The follow-the-schedule method public schools use is in conflict with teachers, principals and superintendents.

Every day teachers and principals are effective.

But the follow-the-schedule method is more effective, in a bad way.

Superintendents — people that we admire — are doing amazing things. Take for example Oakland Unified School District where Kyla Johnson-Trammell along with district and school staff have handed out millions of meals to students who are no longer going to school due to the pandemic. Or consider Chris Funk, superintendent of East Side High School District, who has brought in mindfulness and other healthy practices.

And yet, the follow-the-schedule method still wins, in a bad way.

The follow-the-schedule method is still winning (in a bad way) even in a "high" performing school.

San Jose Unified School District has "high" performing schools and "low" performing schools.

Here is Williams Elementary School, a "high performing" elementary school in the San Jose Unified School District.

Can a "high" performing school teach the times tables any better than a "low" performing school when students arrive already having learned the times tables?

• Any result above zero is proficient; below is not proficient. • There is a 99% chance that results will remain the same in coming years, which is to say, between the Upper and Lower Control Limits (the gray lines). • The houses with the % of students receiving a Free or Reduced Price Meal is a measure of wealth/poverty.

Williams Elementary math proficiency
Zero+ meets standard.
1% less $meal
4% less $meal
3% less $meal
4% less $meal
4% less $meal

Can a "high" performing school get students to read at grade level better than a "low" performing school when students arrive already reading two or three grades ahead of grade level?

Of course not.

The follow-the-schedule method is "winning" even in the "high" performing school by forcing students to pay attention (too often) to what they have already learned.

And here is Horace Mann Elementary, a "low performing" elementary school in the San Jose Unified School District.

Notice, that in the "high" performing school there are far fewer students eligible for a Free or Reduced Price Meal than the "low" performing school.

Can a "low" performing school effectively teach the times tables, which is next up in the follow-the-schedule method, when students arrive not having mastered addition/subtraction tables?

Can a "low" performing school get students to read material that fits into the follow-the-schedule method but that is too challenging for students where they are at? (Let's not even talk about getting students to love to read.)

Of course not.

The follow-the-schedule method is "winning" in the "low" performing school by forcing students to pay attention (too often) to what they are not ready to learn.

• Any result above zero is proficient; below is not proficient. • There is a 99% chance that results will remain the same in coming years, which is to say, between the Upper and Lower Control Limits (the gray lines). • The houses with the % of students receiving a Free or Reduced Price Meal is a measure of wealth/poverty.

Horace Mann Elementary math proficiency
Zero+ meets standard.
62% less $meal
64% less $meal
63% less $meal
65% less $meal
61% less $meal

Let's be clear: the above two schools are identical.

The same central planning department:

  • designs the same teaching schedule for Williams and Horace Mann.

    So far they are they are the same.

  • designs the same mid-year tests for Williams and Horace Mann.

    Again they are the same.

  • assigns the same textbooks for Williams and Horace Mann.

    Again they are identical.

The same human resource department:

  • hires teachers largely from the same local teacher colleges (San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, the Stanford Teacher Education Program and others).

These schools are identical because they both use the very same follow-the-schedule method invented by Frederick Winslow Taylor.

When parents in one school, more than in another, make sure their children keep up and fit-in to the one-size-fits-all schedule it seems a "high" performing school.

But it is not.

The variation is what is called a "special" or "outside" cause of variation.

To make one school or school district better than another requires (here we go again) changing the method to a better method for education.