner.

(4) Failure to provide effective interventions is confirmed by a 30+% drop out rate and high remediation rates for graduates entering post secondary programs.

(5) Among the preventable problems .... were:

A.. those caused by excessive use of minimally guided instruction

B.. an emphasis on process which neglected the learning of significant content and skills

C.. a failure to provide timely meaningful interventions

D.. ongoing failure to make evidence based decisions in regard to instructional materials and practices

E.. Continued use of faulty programs due to a failure to evaluate programs or the disconnection from results when evaluating the success of existing programs

F.. District's failure to realize that for anyone to become an expert in any meaningful activity requires effort and guided practice.

{To effectively think outside the Box ... it helps to know what is in the Box}

(6) Programs to improve student learning were attempted especially efforts to close Achievement Gaps

But instead of improvements, OSPI annual testing revealed:

A.. Large declines in Writing scores (Writers' Workshop has been emphasized)

B.. Continually widening Achievement Gaps in mathematics (except in middle school in 2010)

C.. Special Education Students, Limited English Speaking Students, and American Indian Students seem particularly ill served during the second full year of the Strategic Plan "Excellence for All".

(7) After three years of Dr, Goodloe-Johnson, the findings were a disappointment but not a surprise.

Many of the problems were caused by the Central Administration's and School Board's failure to:
A.. use evidence before making proposals and evaluate proposals through the use of evidence.

“Until there is a more coordinated effort to implement those instructional materials and practices proven to be effective in a coordinated way, strategies proven beneficial, any improvement in student learning will be very slow,”

(8) An expert on student learning who was not associated with the Seattle Central Administrative cabal said the findings were a warning for All Students and Parents. “We need much better instructional materials and practices with timely effective interventions quickly provided.”

Of every 45,000 students passing through the system approximately 15,000 are so severely effected by “adverse events” during their school years that they fail to graduate. The extra treatment in the form of post high school remediation is costly but the costs rest on the student and/or student's family not the Seattle Schools.

The researchers are finding that the high percentages of students unable to score above far below basic on OSPI annual tests are normally not reflected in those same students' course grades.

Particularly disturbing: Many 8th graders that scored "Far Below Basic" in 8th grade math were placed in the category "Ready for High School Math" on recently issued school report cards.

(9) Not all the problems were serious. Most would have been temporary if treated.

For the most part, the Strategic Plan despite increased spending is a colossal flop, that “vastly underestimates the District's failure to serve students and families.”

(10) “We need a monitoring system that can be productively used. Teacher judgment has been gradually replaced by high tech gizmos yet few if any effective interventions are provided in a timely manner.” The materials used in many k-8 subjects make providing meaningful interventions very difficult. A chaotic spiraling as in Everyday Math makes skill development very difficult.

The bottom line, “is that disruption to student learning may always occur, that's life, but the Chaotic Instructional approach to student learning in Seattle and actions of the School Board and Administration have been noticed by the State Auditor and are the subject of frequent legal action" and “it’s not a problem we’re going to get rid of until Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson leaves.

(11) The results made clear the difficulty in improving student learning under Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson.

It was essential that the school system be more open about reporting problems and stop the frequent deception of the public.

We know works in a general sense..... to improve student learning but the Board and the Central Administration refuse to use practices known to bring about improvement.”

For any ineffective Superintendent who deceives the public and violates laws, there should be consequences.

"What's Up" with the School Board directing the Superintendent? The School Board has seven directors and it has one employee, how can supervision be such a big problem?

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