PRESIDENT BIDEN AS SEEN FROM A HUMBLE PERSON’S PERSPECTIVE FROM THE CARIBBEAN.

By COURTENAY BARNETT

We all can breathe a sigh of relief that Donald Trump is no longer in the White House. Yes, but I am now a bit older than in 2008 when Obama made his way in for a first in Presidential history and along with many others I then felt a sense of satisfaction that America had finally moved on. However, reality did set in as the events unfolded. 

This time around there is no real thrill nor anything but a willingness to make a calm and less than enthusiastic assessment of what America really faces. I think I can categorise into three sections – the knowns – the unknowns – and the in-betweens 

Knowns 

America faces an unprecedented combination of challenges. On the economic front if one is to remove  the blinders, then the country is comparable to 1930s depression days challenges; on the cultural and political front the country is deeply divided – if only one considers the need to have thousands of troops and disinvite the public at large from celebrating the inauguration of their new president; and on the health and medical front America finds that it has had more people who have died from covid-19 than soldiers lost in all of World War 11. These ‘knowns’ are  more than a handful for any President – but there are more to the ‘knowns’ . 

Biden will ( rather already has) reversed via Executive Orders a significant list of Trump era policies.  

Unknowns 

There are big issue items for Biden to deal with and these can be but guessed at right now. Troops will remain in Afghanistan and in northern Syria. There may be some reversal on the excesses of Israel in seeking to have East Jerusalem as the unified capital and on-going settlement expansions ( maybe Biden  will seek to rein in these provocations). He is unlikely to comment on the recent Apartheid law which reserves certain offices for Jews only. The fundamental support of the US for Israel will not change otherwise. At a guess the Biden will return to the Iran deal. I assume that Biden will want to restore the Obama era rapprochement with Cuba. 

In- betweens 

I can but gawk at the US approach towards Venezuela in seeking to dictate to the Venezuelan people who should be their president as chosen by the US for them. It remains to be seen whether or not Biden will move in the direction of less bullying towards Venezuela. Note – I said ‘less bullying’ – for I still anticipate bullying to continue – only question is to what degree.  

With regards to China, Biden being a rational person, I assume, will not pursue Trump’s trade war but instead will seek to engage in negotiations with China over trade rules.  

Overall 

It is the economy and the structural instability which is America’s present really big challenge. I do not see or anticipate Biden doing here what is logical and necessary ( albeit overall I see him as a rational and sensible man). America knows its problem of having a massive deficit and permitting the military-industrial complex to command almost half of its entire budget. The latter exacerbates the former. Yet, each new president continues down that path which  serves well to worsen the overall economic problem. What Biden will do is pump in a massive stimulus package which will serve well to boost the economy and improve the jobs situation.  

My approach would be a 1930s form of stimulus from bottom up; Biden, at a guess, will be closer to a Obama 2008 top down form of injection of funds.  

So there – that is how I see it. 

Congratulations President Biden! 

________________________________________

COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He has published numerous articles in the Effective Learning Report. He lives and works in the Caribbean

A TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS OF EARTHIAN HISTORY — PART ONE

By RICHARD JOHN STAPLETON

Most of this essay was recently published in the Effective Learning Report in The Earthian —21. About seventy people read it, which was a relatively high number for ELR articles. Given that the major mission of the ELR is to educate humans around Spaceship Earth, hopefully publishing some of this content again with some new content under a new title will pick up a few more readers.

Here’s to all Georgians: Vote for Ossoff and Warnock tomorrow, January 5, 2021. Enough is Enough!

Unbelievable. I never heard about anything like this before, happening yesterday. I listened about one hour to Trump in a telephone call last night browbeat and threaten the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Governor using churlish demeaning street language, with his mealy mouth lawyers protecting and backing him up, ganging up on the Georgia Secretary of State and his lawyers, squelching them, with one harangue, tirade, psychological threat, and flight of fancy after another, riddled with lies.

Much of what Trump said was scurrilous and unprovable, but in the attack Trump psychologically insulted and demeaned the Georgia Secretary of State and threatened the secretary and his family with bodily harm, not overtly socially saying he would do the secretary or his family bodily harm but psychologically implying the secretary and his family were in danger of harm by angry Trump supporters, “notifying” the secretary he was in danger because of not overturning the election for Trump.

The bottom line is that Trump lost the 2020 USian presidential election fair and square by seven million popular votes nationwide; but he magically thinks if he can overturn just one state by force that will be enough to override the whole election thanks to the insane USian electoral college…when if Biden supporters had done for Biden what Trump supporters did for Trump digging up quasi-plausible evidence of voter fraud in various states they could have found just as much quasi-plausible evidence of voter fraud working against Biden as Trump.

Yet this monster of a president and some of his radical right supporters would have you believe there was zero voter fraud working to Trump’s advantage, and to them the only possibility is that this poor little innocent Lord Fauntleroy of a president was seriously picked on and cheated by bullies. And they magically think if only the Georgia Secretary of State will just “find” poor Donald eleven thousand or so fraud votes he can stay in office.

Just when you think USian culture can’t sink any lower it takes another nosedive.

Here’s the leaked telephone conversation posted yesterday for your listening education furnished by the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-transcript-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/2768e0cc-4ddd-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html.

Ego states are states of being including thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, feelings, gestures, body language, and other signals determining how people come across with others in communication episodes, whether parent-like, adult-like, or child-like, in all kinds of situations.  People switch ego states depending on who they are communicating with and what sort of circumstances they are in, whether they are parenting, working, socializing, teaching, having fun, playing Games, or whatever.  They transmit messages from three ego states in themselves to three ego states in others in pair vectors, Parent-Parent, Adult-Adult, Child-Child, Parent-Child, Child-Adult, Adult-Parent, or whatever possibility.  These transactions are especially meaningful in situations in which there is some sort of authoritarian system involved, such as parents parenting children in homes, teachers teaching students in schools, or bosses bossing subordinates in a business or political organization, which normally entail primarily Parent-Child transactions. In general however the more Adult-Adult transactions there are the better things go in families, schools, businesses, and political organizations. 

Here is a passage from my book Business Voyages, pp 167-168, presenting an overview of psychological Games:

“When psychological Games are going on, psychological transactions are being conducted simultaneously with the social level, overt transactions. Ulterior, non-verbal hooks exist.The straight spoken messages are transmitted on the solid vectors. The ulterior messages are transmitted in a non-spoken covert way on the dotted-line vectors. Psychological Game players seek various payoffs for their Games. Many attempt to make fools of their mark or target. They may seek a payoff of triumph or one-upmanship. Some seek payoffs of justifiable anger, dejection, humiliation, etc. Some games are self-debasing. Games involve basic dishonesties of various sorts. Game players pretend reality is not as it is. Discounting occurs. A discount is any act that has the effect of reducing the significance of objects, events, people, problems, or possible solutions to problems (Schiff & Schiff, 1971). When people “cut one another down,” they are discounting one another and are playing games. If you “feel in your gut” someone is belittling you or is trying to make a fool out of you in some way, chances are you are being lured into a psychological game.

“The Drama Triangle, invented by Stephen Karpman, MD (1968), is probably the best Game detector available. Psychological Games are designed to create drama strokes. What creates drama, in soap operas, movies, stage plays, etc., as in real life, is the existence of Persecutors, Rescuers, and Victims. What makes movies, soap operas, and other dramatic episodes dramatic is the existence of some poor helpless damsel in distress who must be rescued from some heinous villain by some knight in shining armor. Or a fairy godmother must rescue some poor dwarf from an evil witch living deep in the forest, or some such. Some people still like to act out these sorts of roles on the stage of life. If you find yourself being chased around a Drama Triangle as a Persecutor, Rescuer, or Victim, you are in a psychological Game. It is possible there are real good guys and bad guys and helpless victims in some situations. Where real problem situations exist due to scarce economic resources, etc., people compete out of necessity and may not be involved in psychological games. But when people start unnecessary competitions because they are bored, or need strokes or recognition, or want to be parented properly, or want to be in a superior or inferior position, they start Games and create the Game drama roles. A psychological game is a fake war.”

Script messages are transmitted socially and psychologically as I have shown and explained with diagrams in my books. Unfortunately I have not shown one of these diagrams in this blog, having not taken the time to get jpeg pictures of them made to get them posted to my computer desktop to download into this WordPress program. Ah, the joys of desktop publishing. Yeah, right, I probably am a little lazy. If you want to see what a transactional analysis script diagram looks like right now scroll to the top of this page and click on ELR Editor’s Daily Shares. You can see a picture of a TA script diagram in the assemblage of pictures on the left of the page that will pop up, having been accepted by my Facebook program in a non-jpeg format.

A TA life script diagram shows the three stacked Parent, Adult, and Child ego state circles representing parent, adult, and child ego states for each parent and child. The solid lines in the diagram denote overt spoken social messages and dotted lines denote covert psychological unspoken ulterior messages.  Social messages are verbalized overt auditory messages; psychological messages are covert non-spoken ulterior messages transmitted by body language, emotional states, and after the fact positive or negative stroking as people react to situations and feel and do things.

Scripts in families are created automatically when parents transmit various messages to their children from various ego states socially and psychologically, in and out of awareness.  Scripts are life plans generally decided before the age of eight by offspring based on script messages transmitted to them by their parents and others.  Since parents by and large transmit the same script messages that were transmitted to them before they were eight years old script messages in families can remain intact for many generations.  According to transactional analysts script decisions made before the age of eight have lasting effects determining three general life outcomes:  winner, loser, and non-winner.  These decisions can be redecided and updated later in life but it’s not easy for most people. 

Psychological Child-Child ego state script injunctions are what cause the most trouble for people in their lives.  Script injunctions forbid appropriate behavior in the here and now. Script injunctions are caused by emotional and behavioral requirements created by families through time as they adapted to and coped with problems and environmental forces that may have been appropriate in past environments, but which are inappropriate in here and now more benign and hospitable environments. 

Opposing script messages transmitted by parents can put a child in a Not-OK bind in childhood and throughout adolescence, assuming a divorce has not already occurred, causing considerable trouble within a family, since the child cannot please both parents in the presence of both parents. This Catch-22 can put parents in worse Not-OK positions vis-a-vis each other if the child makes a social or psychological level decision about which parent is right, increasing Not-OKness in the family system as a whole, including the child.  

What many people need is psychological permission to violate and ignore their psychological outdated obsolete family Child ego state script message Injunctions, not only to increase their own OKness but the OKness of all living members of the family system, and the OKness of Earthian humans in general, for that matter.

Two common family script Injunctions in most cultures are Don’t Think about the true nature and causes of states of affairs and Don’t Feel certain feelings, such as glad, mad, sad, or scared, when certain things happen in certain environments.

Joe Biden at least socially comes across projecting an I’m OK—You’re OK life position. Donald Trump unfortunately comes across socially and psychologically projecting an I’m OK, my buddy is OK, nothing else is OK, and we are going to make the world pay life position. Even more unfortunate for all Earthians around Spaceship Earth Trump’s buddies Putin, Kim Jong Un, Bolsonaro and others also operate from this sort of life position.

Here is what Martin Groder, MD, one of my transactional analysis mentors at Chapel Hill, NC in the late 1970s, had to say about this sort of thing in what I called Martin Groder’s People Map, in a passage I wrote and published in 2011 in my book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds, pp. 148-150:

The Human Spectrum

“Humans generally give little thought to what kind of human they are and where they fit in the spectrum of various types of humans. Countless philosophers, writers, social scientists, priests, preachers, ordinary humans and others have categorized Earthian humans in various ways through time. Following is a schema developed by Martin Groder, MD, a psychiatrist, organizational development consultant, and entrepreneur, who also had a degree in physics (Groder, 1977). Groder developed this schema while working with inmates of the federal prison system at Marion, Illinois in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He was involved in a process of changing hard-core criminals into law-abiding citizens. Such a process would challenge the abilities of the most skillful and powerful of change agents.

“According to Groder, humans vary on two fundamental spatial dimensions. One dimension is Okness, which is estimated on the horizontal axis of Figure 1 (sorry, I could not get the Figure 1 image to copy and paste here, so you’ll just have to imagine it, or read Business Voyages or Born to Learn); the other dimension is the energy level of the individual estimated on the vertical axis.

“People vary in terms of how OK they see, feel about, and experience, (1) themselves, (2) the other individual, (3) their group, (4) other groups, and (5) the world. In Groder’s terms, they are OK or not-OK with respect to I, You, We, They, and It (the world). Groder estimates how OK they are on each of these five existential dimensions on a scale of -1 to +1, -1 being as not-OK as possible and +1 being as OK as possible. Thus people with extremely high self-esteem would be at the +1 level regarding themselves; someone with extremely low self-esteem would be existing at the -1 level regarding themselves. People could exist at any level in between, at -.5, 0, +.25, etc. on all five of the OKness positions, the positions of specific individuals with respect to themselves, buddies on a one-to-one basis, groups with which one belongs, other groups with which your group cooperates or competes, and the world in general. Summing the 5 existential OKness positions for an individual (I, You, We, They, and It), the highest possible OKness rating would be +5 and the lowest possible would be -5. A +5 person would have the highest possible feelings of Okness regarding his OKness, the OKness of his buddy, the OKness of his group, the OKness of other groups, and the OKness of the world. Such an individual would have very positive feelings and thoughts for self and others. On the other end of the spectrum, a -5 person would have the lowest possible feelings and thoughts for self and others. Very negative people tend to end up in prison. Very positive people tend to end up cultural heroes. Probably the most profitable life position for an entrepreneur in a capitalistic economic system would be I’m OK, my employees are OK, my company is OK, the world is OK, but my competitors aren’t worth a damn, since this position would motivate his or her sales employees to steal business from competitors to increase the profit of the company.

