Education & Economics: Welcome Mr. President

Go Lean Commentary

CU Blog - Education and Economics - Welcome Mr. President - Photo 4

There is a concept in the field of Econometrics and Statistics, that numbers can tell any lie. Proponents and opponents can look at the same numbers and draw different conclusions. Consider:

An 8-ouce glass with 4 ounces of water.
It is half full.
It is half empty.

So while numbers can be a source of great debate in the planning and forecasting process, there comes the time where the “rubber meets the road”, where there is no more planning or interpretation, it is just reality; it then becomes this scenario:

“It is what it is”.

This is the reality facing the Detroit Metro-area School District for Farmington, Michigan. This week was back-to-school, the start of a new academic school year, and the reality is:

There are not enough students and too many schools.

What’s a community to do?

See the VIDEO here:

VIDEO #1 Title: Farmington Hills school district weighs closures –

Detroit, MI – The Farmington Hills school district says it has too much space and too few students.

This news report aligns with the movement promoting the book Go Lean … Caribbean. The publication took an assessment of the Caribbean’s economic, security and governing engines and then declared … a crisis! The same as the Detroit-area is in crisis after decades of societal decline in their societal engines; to the point that there are now not enough students to fill the class rooms. The Caribbean is suffering a similar fate of dysfunction. The schools buildings in the Farmington District are still there; the teachers are still hired, (under labor contracts); the school buses still roam the city for pick-up and drop-off; food supplies still have to be delivered, prepared and served to the available students. But now there are less of them, and less monies accordingly. (The State of Michigan, like most US States, provides education grants to each school district based on the number of students).

This is the case in Metropolitan Detroit, Michigan USA. The publishers of the book Go Lean…Caribbean are here to “observe and report” the turn-around and rebirth of the once-great-but-now-distressed City of Detroit and its metropolitan area. The foregoing article/VIDEO relates to topics that are of serious concern, demographics of the community. The numbers cannot be ignored! Declining populations are a problem and the consequences are dire.

School closures are only one symptom.

This is a lesson for the Caribbean!

Problems like “brain drain”, “retiring baby-boomers”, “having less babies”, “education policy” are all very relevant for the societal concerns of the any community, including the Caribbean.

This latter point – education policy – is the focus of this commentary. (College education in particular).

This is a concern for Detroit and other American cities. To the extent that US President Barack Obama came to Detroit, yesterday (September 9, 2015) to advocate for a change in government policy for education. Mr. Obama recognizes that there is the need to re-boot the American tertiary education eco-system to better adapt to the changing workplace and job markets. Without the ability to supply the market with the labor force being demanded, communities will just continue to lose out on population growth and economic growth. The situation would go from good … to bad, to worse, to Detroit. 🙁

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This is why the President was here (Metro Detroit) in January, and again yesterday. See the VIDEO here of his September 9th visit:

VIDEO  #2 Title: Obama touts retraining, reinvention in Warren speech –

Detroit, MI – President Barack Obama touted retraining and reinvention in his speech at Macomb Community College.

We need to apply these lessons in the Caribbean. Education policy has been devastating for this region. Rather than the usual gains, we have experienced declines due to the implementation of education policy in the region. This point has been echoed in many previous Go Lean blog/commentaries. See sample here: For-Profit Education: Plenty of Profit; Little Education Extracurricular Music Programs Boost Students Ann Arbor: Model for ‘Start-up’ Cities Role Model: Innovative Educator Ron Clark FAMU is No. 3 for Facilitating Economic Opportunity Is a Traditional 4-year Degree a Terrible Investment?

This commentary is a big proponent for the Caribbean of the type of education reform being touted by President Obama. But this commentary is a big opponent of Caribbean stakeholders leaving their homeland to matriculate in these American schools. Our track record cannot be ignored, for far too often, our Caribbean students have not returned, contributing further to our brain drain and societal abandonment problem. We need this Obama-promoted education reform, but we need it in the Caribbean, for the Caribbean.

Change has now come. The driver of this change is technology and globalization. Under the tenants of globalization, the conflict is a Trade War. There are offensive and defensive battles. Caribbean institutions must be able to attract foreign students to study in the region, not just have local students study abroad. Otherwise, we can never compete in this education trade wars. It will be all “give” and no “take” for us.

How do we re-boot the region’s education eco-systems for this Trade War?

The Go Lean roadmap provides turn-by-turn directions on reforming the Caribbean tertiary education systems, economy, governance and Caribbean society as a whole. The roadmap commences with a Declaration of Interdependence, pronouncing the approach of regional integration (Page 12 & 14) as a viable solution to elevate the region’s educational opportunities:

xix.    Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores

xxi.    Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvii.    Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

This book Go Lean… Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This represents change for the region. The CU/Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean book details how education is a vital consideration for Caribbean economic empowerment, but with lessons-learned from all the flawed decision-making by the Caribbean in the past and from other communities like Detroit. The vision of the CU is a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to do the heavy-lifting of championing better educational policies. The book details those policies (like online learning; forgive-able student loans), the community ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to succeed in the education reform quest in the region:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI) Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Help Entrepreneurship Page 28
Strategy – Mission – Facilitate Education without Risk of Abandonment Page 45
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Education Department Page 85
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Labor Department – Job Training Page 89
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Planning – Lessons Learned from Detroit Page 140
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education – Online Options Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Student Loans – Forgive-able Options Page 160
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Better Managed the Social Contract – Education Optimizations Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Libraries Page 187
Appendix – Education and Economic Growth Page 258
Appendix – Measuring Education Page 266

The US is the world’s largest Single Market economy and yet they are failing in some communities, i.e. Detroit. Let’s learn from this… and do better.

We want to only model some of the American example. We want to foster a education climate to benefit the Greater Good of the Caribbean, and not repeat bad mistakes.

Those are the lessons from Detroit and the Caribbean past.

It is time now to graduate from this “school … of thought”. It is time to lean-in to the reform, re-boot and empowerments described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean. It is time to work to make the Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work, learn and play.  🙂

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

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