Saturday, January 15, 2011

What If Schools Taught Real Workplace Behavior?

Yearbook Photo
Despite my objections; even as I went kicking and screaming, I had a great high school education.  My teachers would attest I was not a good student. In fact some would snicker at even being asked. However some valuable information has been retained for these last 58 years.  When compared with those colleagues I work with that are less than half my age, I am puzzled; did they graduate school or just tunnel out to escape?  I can prove this.  Ask any 20 year old what is MMIX.  They will look at you curiously and state it sounds like a new AP for their iPhone

I've worked in the health care industry, the retail industry and for the past decade in the corporate industry and I have come to the conclusion schools need a change in strategy to prepare students for life in the real world. With that said, I am going to propose some ideas, or as business calls them; goals.

I became aware of my surroundings during the Cold War years.  This was after I figured out there was no actual Cold War, except for the conflict in Korea that was not allowed to be called a War.  There was no actual Iron Curtain, although I was told there was one.
The United States were the good guys and the Soviet Union were the bad guys. They were the enemy, commies or the evil red empire.  One of the few ideals that evolved from Soviet Communism was the Five Year Plan.  Lenin, Stalin and Kruschev and their evil henchmen all relied on Five Year Plans to establish goals.

Corporate America must of all had their ears pricked up, since they all adopted Five Year Plans, never mind the fact the Soviet Union was failing to meet the needs of its population and eventually self-destructed.

It is my belief that America must change it's primary and secondary school models to prepare students for life in corporate America.  I therefore suggest The Corporate School Model for grades K - 12.

Soviet 5 year plan poster
To model the goals of corporate America, it's schools need a Five Year Plan.  To arrive at a Five Year Plan, students and educators need to decide which students and educators are worthy and which are not.  Those distinguished as worthy will be judged on the following criteria:

Youth, Appearance, Health and Size.  Essentially what this means is those that appear to be old or merely look old, unattractive or physically damaged, those who are in poor health and those who are overweight and those who are too tall and not able to play sports are unworthy and will be designated as Minions.

Those who appear to be youthful and have retained a pleasing appearance, the beautiful, the handsome, those with no physical impairment and great hair and those that are not considered to be too damned fat will rise to the top as Delegates and Overseers.

To function like a corporation, the delegates and overseers will attend many meetings. Meetings are the soul of the corporate world.  Meetings are where decisions are made and decisions are discarded.

The more tenured of the Delegates make the decisions and direct the Overseers to instruct their minions to carry out the Five Year Plan.

The decisions should be made on this model of the Five Year Plan.

  • Year One - Design the plan  
  • Year Two - Implement the first stage of the plan by having the overseers instruct their minions and insure the minions are following the instruction.  
  • Year Three - Evaluate which aspects of the plan are necessary and which are unnecessary.  
  • Year Four - Rid the plan of the unneeded provisions, change the model and let the overseers will instruct minions on how to implement the change.  
  • Year Five - Decide the entire five year plan is a failure.  Place the blame on the most tenured delegates, (most of whom have graduated by now, left the school or have gone on to administration positions). Any delegates remaining must transfer to a different school. The rest of the year will be spent brainstorming the new Five Year Plan.

Another vital criteria for the corporate school model is behavior.  There will be acceptable behavior for each of the three classes of students and teachers.

  • Delegates should only rarely engage in conversation with minions.  If they do they must be respectful of the lowest caste, avoid touching them and limit eye contact.  Answer their questions, but if any of the minions remarks are controversial let them know you will have to pose that at the next meeting.  Email them at a later date thanking them for their thoughtful concern. Ignore their concern.

  • Overseers must interact with the minions on a daily basis, so engaging them is imminent.  Be friendly, but not close.  Be certain to imply your camaraderie with other Overseers is more important than your relationship to your minions.  Answer the minions questions by making them feel unworthy of your vast wealth of knowledge.  If your vast wealth of knowledge is unable to answer a question, never...I repeat never use the phrase, "I don't know."  Ignore your minion by telling them, "I'll get back with you on that. I can't be interrupted now. I have an important meeting to go to."  After obtaining the answer from another Overseer, email your minion and thank them for their concern. Do not belittle a minion.

  • Minions are the task-doers and order-takers. They should continually be made aware of this fact.  These are the ones who actually implement the schools five year plan, but will be seated in the last row at graduation.  To prepare them for life in the post graduate world be certain they should be aware of their lowly place in the schools eschelon.

In the United States we vote to elect leaders.  But as the U.S is a republic, the top leaders are not elected by popular vote.  The President is elected by an electoral college, while other leaders are appointed.  The corporate world appoints their leaders. If there is a vote it is done by proxy, which is a bother and ignored by most shareholders.  Therefore the corporate school model should appoint its leaders.

The election for class president has become passe.  The most popular kid usually won it anyway.  The outgoing Delegates should be those who decide on their replacement to mirror the model of the corporate world.

Administration of the corporate school model should serve as Guardians. Their responsibility should lie in financial matters, fund raising and keeping the process running smoothly.  They should only interact with the Delegates, although it is recommended the Guardians occasionally make their presence known by walking amongst the school population, acknowledging Overseers and minions with eye contact and a nod of the head.

By adopting this policy the rate of those dropping out of school early, serving detention for insubordinate behavior or announcing the family's dog ate their homework will surely decrease.

I know because it is my Five Year Plan.

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