“Entrepreneurs have higher energy levels than middle managers and normal people. It takes less energy to be a normal person than anything else. Entrepreneurs in Groder’s schema have approximately the same energy level on the vertical axis of Figure 1 as Monsters, the -3 OKness level convict leaders of other convicts. Monsters have the life position “I’m OK, my buddy is OK, but everything else is not OK, and I am going to make the world pay.” According to Groder, it’s more difficult to change the energy level of a human than the OKness position. In rehabilitation work, Groder attempted to arc people across the gap of Figure 1, and make +3 OKness level entrepreneurs out of -3 monsters, +2 OKness middle managers out of -2 OKness creeps, slobs, lunch buckets, etc. Sometimes people arc across the gap the other way. Honest entrepreneurs can turn criminal. Entrepreneurs are winner-survivors; Monsters are loser-survivors. Winners achieve goals and objectives; losers do not.”

What is winning in this context?

Feeling good about yourself, your best friends, your groups, other groups, and the world.

Trump has a high energy level. His OKness life position at present unfortunately may be -3 or lower. Whether he’s a winner-survivor or a loser-survivor remains to be seen. Seems to me he has made his plight worse doing what he has done since losing the 2020 USian presidential race fair and square, his latest last straw being his orchestrated and scripted telephone call performance yesterday threatening and demeaning the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Governor, not to mention all the honest hard working public servants who did their jobs well conducting the Georgia election.

How seventy-four million USian voters could have voted in the first place for someone with Trump’s feeling, thinking, behavioral, and personality dysfunctions is astounding.  Donald Trump has had long-standing problems getting his psychological, social, and sexual needs met in OK ways, probably from his birth to now, despite what the billions of dollars he got his hands on could buy, made possible by leveraging the four hundred or so million dollars his parents gave him to play with buying vanity gambling casinos, luxury hotels, golf courses and the like.

It’s even harder to believe seventy-four million voters in the US voting for Trump might see themselves and others as having zero to minus three (0 to -3) loser-survivor Not-OK life positions; but maybe that’s possible, come to think of it.

No kind of economic or political system will work for everyone if bad guys get control of them at the top, and the worst bad guy at the top of the USian government right now, now that Trump is done, is Mitchell McConnell, the Repug thug majority leader in the USian senate, and the only OK way to get rid of him is to vote for Warnock and Ossoff, which will give Dems control of the USian federal government, with the unfortunate exception of the USian nine-member supreme court controlled by six appointed Repug radical right judges.

On the other hand, how much good this will do remains to be seen.

The US has a decent constitution created and written at the end of the 18th Century by lawyers and rich merchants in the north and lawyers and rich slave-owning plantation owners in the south of the territory on the east coast of North America recently conquered and stolen from American Indians by Europeans in the names of their monarchs, linking together several previously quasi-autonomous states subservient to the English monarchy. These merchants and slave-owning planters got tired of putting up with the rules and taxes of the English monarchy, so they rebelled and won their independence, making themselves the new powers that be in the “new world,” creating their own rules and regulations. The new constitution was designed to protect their vested interests couched in noble idealistic language glorifying the natural rights of humans based on the proposition, they said, that all humans were created equal, which according to most definitions of the word equal was a lie. It might have been they were created to be equal, but if African slaves were born equal they did not remain that way for long in the real world, for many decades up to the Civil War. This same sort of unequal state of affairs still exists among USians. Humans now living in the US may have been born to be “equal” but they did not stay that way for long after birth, thanks to the nature of the USian culture, economic system, and political system, an evolving miasma emanating from a nauseating profusion of superstitions, beliefs, customs, rules, regulations, and laws imagined and enacted through time in myriad groups and organizations to increase inequality among participants. Mitchel McConnell did not acquire the power he had in the USian senate because of his good looks or what is written in the US constitution. It came about because of rules senators passed to make it easier for Repugs and Dems in the Senate to gain unfair advantages in the management of states of affairs. The USian congress, senate and house, now has almost no real face to face democratic discussions of any issue among all senators or representatives. Business is done behind closed doors by small committees who decide what will be voted on, legislation initiated and written in many instances by lobbyists for powerful corporations; and the senate majority leader now has the right and power to personally decide what will be voted on by the Senate as a whole, regardless of what committees decide. There is almost no face to face I’m OK—You’re OK democratic discussion of any issue in the Senate as a whole. A similar process has also been co-constructed in the House through time for the same reasons.

Unfortunately this I’m OK—You’re Not OK process is not confined to the USian federal government: It’s pervasive in families, schools, churches, and organizations and groups of all sorts, thanks to a Little Fascist some transactional analysts think is embedded in the archaic Parent ego state in the Child ego states of most humans, harboring a deep-seated desire to reign superior over others.

Postscript. It’s not that all Dem voters are paragons of virtue, intelligence, compassion, fairness, and justice working for the good of all USians and Earthians. In my opinion, most dim Dems did not have enough good sense to vote in their own best interests for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for president in the 2020 Dem primaries. On the other hand, they did at least get rid of two major threats and impediments to USian progress, Trump and McConnell.

One USian King of the Senate reigning about one decade has now been deposed. Will the next one be any better? Not much if nobody changes the rules of the senate for how senators do business, that were designed to foster inequality and to pay back powerful special interests, leaving scraps for inferior losers.

I have covered ego states and scripts in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learninglisting common Parent ego state script messages and Child ego state injunctions.  All parents do not transmit the same script messages creating considerable variety among family scripts and outcomes.  Certain life scripts conveniently fit certain roles, jobs, professions, careers, political parties, and what have you more than others, providing fresh recruits already scripted for job openings, slots, roles, and positions in an economy, which is fine so long as the economy does not change very much.  Unfortunately since 1980 in the United States the offshoring of high wage blue collar jobs to foreign low wage countries and the use of more and more computer technology to increase the profits of USian corporations has rendered many family scripts obsolete. 

Donald John Trump did not invent himself. He was scripted to do what he has d0ne. The feeling, thinking, and behaving patterns that caused Trump to do what he has done have existed in Trump’s family for generations. His parents knew full well what Trump is like. His mother said so, saying she worried about him getting into politics, saying he had “no common sense.” She and her husband had to have known giving him four hundred million dollars was dangerous, like giving a very young child matches or a loaded gun to play with. Yet they knew he had a lot of energy and a physical presence, demeanor, and cachet that appealed to a lot of people; and they knew he might make a big mark in the world in their name, in one of the biggest ego trips of Earthian history.

A bitter pill to swallow found embedded in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn is that everything that happens is either predetermined or accidental, as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein postulated in his book of propositions, Prototractatus; and therefore no one is to blame or praise. Believing and acting otherwise will simply perpetuate the same sorry I’m OK—You’re Not OK life position that has bedeviled humankind since time immemorial contributing to if not causing repeats of historical abominations such as genocides, wars, slavery, economic depressions, famines, mental illnesses, and social collapses.

For more information regarding my use of Transactional Analysis  https://www.itaaworld.org/  to create better discussion groups and democratic processes read my book Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learninghttps://www.amazon.com/Born-Learn-Transactional-Analysis-Learning/dp/0692584331

For more information on how to co-construct better organizations and economic systems using transactional analysis read my book   Business Voyages:  Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds. https://www.amazon.com/Business-Voyages-Schemata-Discovering-Co-Constructing/dp/1413480810

See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,”  https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/   for some management science ideas on how human Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic system that is viable and satisfying for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth, making it possible for all Earthian humans to develop an I’m OK—You’re OK life position. 

This entails Earthians peacefully reducing through natural attrition the human population aboard Spaceship Earth, never doing work that machines can do better, and delegating the day-to-day management of systems for scheduling, producing, and distributing the necessities of life to artificial intelligence programs and supercomputers, humans having shown time and time again they are not up to the job.

This can be programmed using linear programming based on the general algorithmic matrix algebra form

Max CjXj, s.t. AijXj ≤, =, or ≥ Bi

As I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.”   https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/

Flying aboard an airliner about to land at night moving at four hundred miles an hour at thirty thousand feet with cloudy and rainy weather below, which would you rather have landing the plane, the plane’s radar and computer system or the pilot and co-pilot, seeing nothing out their windows but clouds and lightning?

I am indebted to Buckminster Fuller for teaching me in his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth the metaphor in the above paragraph and planting seeds for other ideas in my essay “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.,” such as computers being the best hope for mankind and humans not doing work that machines can do better, being paid to think instead with what he called mind grants. To my knowledge Fuller was the inventor of the appellations Earthian and Spaceship Earth.

For details regarding my transactional analysis and management science qualifications read “ELR Editor’s Academic Vita” at https://www.effectivelearning.net/rjs-academic-vita.html or by scrolling to the top of this page and clicking on the post for my vita on the masthead of this blog.

TO RESPOND:

Unfortunately it seems to me one can build a case politicians spend most of their time playing psychological Games (Persecuting, Rescuing, and Victimizing people), wasting high percentages of their time and energy pastiming (bullshitting) and engaging in rituals (shuffling paper, filling out unnecessary forms, attending perfunctory meetings with lawyers and others, making up and passing petty rules to advance their selfish interests, etc.). Almost everything done in so-called foreign policy is a move in a psychological Game it seems to me.

It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points in order to comprehend global cases, systems, and processes, while being inundated with fake news and true facts of states of affairs generated daily around Spaceship Earth, made public on the Internet, and elsewhere, to see what’s really going on, using primarily inductive and analogical reasoning, based on probability, not deductive logic. Almost never can anyone prove with deductive logic that a general proposition about psychological, social, economic, or political states affairs is absolutely true. About the best humans can hope for is to develop consensual answers that are generally acceptable and true based on probability.

It’s better to be honestly wrong than dishonestly wrong. Telling someone something you know is fake as if it were true is worse than telling someone something that’s fake because of genuine ignorance. A good case in point these days is most USians calling FICA insurance premium payments “payroll” taxes. It’s hard to know if parrots calling FICA payments payroll taxes really do not know any better or if they really do know better but are covertly lying about it to go along with the crowd to get political brownie points for conforming to a big group lie slandering and defaming Social Security.

It seems to me most lying is lying by omission, people not telling people things they know are true that others need to know. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission, telling people things you know are false and fake, is debatable, as is proving whether it’s getting easier or harder for most people to know what’s fake news and what’s not. Political parties, Earthian governments, and Mainstream media lie by omission with alacrity, information withheld from ordinary humans about the Julian Assange case being a notorious current case in point. Mainstream USian media not mentioning there were no visible black rioters among Trump’s invaders of the US Congress when it was in session to declare national state votes for president valid is another.

If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways economic and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/ogeechee-economic-forum.html

go to our RESPONSES page and let us know about them at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/responses.html .

I do not sell subscriptions or advertising or solicit donations for the Effective Learning Report but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you’ve gained value from these pages and would like to reciprocate go to our Effective Learning Publications page and purchase one or more copies of my books at   https://www.effectivelearning.net/effective-learning-publications.html  .

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Feel free to forward, share, post, print, or otherwise circulate this essay any way you see fit.  

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, certified transactional analyst, educator, octogenarian emeritus professor of management, writer, editor and publisher.   

THE EARTHIAN — 21

THE EARTHIAN, Number Twenty-One, Effective Learning Publications, https://www.effectivelearning.net/effective-learning-publications.html 32 East Main Street, Statesboro, Georgia, USA, January 4, 2021.    

THE EARTHIAN is a digest of articles containing facts, perspectives, theories, models, analyses, and recommendations concerned about existential states of affairs affecting all species of fauna and flora around Spaceship Earth. Recent relevant articles written and published by intelligent hard-hitting truth-seeking writers in Internet journals about psychological, social, economic, political, military, religious, and ecological states of affairs around Spaceship Earth are linked below as sources, following a usual comment by the editor.

“ASK LESS WHAT YOUR NATION CAN DO FOR YOU—ASK MORE WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR SPACESHIP EARTH”

OR SO IT SEEMS TO ME RIGHT NOW

By Richard John Stapleton

Here’s to all Georgians: Vote for Ossoff and Warnock tomorrow, January 5, 2021. Enough is Enough!

Unbelievable. I never heard about anything like this before, happening yesterday. I listened about one hour to Trump in a telephone call last night browbeat and threaten the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Governor using churlish demeaning street language, with his mealy mouth lawyers protecting and backing him up, ganging up on the Georgia Secretary of State and his lawyers, squelching them, with one harangue, tirade, psychological threat, and flight of fancy after another, riddled with lies.

Much of what Trump said was scurrilous and unprovable, but in the attack Trump psychologically insulted and demeaned the Georgia Secretary of State and threatened the secretary and his family with bodily harm, not overtly socially saying he would do the secretary or his family bodily harm but psychologically implying the secretary and his family were in danger of harm by angry Trump supporters, “notifying” the secretary he was in danger because of not overturning the election for Trump.

