Proving once again that current education policy and programs have made satire nearly impossible, The Common Core Institute brings us the notion of black belt certification for teacher leaders. These people bill themselves as a “leading provider of professional development, coaching, and training services for schools.” They invite educators to join them for a full day of “formative data, data-driven decision making and school improvement. . . .” And black belt certification.
Of course it seems entirely fitting that the folks at The Common Core Institute would lift this notion of black belt management from the corporate culture destroyer who made it popular, Jack Welch. Welch was affectionately known as Neutron Jack, for his policy of getting rid of employees at General Electric while leaving the buildings intact. After his retirement from GE, New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein tagged Welch as chief advisor to a new academy to train principals. Caroline Kennedy, then-chair of the city schools fundraising effort,, said corporate heads were eager to chip in $30 million here and there for this venture. The academy’s much-heralded chief executive Robert E. Knowling Jr, with an MBA in business from Northwestern, tried to implement Welch’s 10% firing principle but quickly moved on to another job. There’s no evidence to back up the story that he was run out on a rail, but he did leave the state.
In Jack: Straight From The Gut, Welch states that GE had 411,000 employees at the end of 1980, and 299,000 at the end of 1985. At the time, I lived in Schenectady, New York, which proudly billed itself the GE City. I watched Jack Welch destroy the city by relocating thousands to the Sun Belt and overseas. In At Any Cost: Jack Welch, General Electric, and the Pursuit of Profit we learn that in a perfect business world, companies would have their manufacturing plants on barges, so they could move them around the world looking for the cheapest labor.
In any case, Bill Gates picked up on Welch’s policy of firing 10% of the GE managers every year, feeling such a policy keeps everybody on their toes. Maybe Gates’ next plan will be to put all poor urban kids on barges, so they can be moved around the world looking for the best teachers.
The Black Belt strategy, known as Six Sigma, was developed by Motorola but made famous by Welch when he began to use it at General Electric. You can get a bland sort of description at Wikipedia, where you see Master Black Belts acting as in-house coaches, responsible for seeing that everybody toes the line. Wikipedia describes it as “ensuring consistent application of Six Sigma across various functions and departments.” In schools we will see it as making sure people stick to those Common Core directives. According to Wikipedia, Black Belts “devote 100% of their time focusing on project execution.”
Execution seems like a fine word here. Execution of the workforce isn’t discussed but stay tuned as this Black Belt strategy gains a foothold in schools. Clearly, once teachers find out what the Bill Gates/Arne Duncan Common Core imperative entails, schools will need Black Belts roaming the halls and devoting 100% of their time focusing on project execution.
A lot of outfits offer Black Belt certification, but folks at Ohio State University Fisher College of Business complain that most of it isn’t legitimate. They offer Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Overview. Cost: $10,000 . This makes the Common Core Institute Black Belt Certification for Teachers seem like a real bargain. But please note that there is an additional fee to get those graduate credits from USC.
What is Common Core Black Belt Certification for Teachers?
Here’s what the sellers claim:
Building on best practices for sustainable change and capacity building, the Common Core Black Belt Program is a multi-resource approach that uses online lectures, on-site practicums, print and software to take each participant from theory to practice in a 47-week course. The certification builds internal expertise on various components of Common Core State Standards, so you can sustain your efforts without the use of expensive outside consultants.
The Black Belt Certification Program creates Common Core experts within your own school district through continuous in-depth learning opportunities. Experts from the Common Core Institute and the Center for College and Career Readiness will be by your side for the entirety of the program.
And continuing education units (CEU) or graduate credits are offered through the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education.
The University of Southern California has acknowledged the comprehensive body of work involved in the Common Core Black Belt Certification program, and as a result, they are recognizing 100 hours of instructional participation for those who complete Common Core Black Belt Certification.
Get 4 buddies to sign up with you and the cost is reduced to $2,750.
Please note: CEU and College Credit costs, travel, lodging and other expenses related to the Black Belt Certification Sessions are not included in Tuition. Meaning USC wants money if you want them to award you graduate credits.
Common Core Lesson Planner $25
There is no mention of who’s running this outfit, but if you go to their “partner organization,” is the Center for College and Career Readiness, then it becomes clear. Here is a list of the personnel there, including very abbreviated bios. You can get the whole nine yards here
Kevin Baird, Chairman & Senior Faculty, MBA in Global Management, Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology. “Mr. Baird consults, trains and leads graduate-level courses, including the Common Core Black Belt Certification program”
Michael J. Rush, Executive Director & Senior Faculty, Masters degree from Ball State University in 1977 and conducted advanced degree work at Purdue University in curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in gifted education. “Mr. Rush worked for the Indiana Department of Education in the area of Innovative Education and as the consultant for educational technology. Mr. Rush was a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education, evaluating projectswhich were seeking dissemination grants. For two years Mr. Rush was a consultant for the Children’s Television Workshop supporting the development and promotion of educational programs.”
Larry Hahn, Executive Director at the Common Core Institute & Senior Faculty. “One of his earliest accomplishments included becoming the youngest principal in Texas at the age of 24. Larry led the way in helping raise student achievement throughout 13 years as a school administrator, which included a remarkable increase of 32% in reading test scores in just two year’s time.”
Janet Rummel, Vice President for Common Core Services, NE. Lead facilitator of the Indiana Department of Education Curriculum Mapping Initiative, co-facilitator and co-creator of Indiana Transition Professional development series for the Common Core State Standards leadership team. Masters of Science in Education from Purdue University.
Mark Truitt, Vice President for Common Core Services, SE. As executive board member of the Coalition of Essential Schools Florida, “Mr. Truitt has orchestrated the organization and opening of three schools, including one complete laptop environment. He presently teaches and supervises education interns at the college level.” Consultant for College Board.
Donna McCaw, Vice President for Common Core Services, Midwest. Doctorate from ISU in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis is literacy. Co-author Accountability for Results: The Realities of Data-Driven Decision Making “Topics of interest and expertise include: curriculum, instruction, assessment, literacy, program evaluation, continuous improvement cycles, grant writing, interpersonal skills and implementing change.”
Doug E. Luffborough, Vice President for Common Core Services, West. Business and Human Resources Management degree. Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in Administration. “His core values and belief in faith, discipline, action, and hard work led to special appearances at the Fleet Center (formerly the Boston Garden), the White House, the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, and the Crystal Cathedral’s “Hour of Power” television broadcast, to mention a few.”