The bottom line is that Trump lost the 2020 USian presidential election fair and square by seven million popular votes nationwide; but he magically thinks if he can overturn just one state by force that will be enough to override the whole election thanks to the insane USian electoral college…when if Biden supporters had done for Biden what Trump supporters did for Trump digging up quasi-plausible evidence of voter fraud in various states they could have found just as much quasi-plausible evidence of voter fraud working against Biden as Trump.

Yet this monster of a president and some of his radical right supporters would have you believe there was zero voter fraud working to Trump’s advantage, and to them the only possibility is that this poor little innocent Lord Fauntleroy of a president was seriously picked on and cheated by bullies. And they magically think if only the Georgia Secretary of State will just “find” poor Donald eleven thousand or so fraud votes he can stay in office.

Just when you think USian culture can’t sink any lower it takes another nosedive.

Here’s the leaked telephone conversation posted yesterday for your listening education furnished by the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-transcript-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/2768e0cc-4ddd-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html.

Before I get into the meat of recent relevant states of affairs around Spaceship Earth I would like teach a little transactional analysis theory, being a compulsive teacher. If it bores you skip down a few paragraphs to where I get into why Joe Biden is a better deal than Donald Trump and why you need to vote for Warnock and Ossoff rather than Loeffler and Perdue.

Ego states are states of being including thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, feelings, gestures, body language, and other signals determining how people come across with others in communication episodes, whether parent-like, adult-like, or child-like, in all kinds of situations.  People switch ego states depending on who they are communicating with and what sort of circumstances they are in, whether they are parenting, working, socializing, teaching, having fun, playing Games, or whatever.  They transmit messages from three ego states in themselves to three ego states in others in pair vectors, Parent-Parent, Adult-Adult, Child-Child, Parent-Child, Child-Adult, Adult-Parent, or whatever possibility.  These transactions are especially meaningful in situations in which there is some sort of authoritarian system involved, such as parents parenting children in homes, teachers teaching students in schools, or bosses bossing subordinates in a business or political organization, which normally entail primarily Parent-Child transactions. In general however the more Adult-Adult transactions there are the better things go in families, schools, businesses, and political organizations. 

Script messages are transmitted socially and psychologically as I have shown and explained with diagrams in my books. Unfortunately I have not shown one of these diagrams in this blog, having not taken the time to get jpeg pictures of them made to get them posted to my computer desktop to download into this WordPress program. Ah, the joys of desktop publishing. Yeah, right, I probably am a little lazy. If you want to see what a transactional analysis script diagram looks like right now scroll to the top of this page and click on ELR Editor’s Daily Shares. You can see a picture of a TA script diagram in the assemblage of pictures on the left of the page that will pop up, having been accepted by my Facebook program in a non-jpeg format.

A TA life script diagram shows the three stacked Parent, Adult, and Child ego state circles representing parent, adult, and child ego states for each parent and child. The solid lines in the diagram denote overt spoken social messages and dotted lines denote covert psychological unspoken ulterior messages.  Social messages are verbalized overt auditory messages; psychological messages are covert non-spoken ulterior messages transmitted by body language, emotional states, and after the fact positive or negative stroking as people react to situations and feel and do things.

Scripts in families are created automatically when parents transmit various messages to their children from various ego states socially and psychologically, in and out of awareness.  Scripts are life plans generally decided before the age of eight by offspring based on script messages transmitted to them by their parents and others.  Since parents by and large transmit the same script messages that were transmitted to them before they were eight years old script messages in families can remain intact for many generations.  According to transactional analysts script decisions made before the age of eight have lasting effects determining three general life outcomes:  winner, loser, and non-winner.  These decisions can be redecided and updated later in life but it’s not easy for most people. 

Psychological Child-Child ego state script injunctions are what cause the most trouble for people in their lives.  Script injunctions forbid appropriate behavior in the here and now. Script injunctions are caused by emotional and behavioral requirements created by families through time as they adapted to and coped with problems and environmental forces that may have been appropriate in past environments, but which are inappropriate in here and now more benign and hospitable environments. 

Opposing script messages transmitted by parents can put a child in a Not-OK bind in childhood and throughout adolescence, assuming a divorce has not already occurred, causing considerable trouble within a family, since the child cannot please both parents in the presence of both parents. This Catch-22 can put parents in worse Not-OK positions vis-a-vis each other if the child makes a social or psychological level decision about which parent is right, increasing Not-OKness in the family system as a whole, including the child.  

What many people need is psychological permission to violate and ignore their psychological outdated obsolete family Child ego state script message Injunctions, not only to increase their own OKness but the OKness of all living members of the family system, and the OKness of Earthian humans in general, for that matter.

Two common family script Injunctions in most cultures are Don’t Think about the true nature and causes of states of affairs and Don’t Feel certain feelings, such as glad, mad, sad, or scared, when certain things happen in certain environments.

Joe Biden at least socially comes across projecting an I’m OK—You’re OK life position. Donald Trump unfortunately comes across socially and psychologically projecting an I’m OK, my buddy is OK, nothing else is OK, and we are going to make the world pay life position. Even more unfortunate for all Earthians around Spaceship Earth Trump’s buddies Putin, Kim Jong Un, Bolsonaro and others also operate from this sort of life position.

Here is what Martin Groder, MD, one of my transactional analysis mentors at Chapel Hill, NC in the late 1970s, had to say about this sort of thing in what I called Groder’s People Map, in a passage I wrote and published in 2011 in my book Business Voyages: Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds, pp. 148-150:

The Human Spectrum

“Humans generally give little thought to what kind of human they are and where they fit in the spectrum of various types of humans. Countless philosophers, writers, social scientists, priests, preachers, ordinary humans and others have categorized Earthian humans in various ways through time. Following is a schema developed by Martin Groder, MD, a psychiatrist, organizational development consultant, and entrepreneur, who also had a degree in physics (Groder, 1977). Groder developed this schema while working with inmates of the federal prison system at Marion, Illinois in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. He was involved in a process of changing hard-core criminals into law-abiding citizens. Such a process would challenge the abilities of the most skillful and powerful of change agents.

“According to Groder, humans vary on two fundamental spatial dimensions. One dimension is Okness, which is estimated on the horizontal axis of Figure 1 (sorry, I could not get the Figure 1 image to copy and paste here, so you’ll just have to imagine it, or read Business Voyages); the other dimension is the energy level of the individual estimated on the vertical axis.

“People vary in terms of how OK they see, feel about, and experience, (1) themselves, (2) the other individual, (3) their group, (4) other groups, and (5) the world. In Groder’s terms, they are OK or not-OK with respect to I, You, We, They, and It (the world). Groder estimates how OK they are on each of these five existential dimensions on a scale of -1 to +1, -1 being as not-OK as possible and +1 being as OK as possible. Thus people with extremely high self-esteem would be at the +1 level regarding themselves; someone with extremely low self-esteem would be existing at the -1 level regarding themselves. People could exist at any level in between, at -.5, 0, +.25, etc. on all five of the OKness positions, the positions of specific individuals with respect to themselves, buddies on a one-to-one basis, groups with which one belongs, other groups with which your group cooperates or competes, and the world in general. Summing the 5 existential OKness positions for an individual (I, You, We, They, and It), the highest possible OKness rating would be +5 and the lowest possible would be -5. A +5 person would have the highest possible feelings of Okness regarding his OKness, the OKness of his buddy, the OKness of his group, the OKness of other groups, and the OKness of the world. Such an individual would have very positive feelings and thoughts for self and others. On the other end of the spectrum, a -5 person would have the lowest possible feelings and thoughts for self and others. Very negative people tend to end up in prison. Very positive people tend to end up cultural heroes. Probably the most profitable life position for an entrepreneur in a capitalistic economic system would be I’m OK, my employees are OK, my company is OK, the world is OK, but my competitors aren’t worth a damn, since this position would motivate his or her sales employees to steal business from competitors to increase the profit of the company.

“Entrepreneurs have higher energy levels than middle managers and normal people. It takes less energy to be a normal person than anything else. Entrepreneurs in Groder’s schema have approximately the same energy level on the vertical axis of Figure 1 as Monsters, the -3 OKness level convict leaders of other convicts. Monsters have the life postion “I’m OK, my buddy is OK, but everything else is not OK, and I am going to make the world pay.” According to Groder, it’s more difficult to change the energy level of a human than the OKness position. In rehabilitation work, Groder attempted to arc people across the gap of Figure 1, and make +3 OKness level entrepreneurs out of -3 monsters, +2 OKness middle managers out of -2 OKness creeps, slobs, lunch buckets, etc. Sometimes people arc across the gap the other way. Honest entrepreneurs can turn criminal. Entrepreneurs are winner-survivors; Monsters are loser-survivors. Winners achieve goals and objectives; losers do not.”

What is winning in this context?

Feeling good about yourself, your best friends, your groups, other groups, and the world.

Trump has a high energy level. His OKness life position at present unfortunately may be -3 or lower. Whether he’s a winner-survivor or a loser-survivor remains to be seen. Seems to me he has made his plight worse doing what he has done since losing the 2020 USian presidential race fair and square, his latest last straw being his orchestrated and scripted telephone call performance yesterday threatening and demeaning the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Governor, not to mention all the honest hard working public servants who did their jobs well conducting the Georgia election.

How seventy-four million USian voters could have voted in the first place for someone with Donald Trump’s feeling, thinking, behavioral, and personality dysfunctions is astounding.  He’s had long-standing problems getting his psychological, social, and sexual needs met in OK ways, probably from his birth to now, despite what the billions of dollars he got his hands on could buy, made possible by leveraging the four hundred or so million dollars his parents gave him to play with buying vanity gambling casinos, luxury hotels, golf courses and the like.

It’s even harder to believe seventy-four million voters in the US voting for Trump might see themselves and others as having zero to minus three (0 to -3) loser-survivor Not-OK life positions; but maybe that’s possible, come to think of it.

No kind of economic or political system will work for everyone if bad guys get control of them at the top, and the worst bad guy at the top of the USian government right now, now that Trump is done, is Mitchell McConnell, the Repug thug majority leader in the USian senate, and the only OK way to get rid of him is to vote for Warnock and Ossoff, which will give Dems control of the USian federal government, with the unfortunate exception of the USian nine-member supreme court controlled by six low-OKness Repug radical right judges.

On the other hand, how much good this will do remains to be seen.

The US has a decent constitution created and written at the end of the 18th Century by lawyers and rich merchants in the north and lawyers and rich slave-owning plantation owners in the south of the territory on the east coast of North America recently conquered and stolen from American Indians by Europeans in the names of their monarchs, linking together several previously quasi-autonomous states subservient to the English monarchy. These merchants and slave-owning planters got tired of putting up with the rules and taxes of the English monarchy, so they rebelled and won their independence, making themselves the new powers that be in the “new world,” creating their own rules and regulations. The new constitution was designed to protect their vested interests couched in noble idealistic language glorifying the natural rights of humans based on the proposition, they said, that all humans were created equal, which according to most definitions of the word equal was a lie. It might have been they were created to be equal, but if African slaves were born equal they did not remain that way for long in the real world, for many decades up to the Civil War. This same sort of unequal state of affairs still exists among USians. Humans now living in the US may have been born to be “equal” but they did not stay that way for long after birth, thanks to the existence and nature of the evolving USian culture, economic system, and political system, fostering a maddening frustrating miasma of nauseating superstitions, beliefs, customs, rules, regulations, and laws imagined and enacted through time in myriad groups and organizations to increase inequality among participants. Mitchel McConnell did not acquire the power he had in the USian senate because of his good looks or what is written in the US constitution. It came about because of rules senators created to make it easier for Repugs and Dems in the Senate to gain unfair advantages in the management of states of affairs. The USian congress, senate and house, now has almost no real face to face democratic discussions of any issue among all senators or representatives. Business is done behind closed doors by small committees who decide what will be voted on, legislation initiated and written in many instances by lobbyists for powerful corporations; and the senate majority leader now has the right and power to personally decide what will be voted on by the Senate as a whole, regardless of what committees decide. There is almost no face to face I’m OK—You’re OK democratic discussion of any issue in the Senate as a whole. A similar process has also been co-constructed in the House through time for the same reasons.

Unfortunately this I’m OK—You’re Not OK process is not confined to the USian federal government: It’s pervasive in families, schools, churches, and organizations and groups of all sorts, thanks to a Little Fascist some transactional analysts think is embedded in the archaic Parent ego state in the Child ego states of most humans, harboring a deep-seated desire to reign superior over others.

Postscript. It’s not that all Dem voters are paragons of virtue, intelligence, compassion, fairness, and justice working for the good of all USians and Earthians. In my opinion, most dim Dems did not have enough good sense to vote in their own best interests for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren for president in the 2020 Dem primaries. On the other hand, they did at least get rid of two major threats and impediments to USian progress, Trump and McConnell.

One USian King of the Senate reigning about one decade has now been deposed. Will the next one be any better? Not much if nobody changes the rules of the senate for how senators do business, that were designed to foster inequality and to pay back powerful special interests, leaving scraps for inferior losers.

I have covered ego states and scripts in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learninglisting common Parent ego state script messages and Child ego state injunctions.  All parents do not transmit the same script messages creating considerable variety among family scripts and outcomes.  Certain life scripts conveniently fit certain roles, jobs, professions, careers, political parties, and what have you more than others, providing fresh recruits already scripted for job openings, slots, roles, and positions in an economy, which is fine so long as the economy does not change very much.  Unfortunately since 1980 in the United States the offshoring of high wage blue collar jobs to foreign low wage countries and the use of more and more computer technology to increase the profits of USian corporations has rendered many family scripts obsolete. 

Donald John Trump did not invent himself. He was scripted to do what he has d0ne. The feeling, thinking, and behaving patterns that caused Trump to do what he has done have existed in Trump’s family for generations. His parents knew full well what Trump is like. His mother said so, saying she worried about him getting into politics, saying he had “no common sense.” She and her husband had to have known giving him four hundred million dollars was dangerous, like giving a very young child matches or a loaded gun to play with. Yet they knew he had a lot of energy and a physical presence, demeanor, and cachet that appealed to a lot of people; and they knew he might make a big mark in the world in their name, in one of the biggest ego trips of Earthian history.

A bitter pill to swallow found embedded in my books Business Voyages and Born to Learn is that everything that happens is either predetermined or accidental, as the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein postulated in his book of propositions, Prototractatus; and therefore no one is to blame or praise. Believing and acting otherwise will simply perpetuate the same sorry I’m OK—You’re Not OK life position that has bedeviled humankind since time immemorial contributing to if not causing repeats of historical abominations such as genocides, wars, slavery, economic depressions, famines, mental illnesses, and social collapses.

For more information regarding my use of Transactional Analysis  https://www.itaaworld.org/  to create better discussion groups and democratic processes read my book Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learninghttps://www.amazon.com/Born-Learn-Transactional-Analysis-Learning/dp/0692584331 

For more information on how to co-construct better organizations and economic systems using transactional analysis read my book   Business Voyages:  Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds   https://www.amazon.com/Business-Voyages-Schemata-Discovering-Co-Constructing/dp/1413480810

See my article “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc,”  https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/   for some management science ideas on how human Earthians might eventually co-construct an economic system that is viable and satisfying for everyone aboard Spaceship Earth, making it possible for all Earthian humans to develop an I’m OK—You’re OK life position. 

This entails Earthians peacefully reducing through natural attrition the human population aboard Spaceship Earth, never doing work that machines can do better, and delegating the day-to-day management of systems for scheduling, producing, and distributing the necessities of life to artificial intelligence programs and supercomputers, humans having shown time and time again they are not up to the job.

This can be programmed using linear programming based on the general algorithmic matrix algebra form

Max CjXj, s.t. AijXj ≤, =, or ≥ Bi

As I explained in “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.”   https://blog.effectivelearning.net/the-evolution-of-spaceship-earth-inc/  

Flying aboard an airliner about to land at night moving at four hundred miles an hour at thirty thousand feet with cloudy and rainy weather below, which would you rather have landing the plane, the plane’s radar and computer system or the pilot and co-pilot, seeing nothing out their windows but clouds and lightning?

I am indebted to Buckminster Fuller for teaching me in his book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth the metaphor in the above paragraph and planting seeds for other ideas in my essay “The Evolution of Spaceship Earth, Inc.,” such as computers being the best hope for mankind and humans not doing work that machines can do better, being paid to think instead with what he called mind grants. To my knowledge Fuller was the inventor of the appellations Earthian and Spaceship Earth.   

For details regarding my transactional analysis and management science qualifications read “ELR Editor’s Academic Vita” at https://www.effectivelearning.net/rjs-academic-vita.html or by scrolling to the top of this page and clicking on the post on the masthead of this blog.

TO RESPOND:

As usual this month’s THE EARTHIAN  links and cites as SOURCES recent articles written and published by clear deep-thinking hard-hitting independent writers on various Earthian states of affairs.

Some Game playing goes on in the articles, i.e., a writer is psychologically Persecuting, Rescuing, or Victimizing someone or some group or organization; but it seems to me the writers are generally trying to paint accurate pictures of what they think is really going on in relevant significant Earthian states of affairs using their Adult ego states.

Unfortunately it seems to me one can build a case politicians spend most of their time playing psychological Games, mostly wasting their time and energy pastiming (bullshitting) and engaging in rituals (shuffling paper, filling out unnecessary forms, attending useless meetings with lawyers and others, and the like). Almost everything done in so-called foreign policy is a move in a psychological Game it seems to me.

It’s not easy, impossible some say, to separate relevant from irrelevant focal points in order to comprehend global cases, systems, and processes, while being inundated with fake news and true facts of states of affairs generated daily around Spaceship Earth, made public on the Internet, and elsewhere, to see what’s really going on, using primarily inductive and analogical reasoning, based on probability, not deductive logic. Almost never can anyone prove with deductive logic that a general proposition about psychological, social, economic, or political states affairs is absolutely true. About the best humans can hope for is to develop consensual answers that are generally acceptable and true based on probability.

It’s better to be honestly wrong than dishonestly wrong. Telling someone something you know is fake as if it were true is worse than telling someone something that’s fake because of genuine ignorance. A good case in point these days is most USians calling FICA insurance premium payments “payroll” taxes. It’s hard to know if sayers calling FICA payments payroll taxes really do not know any better or if they really do know better but are covertly lying about it to go along with the crowd to get political brownie points for conforming to a big group lie slandering and defaming Social Security.

It seems to me most lying is lying by omission, people not telling people things they know are true that others need to know. Whether lying by omission is more or less harmful than lying by commission, telling people things you know are false and fake, is debatable, as is proving whether it’s getting easier or harder for most people to know what’s fake and what’s not. Political parties, Earthian governments, and Mainstream media lie by omission with alacrity, information withheld from ordinary humans about the Julian Assange case being a notorious current case in point. Mainstream USian media not mentioning there were no visible black rioters among Trump’s invaders of the US Congress when it was in session to declare national state votes for president valid is another.

If you have ideas on how to democratically discuss in Game-free ways economic and political problems and opportunities in something like the Ogeechee Economic Forum at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/ogeechee-economic-forum.html

go to our RESPONSES page and let us know about them at  https://www.effectivelearning.net/responses.html .

Feel free to respond with comments and criticisms about any of the SOURCES listed below using the RESPONSES post on this blog masthead at the top of this page; but please refrain from making ad hominem attacks. Criticize and correct any of the facts, data, evidence, reasoning, and conclusions in any of the articles; but please refrain from slandering and defaming the characteristics and reputations of the authors illogically using slanderous or defamatory comments trying to prove their arguments and conclusions in their articles are wrong, and yours are right.

I do not sell subscriptions or advertising or solicit donations for THE EARTHIAN or the Effective Learning Report but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you’ve gained value from THE EARTHIAN and would like to reciprocate go to our Effective Learning Publications page and purchase one or more copies of my books at   https://www.effectivelearning.net/effective-learning-publications.html  .

FOR A FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO THE EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT AND THE EARTHIAN: Email rjstapleton@bulloch.net and enter the word Subscription on the subject line.     

Feel free to forward, share, post, print, or otherwise circulate this edition of The Earthian any way you see fit.  

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, certified transactional analyst, educator, octogenarian emeritus professor of management, writer, editor and publisher.   

SOURCES:

January 4, 2021

Carl Bernstein ought to know what he’s talking about, being one of Earth’s foremost expert witnesses dealing with the problem of lying by omission.

“Carl Bernstein: This is the ultimate smoking gun,” CNN video,

www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/01/03/trump-georgia-votes-raffensperger-call-tapes-bernstein-sot-vpx.cnn?fbclid=IwAR2l6n8Jl73Nzgb0KwO6AO0ut4vz3p6blrhq3Z3_4ymFEbKS1_DwAMm0Q_g.

January 4

Do it again, along with their dear leader Little Lord Fauntleroy Trump who finally got what he deserved.

“Congress expelled 14 members in 1861 for supporting Confederacy,” by Biba Adams, YAHOO!NEWS, https://news.yahoo.com/congress-expelled-14-members-1861-163055839.html.

January 3

It’s a good thing Assange will not be extradited to the US because US prisons are too harsh in the opinion of the Brit judge. It’s not good the judge did not disagree with the US about the charges.

“UK judge blocks US request to extradite Assange,” Aljazeera, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/4/julian-assange-extradition-2.

January 3, 2021

A major issue alright, meriting much thought and discussion.

”2020’s Legislative Attacks on Gig Workers Will Change Labor Forever,” by Robert R. Raymond, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/2020s-legislative-attacks-on-gig-workers-will-change-labor-forever/?utm_campaign=Truthout%20Share%20Buttons&fbclid=IwAR2hp4UENOHcLHXHQsVKUYKdl1jqw0SEKhkSNbFZqqmBWvKu5AIE_0yhadM.

January 2

Here’s how the USian Deep State does business as usual making good on their psychological agreements with their friends in the USian federal government.

“Here Are All the Banks That Paid Janet Yellen $7.3 Million in Speaking Fees in the Past 2 Years,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/here-are-all-banks-paid-janet-yellen-73-million-speaking-fees-past-2-years?fbclid=IwAR3JRclo44yteRFmQ_0fnYeMdNmu0FeZIzixxJ45JgY3jkzpt3DARD3rGXc.

January 2

Single pay Medicare for All anyone?

“Big Pharma Rings in New Year by Raising Prices on 300 Medications,” by Kenny Stancil, TRUTHOUT, https://truthout.org/articles/big-pharma-rings-in-new-year-by-raising-prices-on-300-medications/?utm_campaign=Truthout%20Share%20Buttons&fbclid=IwAR04nzEMmmAypwy0HzrLSoHdlpOYrIklDqBzsGGZghrgYxZwGyWEA489y7w.

January 2

Now here is a real party pooper.

“Petit-Bourgeois ‘Normalcy’ Pining at the New York Times,” by Paul Street, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/01/petit-bourgeois-normalcy-pining-at-the-new-york-times/?fbclid=IwAR1g9optROgXFL_XdfefhuMUVGXiyyX1w3asnmycF3qNCfycou_d6Y2XnHQ.

January 2

My opinion expressed on Facebook: “But there’s no evidence of significant voter fraud, you liar! (me playing like I was speaking to Ted Cruz).”

A repug response to me on Facebook: “With all respect, I could say you are lying too. The commit (sic) about Hitler (believe if you tell a big lie over and over sooner or later most people will believe it). Pelosi on video made that same commitment stating that was how the Democrats did it. There is so much fraud in our government it amazes me how it is still functioning at all. I’ve read your articles and the majority of what you are stating is just your opinions, not fact.”

My response to the repuglican on Facebook: “Just proves it’s impossible to win an argument with brainwashed people like you and me. The only hope is that the better brainwashing will win in the end.”

“Ted Cruz Leads Senators in Challenge To Wednesday Electoral Count; Demands Emergency Audit,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/political/ted-cruz-leads-senators-challenge-electoral-count-demands-emergency-audit?fbclid=IwAR01nA1-pt4p2XY7X6JiTwK4PBmmoPKw6Hqfv_SIekHSCCa7XMXtJ2l5fJs.

January 2

Great contemporary environmental overview

“Roaming Charges: It is What It is But is That All There is?,” by Jeffrey St. Clair, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/01/roaming-charges-it-is-what-it-is-but-is-that-that-all-there-is/?fbclid=IwAR1Ua70thWd2PLz8OnS4Y2JsWJUVhoHPMh3T6GnzgwMGJ5k0MgzVm-NWsqg.

December 31

Say it aint so Joe

“Yes, Americans are Fat. The US Military is Fatter,” by Thomas Knapp, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/31/yes-americans-are-fat-the-us-military-is-fatter/?fbclid=IwAR10hclcbd9lJKdBM5lcW-5ZiWPI3ZUuAsOQll50hk59pjD5yE0oav9LT38.

December 31

Back to business as usual

“Biden and the World: A First Look at His Foreign Affairs Team,” by Mel Gurton, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/30/biden-and-the-world-a-first-look-at-his-foreign-affairs-team/?fbclid=IwAR19UpSON_ciML6TCcREAwbnGQEkwLHMrNfOfJNauzVuB1Jk8au32Zb7zaY.

December 31

Say it aint so Joe

“2020 Latin America and the Caribbean in Review: the Pink Tide May Rise Again,” by Roger Harris, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/31/2020-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-in-review-the-pink-tide-may-rise-again/?fbclid=IwAR1EUt3Spx5nzCBmM1ffnqTWBPOaCLWHvnm2BfQwSEdyEB_JAXgBiYq-Gdg.

December 31

Generally agree. Trump looks and acts more like a fascist dictator than he really is; but he was and is an authoritarian nevertheless, and he seems to be doing everything he can to destroy I’m OK—You’re OK democracy any way he can before he leaves office three weeks from now.

“The Threat of Authoritarianism in the U.S. is Very Real, and Has Nothing To Do With Trump,” by Glenn Greenwald, SUBSTACK.COM, https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-threat-of-authoritarianism-in?fbclid=IwAR3yanm9SJ3P_eiT2Y2gY8gXSQmgaaLd-rsYLAjdUGIGgGLYquKuvDH73QQ

December 31

Excellent article. Seems to me the only way for everyone to get survival needs met from here on is to peacefully reduce the Earthian human population through natural attrition (natural deaths exceeding births every year) so living humans can enjoy an adequate slice of a smaller pie year after year until sustainable levels are reached all around Spaceship Earth.

“2020: The Year Things Started Going Badly Wrong,” by Gail Tverberg, OUR FINITE WORLD, https://ourfiniteworld.com/2020/12/23/2020-the-year-things-started-going-badly-wrong/?fbclid=IwAR1De64WK9I1pKJ9z6r6VuCipV_fAGhJZ6MqRndt15bwMHJcRv58BHBQ1tU.

December 31

This linked list of articles published in the ELR covers Trump’s time running for office and living in the White House since 2016, up to now with about three weeks left to go.

“A List of All Articles Published In the Effective Learning Report Since September 2016,” by Richard John Stapleton, Effective Learning Report, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/a-list-of-all-articles-published-in-the-effective-learning-report/?fbclid=IwAR0MaJqOKIsryZ8aDz3Zv67tW0LiZfA2JCy-nb6smTVLkn8fNrL1E2qOWbQ.

December 23

One positive aspect of Trump’s latest impulse here is that it exposed the selfishness and greed of members of congress paying back their supporters in business as usual dirty Washington pork barrel payoffs embedded in the 5600 pages of this bill all USians will have to pay for one way or another sooner or later. If you think the two hundred or so thousand dollars US reps, senators, and presidents are paid as salary per year is their real income when in office you are sadly mistaken. Most of their money is made on the side one way or the other, including trading in the stock market, as Perdue and Loeffler exemplify .

“Covid-19 catch-22: Regime-change policies come packed with US pandemic relieve,” by Alexander Rubinstein and Jeb Sprague, THE GRAY ZONE, https://thegrayzone.com/2020/12/22/covid-regime-change-us-pandemic-relief/?fbclid=IwAR1EUt3Spx5nzCBmM1ffnqTWBPOaCLWHvnm2BfQwSEdyEB_JAXgBiYq-Gdg.

December 23

Insidiousness

“Trump Kicks Covid Bill Back to Congress; Demands $2,000 Stimulus, Shreds Lawmakers Over Mountain of Debt,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/trump-kicks-covid-bill-back-congress-demands-2000-stimulus-shreds-congress-over-mountain?fbclid=IwAR3O0dB9tornqM0sxMSqwAiBWJ0quTchOHr_od1sdJSL90LmRybp6gW7WyQ.

December 23

Genealogical scripting makes a difference for anyone.

“ELR Editor’s Genealogical Scripting,” by Richard John Stapleton, EFFECTIVE LEARNING REPORT, https://blog.effectivelearning.net/stapleton-genealogy/?fbclid=IwAR0iXQJ2rIL6aRR3dD2fGXzWlPFyYWjmC0lQo-LAOC8-qXi_tRAiQc-dX8w

December 21

Some more great research by Ellen Brown

“Tackling the infrastructure and unemployment crises: The ‘American System’ solution,” by Ellen Brown, INTREPID REPORT, http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/31597.

December 19

Say it aint so Joe

“Donald Trump’s Final Act: Snuffing Out the Promise of Democracy in the Middle East,” by Vijay Prashad, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/18/donald-trumps-final-act-snuffing-out-the-promise-of-democracy-in-the-middle-east/?fbclid=IwAR2ws2iLE2NOOFSIf8j01yIkYPdoDatCTgLa3HME9Ok__7jY8Uesw4kUc4k.

December 19

An interesting well-written story about the evolution of the USian culture and economy

“What Shall We Call It?,” by John Davis, COUNTERPUNCH, https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/18/what-shall-we-call-it/?fbclid=IwAR0kkjfBXsMFMCVlkoqFKGmk_nYLJ6Mv8b11f73IHjc6e9okOSq_GV-hcfE.

December 17

Chavez could be right. How did the billionaires get to be billionaires? Not by working, by owning stock and other assets that increased in value astronomically as they slept, significantly caused here of late by highly intelligent and creative computer technology hired hands working for billionaires writing computer software that eliminated jobs previously requiring human physical labor.

If there are no physical labor jobs what are the alternatives right now? Let people starve or UBI? Or what else?

You can’t eat computer technology that’s for sure. And most people aren’t skilled and knowledgeable enough writing computer software to work for billionaires owning the stock of corporations.

“Former Goldman CFO Calls for Universal Basic Income ‘To Stave Off Revolution’,” by Tyler Durden, ZEROHEDGE, https://www.zerohedge.com/political/former-goldman-cfo-marty-sachs-calls-universal-basic-income?fbclid=IwAR12ECNFAXHESk2dOrb3rrUL1Uf26mXJGMu3d4ANeygGatGktx2vy00v08Y

 

Fun Side Jobs For Your Busy Teaching Schedule

By Lisa Walker

Fitting fun side gigs into your busy teaching schedule doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, there’s a variety of flexible opportunities that you can do part-time during the school year. Side gigs are not only a great way to make extra money, but they also allow teachers to enhance their skills and expertise in various fields that may be beneficial to students. These also give teachers the ability to apply their skills to relevant fields like computer science, engineering, math and technology. Below are some examples of fun side gigs that any teacher can fit into their busy teaching schedule.

Tutor

Teachers already have an advantage if they want to take up tutoring because of their teaching skills. This is a great way to spend personalized time with a student who is having trouble in certain subjects. This may also be done after school, and you can even set your own hours and rates. There are also a variety of tutoring-based websites for both on-site or online tutoring.

Camp Counselor

Being a camp counselor is a fun way to delegate duties and activities to kids during school breaks. Camps also tend to fill up quickly since school is out of session, which creates a high demand for camp counselors. You’ll also have the opportunity to go on field trips and adventures with kids, so this job is perfect for teachers who love the outdoors. Check out your local community organizations to apply for a camp counselor spot.

Babysitter

Babysitting is a great way to make extra money after school throughout the school year. You’ll be helping out other parents while watching and playing with other kids. This can be as easy as helping kids with homework, watching TV or playing board games. You can make a profile on various babysitting-based websites or connect with parents in your neighborhood for child care opportunities.

Tour Guide

Being a tour guide is a fun way to spend time outdoors while discussing the fun aspects of the city you live in to tourists. You’ll also get to spend time with people of all ages, including kids, elderly folks and everyone in between. This is also a fun way to incorporate exercise into your schedule, since some tour guides spend time walking tourists around the city. You typically receive a base hourly wage plus the potential for tips from tourists, so a little personality goes a long way. Call your local tour guide company for openings.

Dog Boarding

Dog boarding is an easy way to make extra money while playing with dogs in a home environment. This job is ideal for when a friend or neighbor is out of town and needs someone to take on dog sitting tasks. Duties may involve walking, feeding and playing with dogs, so this is great for teachers who want a relaxing side job during the school year.

Dog Walking

For teachers who just want to spend some time playing with dogs, dog walking is a fun way to get some exercise while catching some sunshine. This is also a great job for teachers who want some quiet time from kids and school activities. Ask your neighbors if they’re in need of dog walking services, or create a profile on dog walking websites, which allows clients to contact you. You can also charge your own rate and set your own hours, making this a flexible opportunity for the busiest of teachers.

Bonus Tip: It’s time to select your entity type!

Registering your services as a legal business entity with the state requires selecting an entity type. While there are more than a dozen different types of business entities recognized by state governments, including the traditional C-Corp corporation, many business owners are opting to form an LLC. LLCs provide a number of advantages, including their flexibility, security to owners, and the ease in setting them up. An LLC can be created in about five steps.

Fitting a fun summer job into your busy teaching schedule is easy thanks to the variety of options that are available. Not only are these types of jobs a great way to make extra money, but they also offer flexibility, potential exercise opportunities and rewarding benefits for helping out friends, neighbors and students.

Lisa Walker is the proud SAHM (Stay at Home Mom) of two adorable but feisty sons. She enjoys trail hiking and beach-coming with her husband Jake when not busy with her boys and home improvement projects. She created NeighborhoodSprout.org as a passion project to share her love of homeownership with others.

People With Disabilities in Business: 4 Reasons Why This Could Be the Career For You

By Lisa Walker

Photo by Unsplash

People with disabilities often have more difficulty in the workplace. They are more likely to experience discrimination, unemployment, or underemployment than the general workforce. If you are a young person managing a disability, this might already sound familiar. You may be eager to work but are unsure of your opportunities. One solution is to go into a career in business.

If you think you don’t have enough experience to pursue business, think again! Here are four common questions for business careers, with answers that take into consideration the special needs of people living with a disability.

What are the most profitable business degrees?

Most colleges and universities offer special grants and tuition discounts to give people with disabilities an equitable chance at an education. In addition, there are many state and federal tuition assistance programs for people with disabilities. People on a budget can work toward a 2- or 4-year degree, or even a master’s or MBA, for little or even no cost in fields like:

What kinds of internships are the best for business?

The best internship for you is one that gives you direct experience in the field you choose. It’s important for people with disabilities to consider an internship with a company reputable for accessibility, is close to home or school, and has remote work options.

For those on a budget, be sure to choose an internship that pays. You might be responsible for supplying some of your own supplies, like a laptop, so save money by looking at used ones with a warranty on Amazon Warehouse Deals. You’ll also want an internship that gives you opportunities like:

  • Getting direct experience with the software you will use in your field.
  • Having a one-on-one mentor who will treat you with respect and give you opportunities to learn.
  • Building a portfolio of experience to use in interviews.
  • Applying best practices in specific projects.

What can I expect in an entry-level position?

Landing your first job in business may be intimidating at first, especially for people with disabilities. You might feel worried that your abilities won’t be seen for your disability. Give yourself confidence by dressing your best for your interview. People on a budget can get discounts on clothing that makes you feel strong and successful by using Nordstrom Rack coupons. An entry-level position can mean a lot of things, especially if you are going into:

  • Marketing, expect a coordinator position in public relations, user experience, or communications.
  • Accounting, expect a bookkeeper or payroll assistant.
  • Project Management, expect a coordinator or support role.

How do I build my network to increase opportunities?

Business is more about who you know than what you know. For people with disabilities, this can be a really effective way to start. Stay in touch with your professors, mentors, coworkers, and former supervisors. Better yet, stay on good terms.

People on a budget can use a free trial of LinkedIn Premium to expand their online network quickly. You can grow your network by:

  • Publishing blogs on LinkedIn and sharing them with professional groups.
  • Volunteering for organizations that need people with your expertise.
  • Joining professional organizations and serving on boards.

People with disabilities can bring a unique perspective to businesses, making not only a workplace more diverse and empathic but also the way we do business. The journey will not be easy, though it will be very rewarding. If you need help along the way, Effective Learning Company provides tutoring services for people taking business foundational courses and looking to start their own business. Become your own boss today.

HOPEFULLY THIS IS THE LAST STRAW FOR TRUMP ON HIS WAY OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE

By Richard John Stapleton

This is insane.

The man has no moral or ethical basis for saying this in this Tweet.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous “80,000,000 votes” were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia &amp; Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!</p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1332352538855747584?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>November 27, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

The problem is not unsolvable.

All Trump has to do is do the right thing and honor the decisions of legally elected officials of state legislatures and federal judges who have emphatically stated in all ways Biden won fair and square in one of the most secure elections ever. As anyone with any common sense knows no US presidential election could ever be declared 100 percent accurate with human-counted numbers in a voting process this large. Some errors and maybe a little fraud are bound to happen in a counting process with numbers this large in a US presidential race covering fifty states and almost unnameable voting precincts and locations. How many finalists in USian presidential races in recent memory could have done what Trump has done, claim their loss was caused by fraud?  Quite a few. But none of them did. Why not? Because all of them had common sense and some sense of honor, decency, and fair play.

Trump is psychologically lying about the reality of this situation and is in effect psychologically threatening civil war and the destruction of our democratic voting system with this Tweet. He’s a fascist dictator at heart who accidentally got to be president of the US thanks to the insane USian Electoral College and who now does not want to give it up like a petulant spoiled brat child not wanting to give up a piece of candy. He’s never been a believer in democracy and has never obeyed rules he did not like in his life, running the corporations his inherited money enabled him to own like a fascist dictator (six of them into bankruptcy), basically a thug with the morals and ethics of an alley cat. Why should he start believing in democracy now?

Hopefully the only hope of US citizens who believe in real democracy to avert civil violence will not wind up the US military who have historically pledged themselves to uphold the US democratic rule of law and Constitution by not following the orders of irrational presidents should any order attacks on USian civilians to stay in power. Whether the military will in this case remains to be seen if worse comes to worst if the US Supreme Court stacked 6-3 with right wing Repug loyalist ideologues should decide to give Trump the presidency another four years despite his democratic vote loss, which, should it happen, would be a tragic case indeed: six ideological Repug loyalist Supreme Court judges overriding the judgments and verdict of over eighty million real jurors in this case who did what it took to vote against Trump .

On the other hand, Trump it seems has decided it will behoove him to contest the election while knowing he does not have enough power to override the US Constitution backed by his 73.9 million voters, or his six lackeys on the Supreme Court, after losing the presidential race according to traditional rules of the US voting system by over seven million real votes to Biden’s over eighty million real democratic votes, while Biden also beat Trump with over three hundred funny votes to Trump’s 232 funny votes, i.e., Electoral College votes.

And as anyone with a lick of common sense should know there is almost zero chance there could have been over seven million votes involving errors and fraud in Biden’s favor in the 2020 election, with no error and fraud votes in Trump’s favor.

Only a world class a_ _&*#$ would do what Trump has done under these conditions, demand absolute proof he did not lose because of fraud and illegality.

As I have previously discussed in an Effective Learning Report article I think Trump is a second and possibly third-degree psychological Game player, especially playing NIGYSOB, NOW I’VE GOT YOU, YOU SOB. Trump probably knows there is no chance he can get the election overturned, but is demanding proof he did not lose the election due to fraud and illegality before moving out of the White House to fleece and shake down his deluded supporters with fund-raising Tweets, emails, and other communication contacts demanding that they contribute money to his legal offense fund to get the election overturned, knowing some of the proceeds of the hustle/scam (now reputed to be over $200 million) will remain in his own coffers after he leaves office. Is the man capable of this kind of venal duplicity and lying? You bet.

After one of the most secure and accurate US presidential votes in history the US still has a sociopath in the White House creating anxiety and anguish for millions of people while fanning fires of chaos in the US and around Spaceship Earth with his insane Tweets, this last one hopefully being the last straw, grasped by a desperate dangerous greedy man with no conscience.

Unlike Nero who merely fiddled while fires burned Rome of their own volition, Trump has so far spent his last almost three months as USian president after losing the election playing golf and stoking fires of blind ignorant class hatred doing what he has always done for a living after his parents gave him 400 million dollars to play with—hire people and fire those who cannot do, or refuse to do, what his majesty orders.

_________________________________________

Richard John Stapleton, PhD, CTA, certified transactional analyst, educator, octogenarian emeritus professor of management, writer, editor and publisher.   

JOE BIDEN: WAR OR PEACE?

By COURTENAY BARNETT

Dear beloved we are gathered once more at the altar of the almighty truth.

Our sermon for today is entitled ‘Joe Biden: war or peace?’

As outgoing President Trump does his last hustle to collect as much as he can, obtain allegedly to support his litigation to retain the presidency  with the court’s assistance, our time and attention is better spent more realistically focusing one’s mind on the prospects and policies of President-elect Joe Biden. To do so with a measure of realism the structure of the US system needs to be understood.

US system

There are two critical constants for any president of the United States of America:-

1.         The dictates of the military-industrial complex; and

2.         The foreign policy trajectory, as actual military policy, of ‘full spectrum dominance’.

The US economy is dominated by military production. In a  succinct and prescient manner, in the early 1960s in his farewell speech, then President Eisenhower explained in a quite precise way how the military had begun to dominate and dictate to the US economy :-

(https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=90&page=transcript)

As a compliment to that reality, investment in the military is extended by doctrine into a policy that since the end of World War 11( WW11) assures that the US aims to  achieve  control over all dimensions of the global battlespace.

For decades each new President has presided over a new war or US military intervention. Carter had Panama; Reagan had Grenada; George Bush senior had Iraq/Gulf War 1; Clinton had Yugoslavia; George Bush Jr. had Iraq/Gulf War 11; Obama had Libya; Trump did not have a new war.

It is interesting that Trump is embraced by his supporters as an America first ‘isolationist’. He did try to secure troop reduction in both Afghanistan and Syria. He found himself in conflict with the US military and Pentagon. His ultimate undoing was that his leadership style was chaotic, erratic, unpredictable and inadequately consultative. In consequence, he succeeded in either insulting or annoying sufficient numbers within the electorate that he was voted out of office.

Within the framework just described one can rest assured, President-elect Joe Biden shall remain safely within the confines of  established US military policy.

Whether Biden claims for himself a new war is a matter one but  can guess on. His history and personality provide helpful predictive hints. In large measure Joe Biden’s voting record confirms that he has voted far more consistently to support US war efforts than he has ever opposed overseas military ventures. His political predisposition reveals a status quo middle of the road politician inclined more to the centre and right than to the left. At his age he is not likely to change when in office as president.

The question therefore is – war or peace?

I anticipate more likelihood of the former than the latter if history is the best predictor of the future. 

Circumstances so dictate. 

Should there be doubt as to the nature and record of the politician with whom we shall be dealing with as President, then let us examine the factual and quite accurate record on Joe Biden when he helped march the US into the Iraq war:- 

Joe Biden – over to you.

AMEN!

________________________________________

COURTENAY BARNETT is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer for over thirty years, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. He has published several articles in the Effective Learning Report. He lives and works in the Caribbean

RESPONSES



 

TO RESPOND:

Do Your Duty! As an equal Spaceship Earth, Inc. stockholder, owning one imaginary share of stock, I hereby grant you, just like everybody else around Earth, tell other stockholders what you think the problems are, what the alternatives are, and what you think should be done to better manage Spaceship Earth, Inc.

Go to my Facebook Page  and say whatever you want to say in regard to anything I or anyone else has said on the Effective Learning Company website, including the Effective Learning Report and The Earthian.

Just type your response at the top of my Facebook Page where it says

What’s On Your Mind?

You can start a new conversation about a new topic, or you can respond to conversations others have started on the page.  I will respond to your post if I think a response is appropriate, as may others. 

But, Please, no ad hominem attacks, no slanders, no profanity. Say whatever you want to say in response to the facts of what was said, pro or con, but please no ad hominem attacks, i.e., don’t try to prove you are right in your argument by illogically attacking or slandering the personal characteristics, beliefs, feelings, or behaviors of the person you are arguing against.

As I read articles on the Internet during a month from various publications here and yon I post some of them to my Facebook page and then use most of them as sources for The Earthian, published about once a month.   After you get to the Facebook page you can find most of the articles listed as sources in The Earthianposted on the Facebook page, and you can respond beneath them with any comment you want to make about the article or what anyone has said about the article.

As a reincarnated Don Quixote I gain satisfaction from trying to give moral support to Earthians of any sort in their battles for survival, giving back a little in my retirement years, having survived many threats and battles in my long life, still standing in relatively good shape at age 80. I got bored with hunting, fishing, playing golf, and traveling some years ago, especially after being forced to obey and accept militaristic TSA attitudes, rules, intimidation, indignities, and stress to board airplanes, thanks to Bush II’s insane War on Terror, an aggressive offensive war that did irreparable harm to the social fabric of the US, not to mention the incomparably greater irreparable harm inflicted on millions of humans and other Earthians in other nations, caused by dropping bombs on them.

I have no desire to sell subscriptions or advertising or solicit donations for my blogs, but I would like to sell more books. If you feel you have gained value from my blogs or any page on our website and want to reciprocate please go to our Effective Learning Publications page , Amazon.com , or any brick and mortar bookstore and purchase one or more of my books.

Best wishes, RJS

GAMES EDUCATORS PLAY

Case 17

Games Educators Play

EDITOR’S NOTE: This case was first published in Business Voyages:  Mental Maps, Scripts, Schemata, and Tools for Discovering and Co-Constructing Your Own Business Worlds in 2008.  I (Richard) wrote the case during the fall of 2003.

I posted this case here July 11, 2016 primarily to enable readers to gain some understanding of a metric I develped for measuring the productivity of teachers to increase the fairness of student evaluations used to measure the performance of teachers, a CITP, or Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, first published in our (Stapleton & Murkison) article, “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations:  A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Expected Grades,” published in 2001 in the Journal of Management Education by the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society.  The article has been cited by now in 2019 in 73 referred journal articles in several disciplines, from physics to psychology.  This case presents the context prompting the development of Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluastions and some of its major findings and implications.  I would have posted the article itself if I could.  Unfortunately it contains tables, charts, and graphs that would be impossible to format on this website.

This case focuses primarily on my use of transactional analysis concepts and techniques in my teaching career as a professor of business policy, entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, ethics, operations management and management information systems.  

Transactional analysis appealed to me in 1970 because it was readable, learnable, and teachable. Eric Berne, the founder of TA, was clear and concise in his books defining terms and concepts such as ego states, transactions, Games, scripts, time structuring, group cultures, group imagos, group etiquette, organizational boundaries, agitations, and cohesions (Berne, 1957, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1970). I was first exposed to his teaching in What Do You Say After You Say Hello, which I received in 1970 through the Book of the Month Club when I was teaching general management, my first year in full-time teaching, in a business school at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. I had just earned a doctor’s degree in business administration with a major in management science with minors in economics and finance in 1969 from Texas Tech University.  Eric Berne’s most popular book, still selling today, selling over two million copies, is Games People Play (1964).

Despite the fact I had never had a business course as a student that entailed nothing but the analysis and discussion of cases for grades, I was teaching in a department that required all teachers to use the case method (Christensen & Hanson, 1986; Christensen, Garvin & Sweet, 1991; Christensen, 1992; Gragg, 1940; Towl, 1969), that required the reading and discussion of a case a day, with no standardized tests, the final grade being based solely on class participation and one case write-up used as the final exam.

I was told by Bernard Bienvenu (1969), a full professor and head of the department with a Harvard business doctorate, a native of the area, to just go in the classroom and talk with the students about the cases. Knowing what to say to these students in this situation after you said hello was not a simple problem. In a case of the blind leading the blind, not only did I have little understanding of how the case method worked, I had doubts about how well I could explain all those management science, economics, finance, accounting, marketing, and organizational behavior theories, procedures, and concepts I had read and been tested on in my doctoral studies.

I had good recommendations from my professors at Texas Tech and one of them, Carlton Whitehead, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in business, from Louisiana, had taught under Bernard for a year or so using the case method.  Carlton thought I would like the case method and South Louisiana culture, replete with good fishing and good seafood, especially crawfish etoufee.  Bernard told me he did not have enough money to even think about hiring Harvard doctorates to teach in his department, but he thought I would be able to learn the case method on the job, given my background and proclivities.  He offered me a decent salary and the associate professor rank, enabling me to skip the assistant professor rank, a feat almost unheard-of in those days.

I left the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now University of Louisiana-Lafayette) my first year, largely because of my feelings of inadequacy using the case method. I moved on to Georgia Southern College (now University) where I have remained 33 years and where no one used the case method, but me.  In a surprising and frustrating twist of fate, after I had already accepted my new position at Georgia Southern and had submitted my letter of resignation to USL, after it was too late to back out, during my second semester at USL it dawned on me how the case method worked. I became comfortable using the case method, I enjoyed talking with students using the case method, I felt successful using the case method, and I have used almost nothing but the case method in my business teaching since. This was one of the most significant if painful learning experiences of my life, probably the most significant academic learning experience.  To this day I am convinced business students learn more and better about business in general using the case method than they do memorizing theories and concepts for standardized tests.

I became a full professor at Georgia Southern at age 36, having published a book (Managing Creatively:  Action Learning in Action, University Press of America, 1976) containing cases and case method procedures, and a little transactional analysis, but I was a lone wolf or a voice in a case method wilderness throughout my career, missing good years of dialogues with my case method mentors at USL, the best business teachers I have encountered. Probably less than 5 percent of all business teachers worldwide use the case method, and fewer still use transactional analysis. Shortly before I left USL, Bernard Bienvenu signed me a copy of his book New Priorities in Training (1969), published by the American Management Association, and included this inscription, “Good wishes for the gift of perseverance which leads to accomplishment.”

Accidental Causes of Learning

Fate, blind luck, evolution, or historical accidents cause us to be exposed to the most significant teaching and learning in our lives—especially the teaching we received from our parents in our earliest years. Not only do we learn how to walk, talk, and squawk in this school, we learn about how to feel, think, and do for good or ill throughout our lives by what we decide about the winner, loser, or non-winner scripts that are passed down to us from our ancestors.

What else we are taught and learn is also largely a matter of luck or fate, in my opinion, depending on what is taught in the media, religious institutions, communities, schools and universities, and culture on the particular terra firma spot on which we are accidentally born and reared. Although few would argue reading, writing, and arithmetic should not be taught to all children, even teaching such as this is not yet universal, not taught at all among isolated indigenous tribes, and, while taught, is not learned by many students even in advanced societies. Even if these basic skills are taught to all children in compulsory schools, if a student is accidentally exposed to a poor-enough teacher or school she or he may not learn one or more of these skills because of the inadequate teaching, and, if a student has already been accidentally taught by parents in a powerful enough way not to think, learn, or be successful such a student may not learn how to read, write, or do arithmetic even if exposed to the best of teachers and schools. Adding more unfairness and uncertainty to this cosmic learning lottery, some students apparently inherit genes through biological processes that predispose them to be good learners of various skills, otherwise how could people such as Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, and Thomas Edison have learned and accomplished what they did with less than 6th grade educations?

Had I not encountered Vince Luchsinger a professor of management at Texas Tech who told me in 1966 I could work on a doctorate at Texas Tech I would never have become a university professor and for sure I would not have learned what I have learned since then. Had I not encountered Carlton Whitehead the coordinator of graduate studies in business at Texas Tech who told me about the USL case method position, I would never have learned how to use the case method. Had I not accidentally received Eric Berne’s What Do You Say After You Say Hello through the Book of the Month Club, I might never have ever learned anything about TA, and I would not have written this case. Because of reading this book and because of previous books I had read and experiences I had involving my own script, I was able to understand how TA concepts could be used to deal with problems I was experiencing as a teacher. One’s lifetime education, therefore, largely depends on the people and reading matter one accidentally stumbles across, assuming one learns to read in the first place.

Learning To Teach TA

It seems to me teachers in TA certification programs for educators have generally been taught some TA beyond what they might have learned on their own reading transactional analysis books and articles and were left to their own devices to figure out how to use TA in whatever kind of teaching they might do. One might think it might help for teachers certified in education by TA associations to have a degree or two from a college of education, since some good research and literature have been published in this field. I have read some of this literature (Dewey, 1935; Dressel, 1961; Freire, 1970; Gagne, 1977; Giroux, 1992), but most of us in higher education, outside schools and colleges of education, have had little or no teaching or training about how to teach by experts in the field of education. We may be relative experts in our fields, such as business, finance, physics, or whatever, but anything we know about teaching we have generally picked up by copying the teachers who taught us. I am convinced most teachers are scripted by the teachers who taught them in their undergraduate and graduate courses in their fields. Teachers generally copy or introject the values, attitudes, group imagoes, ego states, transactions, and teaching methods exhibited and used in the classroom by their favorite or most influential teachers, which they then pass on to their own students. I am the only teacher I have heard of who adopted a teaching method used throughout his teaching career that was not used by his undergraduate and graduate teachers. Based on my observations teachers almost never change their teaching scripts throughout a teaching career.

I encountered some of the brightest and best teachers and fellow students I have experienced as a student learning transactional analysis at the Southeast Institute at Chapel Hill, North Carolina during 1975-1980—Martin Groder (1977), Vann Joines (1987), Graham Barnes (1994), Ken Ernst (1972), John O’Hearn, Ken Sowers, Pam Dickson-White, Shep Gellert (1983), Buzz Lee, Nick Moore, Grady Hough, Tim Schnabel, Russ Osnes (1974), Pamela Navarro, Pam Jelly, Jake Jacobs (1991) and many others. All of these people were adults with degrees in several fields, including medical doctors, psychologists, a registered nurse who taught in a medical school, an elementary school teacher, two university professors of mathematics, a CPA, a minister, an ex-Army chaplain, an ex-college president, and others. We discussed complex, vexing, sometimes insidious problems, yet we had some fun, and most of us would try to give anyone a straight answer about any problem. While there was probably some Game-playing going on even here, there was far less of it than I have experienced in other schools. I was amazed and encouraged by what Ken Ernst (1972) was teaching his grade school students in California, and I hoped he might become a role model for public schools everywhere. He was teaching students in a public grade school about ego states, transactions, Games, and scripts in ways they could understand and was giving them tools for dealing with horrific psychological problems some of them had experienced in their lives at school and at home. Unfortunately he may have been one of a kind, since he is the only teacher I have known who did this kind of teaching in a public grade school.  Almost all my teaching experience has been teaching business students in colleges and universities who were 18 or more years old and adults of various ages in continuing education and consulting programs. While I have innovated some techniques and procedures I consider effective in my classes, I have had no firsthand experience indicating they work in classes at all grade levels.

In 1980 I thought about teaching TA to all kinds of teachers anywhere. I had 1,000 coated, folded 4-page brochures printed in two colors that I mailed to curriculum directors throughout the United States, which resulted in the sale of one contract, six hours worth of didactic teaching in one day for a county school system, in a Southern state other than Georgia, as in-service training for all teachers in the system before school started. I think I was paid $50 an hour. The curriculum director said she hoped I was good because the school system would have her head if the teaching bombed since it cost so much. While the teaching did not bomb as such, I was, in my opinion, less than successful, and I did not mail out any more brochures to school systems pell-mell. Some of the teachers in this experience told me personally they benefited from my TA teaching, but it was obvious many did not like what they heard or me personally, and I did not like what I saw in some of them. Here I was teaching supposedly-mature professional teachers about how to motivate students and create positive attitudes when some of these teachers had worse attitudes and were more immature than were some of my college students. Some of them needed therapy, and there was no way I could deal with these issues in this setting, ethically or otherwise. One attractive teacher in her forties became upset when I suggested that they might randomly select students to talk about homework in class. Accosting me before a group of 100 or more teachers, she said, “I would never dare do that with my students. It would embarrass them to death.”

I had been conducting some night TA courses through continuing education at Georgia Southern for adults in my community from any profession or walk of life that were successful in my opinion. The difference was the teaching method. In the six-hour contract with 200 teachers I had to generally fill up the airtime by lecturing, defining terms, and giving my own opinions. In my continuing education courses I had passed out TA material I discussed in groups of 30 or fewer students as students leisurely applied the material to their own situations. Unfortunately, by 1985 or so few students were signing up for these courses. Either I had taught by then almost everyone in my community who wanted to learn about TA or almost everyone around here had decided TA did not work. Or maybe everyone had heard about me as a TA teacher and did not enroll because of my persona and proclivities. Regardless, I have done very little continuing education TA teaching since 1985. I have, however, continued to use TA in my teaching of undergraduate business students in my business policy and entrepreneurship courses.

I also conducted some successful TA training programs with some businesses in this area during the late 70s and early 80s. I worked with one local manufacturing plant off and on for 5 years, teaching TA to about 300 employees at all levels in didactic sessions and working with them in group meetings discussing plant problems. I worked with them on contracts involving not only interpersonal conflicts but also such things as purchasing new computers, inventing new information systems, and changing the scheduling system of the plant. Unfortunately this plant has since been sold twice and most of its jobs have been moved to a low-wage country.

De-Gaming Teaching and Learning

When I was teaching at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Rex Hauser, one of the two Harvard Business School doctorates teaching in the department, would randomly select students to start case method discussions by picking a card from a deck of computer data cards he shuffled in front of the class every day. These cards were turned in by students the first day of class to prove they had enrolled in the course. Whoever’s card got picked had to tell the class what he or she thought was the problem in the case and what to do about it. I had never seen or heard of such a thing. Part of my learning at USL entailed learning that this random-selection process worked. It became obvious to me that Rex’s students read the cases before they came to class and were learning more than my students were learning because of this random-selection process. While I never had the confidence to try this data card-shuffling idea at USL, after I got to Georgia Southern after a year or two I decided to have my students position their desks around the perimeter of the classroom and play spin the bottle.

The coke bottle would roll and rattle around on the floor, creating a distraction, so I started spinning a pen on my seating chart, which was also circular reflecting the circle classroom layout of the class. The person whose name the point of the pen stopped on became the accidental discussion starter of the day. This solved the rolling- around problem of the bottle, but since I sat in a desk just like those students sat in, which had a slanted top, my pen would often roll off the desktop before it stopped spinning.

By this time, I had learned about psychological Games and the Karpman Drama Triangle (1968) at the Southeast Institute, so I concocted a circular piece of wood 9″ in diameter to which I affixed a spinner, also made of wood, which I labeled the Classroom De-Gamer, which I described in an article I sent to the Transactional Analysis Journal, which was accepted and published under the title “The Classroom De-Gamer” (Stapleton, 1979a). I drew concentric circles of numbers on the De-Gamer, corresponding to different class sizes. Each student in a class would have a permanent number for the course corresponding to where he or she had decided to sit in the circle the first day, numbers being assigned in sequence around the room starting with any student I might pick. Students sitting near me in the circle day in and day out could see that the spinner stopped on particular numbers, and they would know I was not playing Games when I called out the number for someone to start the discussion and prove they had fulfilled their contract for the day by reading the case before class. Since I sat in different desks on different days different students would watch the spinner spin.

I created my own publishing company in 1979, Effective Learning Publications, and printed 500 copies of a book I wrote titled De-Gaming Teaching and Learning:  How to Motivate Learners and Invite OKness.  The book was built around the Classroom De-Gamer, describing how it De-Gamed Games such as NIGYSOB, KICK ME, GEE, YOU’RE WONDERFUL PROFESSOR, POOR ME, DO ME SOMETHING, COPS AND ROBBERS, I’M ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU and ISN’T EDUCATION WONDERFUL. I pointed out no student could logically feel or think I was acting out the Persecutor or Rescuer role when she or he was selected by the De-Gamer to start discussions, and no student could logically think he or she was a picked-on Victim when selected. I am sure much of my motivation for writing this book stemmed from the disgust I felt as a student in grade school and high school in classes taught by teachers who had teacher’s pets.

I am indebted to Martin Groder, MD at Chapel Hill, North Carolina for his help writing this book, not only for his powerful TA ideas published and cited in the book, but also for his insights and feedback regarding the overall problem of de-gaming Games.  Marty gave me a great stroke for the book, which I used as a blurb marketing the book, with his permission, which I am convinced significantly increased its sales, primarily through Trans-Pubs, the ITAA bookstore, that marketed TA books internationally through direct mail and in bookstores.  Trans-Pubs set up traveling bookstores at ITTA conferences in various locations around Earth.  

Marty said, “De-Gaming Teaching and Learning is a major new application of transactional analysis.”

This short blurb was a high compliment, coming from Martin Groder, printed with the book listing in all Trans-Pubs catalogs and mail-outs.  Marty was a major leader of TA at the time.  He was a protege of Eric Berne, having worked with Berne in San Francisco as a trainee, and was a leading contender for president of the International Transactional Analysis Association when De-Gaming Teaching and Learning was published in 1979.  The ITAA at that time was a vibrant and growing inter-disciplinary professional association with about ten thousand international members. 

In De-Gaming Teaching and Learning I described in 132 pages how I thought ego states (Berne, 1970), transactions (Berne, 1970), ego-grams (Dusay, 1972), scripts (Goulding & Goulding, 1976; Steiner, 1974), time structuring (Berne, 1970), strokes (McKenna, 1974; Steiner, 1971), Games (Berne, 1964; Karpman, 1968), rackets (English, 1971, 1972), mini-scripts (Kahler, 1974), and OKness (Ernst, F., 1971; Groder, 1977) related to classroom situations. I made recommendations in the book, such as teachers using appropriate ego states in the classroom—generally more Adult, Nurturing Parent, and Free Child, but yet some positive Critical Parent and Adapted Compliant Child to maintain discipline and productivity; encouraging, for college students at least, more Adult—Adult transactions than others in the classroom; giving permission to students to overcome detrimental drivers and injunctions; allowing students where appropriate to express real feelings; allowing and encouraging students to think, learn, and contribute in class at the highest level of which they are capable; and managing the class in such a way as to maximize Okness among all participants. I used TA to explain how I thought classrooms should be designed and built, arguing that circle classroom layouts with the teacher sitting in a desk or chair just like everyone else tended to create a more I’m Ok—You’re Ok, Adult— Adult culture, as did amphitheater classrooms; whereas classrooms with students sitting in desks in fixed rows and columns with the teacher standing behind a lectern or sitting behind a big desk tended to create a more Parent—Child, I’m Ok—You’re Not Ok culture. I also recommended that teachers develop clear contracts with students at the outset of a course through course syllabi, a major feature of the contract being that students would read and do homework before class and share and discuss ideas about it in class.

I printed up some more coated two-color brochures offering for sale De-Gaming Teaching and Learning and mailed them out nationally and internationally to names I had purchased from a mailing list broker. Each mail-out would sell a few books, generating about a one-half of one percent response rate, which would not cover the cost of the printing and mailing of the brochures. I sold 300 or so copies through Trans-Pubs, and sold all the 500 copies in the first printing over the next few years. The book is still listed in Books in Print and is still available through Effective Learning Publications, although no orders have been received in 6 years. 

(Postscript:  I updated De-Gaming Teaching and Learning in 2016, retitleing it Born to Learn: A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning, publishing it through Effective Learning Publications.  It’s not a best seller yet but it has received some good reviews and book royalties are trickling in.  You can find the reviews by typing Born to Learn:  A Transactional Analysis of Human Learning into Google.  You will find several results).

In the late 1970s and early 80s transactional analysis concepts were sometimes included in standard textbooks published by major publishers in business disciplines such as organizational behavior and business policy, which I taught and still teach. TA concepts are no longer there in new editions of those books. I have not seen any mention of TA in any business book, except mine, in several years, and almost no one ever mentions TA to me anymore, including people in the community whom I taught TA. One exception is Jack Mallard, a successful retired businessman, who has asked me several times in recent years around town, “Do you remember that TA class we had back in the ’70s?”

I have written a 79-page monograph I call Business Voyages (Stapleton, 1998), printed by Georgia Southern Printing Services and sold to students by the university bookstore, paying no royalties, that I use in my Applied Small Business course, a course that entails students consulting with and writing cases about small businesses in the community, involving about 30 students per year. This monograph has a chapter explaining how I think TA concepts and procedures relate to entrepreneurs and small business. In written feedback about the course students often say the TA material was among the most interesting parts of the course. It seems none of my business students in recent years have heard of TA before they read Business Voyages.

The metaphor of Business Voyages is that business people sail in a boat with others, whether in companies or countries, for the short time of their lives, in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Inertia created by scripts and currents and winds in the environment inexorably sweep everyone somewhere, but it is possible for individuals to chart courses and reach ports of call on Earth they might personally prefer.

As I pointed out in my original Classroom De-Gamer article (1979), I am still convinced the Classroom De-Gamer makes my business classes more Adult, fun and productive than they otherwise would have been and that the De-Gamer reduces Game-playing in my classrooms.

Although I have never had problems attracting my share of good students for my undergraduate or graduate classes at Georgia Southern, some students have always shied away from my courses because of the Classroom De-Gamer, which is generally referred to by students as “The Spinner”, although it has also been called “The Death Wheel”, among other things. Several years ago I became convinced that teachers might be more inclined to use De-Gamers if the device were called something else. I had a new batch of 15 made by a local woodworker and had the name “Wheel of Fate” printed on them as a trademark. While some students seem to like this name better, apparently most still call it “The Spinner”. Teachers still do not like the idea. I sold 5 of the new batch and 10 are stored in my attic. They are made to last from sturdy oak wood.

EDUCATION PROBLEMS

Teaching generally entails teachers tasked to teach students the content and skills of subjects specified by a school curriculum. These subjects range from reading in the first grade to calculus in high school with all subjects in between—geography, English, plane geometry, history, chemistry, physics, psychology, vocational agriculture, whatever. In most cases, textbooks are specified by a state agency, but in some cases they are not, especially in colleges and universities with academic freedom in which professors may select or write books they require students to read, as have I (Stapleton, 1976, 1985, 1998, 2003). A given for a teacher is to cause students to learn the content or skills mandated by the curriculum regardless of the books or methods he or she might adopt (Gagne, 1970).

Most of my students have performed teaching functions since I have delegated them the freedom and responsibility to write cases they publish to their classes. They educate one another when their cases are discussed in class, which usually consumes about 25 percent of the airtime of my courses. Most of the books I have adopted for my courses have been written by business professors at Stanford (Collins & Lazier, 1995) and Harvard (Stevenson, Roberts, and Grousbeck, 1999). An exception is a business policy and strategy book I have used for about 30 years written by professors at the University of Alabama (Thompson & Strickland, 2003).

According to accounts I have read and seen in various media and conversations I have had with people familiar with what goes on in public schools, it appears some public school teachers are more or less forced to be more concerned with discipline problems and keeping order than with causing learning to occur. I sympathize with these teachers and respect and admire the abilities and efforts required to deal with problem students in these situations. While I think knowing TA concepts and techniques can help them deal with these situations, I do not think TA is a panacea. I have been fortunate since most students where I am do not create discipline problems. I have experienced no violent behavior in my classes, although in recent years I have had increasing problems with anti-social behavior such as students coming in class late and gossiping in class when responsible students are discussing the assigned reading. Because of this phenomenon, 5 years ago I wrote laws in my syllabi that students must agree to as a contract at the beginning of the course that this sort of behavior is outlawed, specifying they will lose letter grades if they violate the law, which has happened in several cases. Unfortunately I suspect college and university teachers will have more problems with discipline and anti- social behavior in future years than I have experienced in my career. This past summer I taught a beginning business course in which there were 4 or 5 students in the class of 40 who obviously had experience with gangs in high schools. Up until the past year or so I was unaware that gangs existed in this area. While I recognize that violence (Gilligan, 1997) and anti-social behavior are serious problems in many schools, my emphasis in this article is on how to produce relevant learning and De-Game students, teachers, and administrators.

Designing the Course

It seems to me most teachers including grade and high school teachers have some freedom to decide how to cause learning to occur, and there are two basic strategies for making this happen, in my opinion: (A) the teacher can do most of the talking in class and basically tell students what to remember for tests, or (B) the teacher can require students to do most of the talking in class by discussing and applying what is in the books, cases, and other reading.

Most teachers adopt strategy A. The teacher fills up the airtime talking in class, thereby seeming to be earning his or her pay. Students do not have to do homework day in and day out and are relatively easy to control since all they are generally supposed to do in class is stay awake and pay attention to the teacher and remember what the teacher tells them for tests.

Strategy B requires students to read homework and participate in class. Students have to think about what to say in class. They exercise their personalities and sometimes argue with one another in class. The teacher may say very little. Students are harder to control and may waste the time of the class saying things that will not show up on tests. Some observers may think the teacher is too lazy to teach.

As you might expect, I think strategy B causes more and better learning to occur. For one thing it gives students practice reading empirical and intellectual material, but more than that it requires students to think for themselves about what is relevant (Bateson, 1972; Fuller, 1969) and communicate dialogically and dialectically in class with fellow students about significant issues (Abercrombie, 1960; Buber, 1966, 1969; Habermas, 1981). With a little supplementing and explaining on the part of a qualified teacher most students can understand and remember much of the content specified by the curriculum—plus they will develop valuable work habits and communication skills.

A major social problem with the latter approach is that it becomes obvious as the course unfolds who are the better students, and if you grade based on class participation, rather than true-false, multiple- choice or other so-called objective test questions you might have spoon-fed answers to before tests, it becomes obvious who are relatively the excellent, good, average, and poor learners and contributors. If one is to be fair grading, most of the grades will be Cs, since on a 4-point system C=average, and there will be relatively few As, since A=excellent. Since grades are based largely on class participation, and since the students in the class also had their eyes and ears open, they too know who were the excellent, good, average, and poor contributors, and since they are believers in the equity theory of management just like everyone else, that is, that a worker, student, or contributor to anything should be rewarded the same as others who contributed the same, the teacher must give each student what he or she actually deserves, since students quite naturally will compare their final grades after the course is over.

I have been criticized because I have not used so-called objective tests with true-false, multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, or short-answer questions to prove students have learned. I strongly disagree with this criticism. In the first place, does memorizing answers for such tests prove relevant learning occurred, especially when one considers that answers are often spoon-fed, that test questions can be calibrated downward in difficulty to make sure all students can make A’s and B’s, and, if this does not work, that raw scores can be curved upward to make sure all students receive A’s and B’s.

Almost all my grades have been based 80 percent on class participation and 20 percent on case write-ups and long essays. I have not required students to memorize specific points or derive exact answers for mathematical problems. After students have read the text material and cases (most of which contain numbers and require mathematical reasoning) before class and have discussed it in class, especially while being subject to the draconian penalty of losing a letter grade if caught unprepared by the Classroom De-Gamer (Stapleton & Stapleton, 1998), a good bit of the material will stick with them, probably more than would have been the case had I attempted to tell them everything they needed to know for tests (Stapleton & Stapleton, 1998). Most of my students agree with me on this. Many say they forget everything they memorized for tests two weeks after the course is over.

A primary gain from using multiple-choice, true-false and other so-called objective tests as sole determinants of final grades is creating an illusion of objectivity, achievement, and fairness for students, teachers, administrators and parents. A secondary gain is absolving students, teachers, administrators and parents from the responsibility of learning in daily class discussions how much some students know about the subject and how little others know.

I ultimately agreed with my colleagues in Louisiana who had been trained in the Harvard Business School, probably the most successful business school in the world (Forbes, 2003), that the purpose of university business teaching is not to teach students to learn how to understand and remember theories, opinions, models, or procedures, or solve algorithmic puzzles but to learn how to understand business situations as they exist, make good decisions, create workable policies and strategies for dealing with real situations, and convince others that one’s ideas should be implemented. I also agree with other colleagues that most schools are not business schools, and their purposes are different. The purpose of most schools is to teach students how to understand and remember geographic and historical facts, theories, concepts, mathematical procedures, and the like. While my colleagues in colleges of education know much more than I about the accepted theory and techniques of testing and proving whether learning has occurred (Dressel, 1961), it is obvious that passing tests does not prove whether one will be able to understand business situations as they are encountered in real life, when the stakes are high, otherwise some of my colleagues with PhDs in business would not have lost half their retirement savings in 2000 in the stock market.

Grades

Grade inflation—teachers giving students grades higher than they deserve—which entails teachers playing Games such as GEE, YOU’RE WONDERFUL STUDENTS, I’M ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU, and ISN’T EDUCATION WONDERFUL, is rampant, not only in colleges and universities, but also in public schools (Healy, 2001; Johnson, 2002; The Economist, 2001, 2002). According to The Economist (2002), notable exceptions to the problem of grade inflation internationally are graduate schools such as the Harvard Business School “who have manfully maintained a rigorous grading curve.”

I have been engaged in research dealing with this problem for 7 years. I invented a metric in 1997 I call the Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, or CITP, which entails estimating the success of a teacher based on an average of ranks for four variables—Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Relative Expected Grades—taken from student responses on student evaluations of teachers. Unfortunately, while the CITP has been published in the Journal of Management Education (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001), and I have emailed the article to all administrators and teachers in my college (Stapleton, 1978), some 90 people, as well as the provost of the university, I have seen little evidence the CITP has been significantly used in our college. The CITP forces administrators to take into account how much teachers motivate students to study and the grades teachers have led students to expect, not just how well teachers pleased students as evidenced by instructor excellence scores.

After emailing the CITP article to all teachers and administrators in our college, I received two responses. One administrator told me in confidence he agreed with me about the pernicious effects of expected grades and that he thought it would be easy to program a computer to compute CITPs every semester for every faculty member. The other response came from a faculty member who told me he basically agreed with the CITP concept but most faculty were threatened by it and were upset that I had sent them the article in an email attachment. He said he told them that no one had forced them to open the attachment and read the article, but he also said he thought it was more or less traditional in academia that faculty members should not try to force other faculty to read and use research.

Despite my success five years ago causing study production, learning production, and expected grades questions to be added to the student evaluation form used campus-wide at our university (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001), administrators generally persist in only paying attention to instructor excellence, which shows how well the teacher pleased students, despite the fact my research (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001, Stapleton & Stapleton, 2003a, 2003b) and the research of others (Chacko,1983; Greenwald & Gillmore,1997a, 1997b) has clearly shown that instructor excellence scores are significantly affected by relative expected grades—the grades students expect in a course relative to the grades they normally expect in a course for a given amount of work—and the higher the relative expected grades the higher the instructor excellence score, and vice versa. These are cases, in TA Game words, of students playing GEE YOU’RE WONDERFUL PROFESSOR when their relative expected grades are high and NIGYSOB (Now I’ve Got You, You S.O.B.) when their relative expected grades are low.

In my opinion administrators persist in counting only instructor excellence and discounting study production and expected grades, despite research indicating how Game-infested this is, because this increases their own evaluations and raises as administrators. Counting only instructor excellence makes most teachers look better than they otherwise would, and since teachers also evaluate administrators, administrators must please most of the teachers in their units to receive high administrator evaluation scores.

Such behavior contributes to maintaining the moral equilibrium (Baier, 1958) of the system, morality being doing what is thought to be right based on abstract principles such as honesty and truth and agency theory (Goldman, 1970) such as doing what will advance your own interests and/or the interests of others. Although it seems to me abstract principles such as honesty and truth should supersede acting in a self-interested manner in schools, it seems this is often not the case. Unfortunately there are no criteria for grading students, teachers, and administrators in a school that will advance the interests of all others. It may be that in most school systems challenging teachers who honestly grade based on relative academic achievement are sacrificed, since the utilitarian criterion of justice (Rawls, 1999), i.e. attempting to create the greatest happiness for the greatest number, may be optimal (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001). Students, after all, really do need high grades to get scholarships and job offers, and teachers and administrators need high merit raises in order to be able to save money to send their own children to college, and so forth.

Teachers playing ISN’T EDUCATION WONDERFUL by lowering their standards to create high expected grades generally win—because it only takes a small percentage of students in a class taking revenge with NIGYSOB to destroy the departmental ranking of a teacher with high study production and low relative expected grades scores if only instructor excellence is counted in the process of evaluating teachers.

Administrators in my department up to the present time (March 2004) have ranked faculty based on instructor excellence scores and have discounted (Schiff & Schiff, 1971) study production and relative expected grades scores. I usually rank in the bottom 25 percent of these instructor excellence ranks. After my study production and learning production questions and the administration’s absolute expected grade question were added to the campus-wide form three years ago, administrators in our college stopped furnishing teachers scores for all questions on the student evaluation form. By making a special request I have been able to secure this data, and I know my study production score has been high and my expected grades have been low (Stapleton & Stapleton, 2003a, 2003b).

Despite the Game-playing student evaluations create, student evaluations in colleges and universities do more good than harm in my opinion, primarily because they show what all students in a class thought about the teaching of a teacher. In the absence of student evaluation data teachers are at the mercy of administrative opinion picked up in hallways and offices based on small samples of student opinion, which are more contaminated and Game-infested than student evaluation data, since most administrators have been taught they do not have time to actually see what is going on in the classrooms of teachers.

I have no firsthand experience with teacher evaluation systems in public schools, but as I understand the situation, since students in public schools are presumed to be too young and immature to evaluate teachers, student evaluation forms are not used; administrators sometimes visit classes to observe teachers teaching; there is more peer review; and student test scores on standardized tests are sometimes used to judge how well a teacher taught. In my college we have had almost no observing and peer review, and student test scores are almost never used to prove anything. About the only thing that counts in teaching evaluations is the instructor excellence score produced by student evaluations.

In at least one sense the problem of teacher evaluation is less significant in public schools than in colleges and universities, since most public schools do not have merit raises, salary raises being based instead on degrees earned and seniority. In colleges such as our business college there are merit raises, and differences in merit raises among teachers year in and year out can cumulate to significant yearly salary differentials over time. Therefore Game-playing around teacher evaluations is probably generally heavier in colleges and universities than in public schools. If the merit raise is based on receiving relatively high scores for instructor excellence, one can see why grade inflation is rampant in colleges and universities that have merit raises, and since using a Classroom De-Gamer increases one’s study production score which reduces one’s instructor excellence score, it is easy to see why most college and university teachers would never dream of using a Classroom De-Gamer.

Managing Colleges and Universities

The grade inflation issue has significant implications for the management of colleges and universities. If professors who assign the highest grades also receive the highest student evaluations and the highest yearly merit salary increases then the amount and quality of learning among students will almost surely decline and deteriorate.

Although in overall perspective I think the University System of Georgia has adequately administered Georgia’s colleges and universities, I have been critical of the fact that most administrators in the business school at Georgia Southern did little teaching and accomplished little or no research and yet generally received some 10 percent or more in salary than professors. They did useful work—overseeing records and paperwork, conducting and attending meetings, talking with students and alumni, using student evaluations to evaluate faculty for salary raises—but this is not something you need a PhD to do. Although it may be that most state university systems automatically pay administrators more than teachers, it seems to me this policy is flawed and invalid. It seems to me administrative work is not inherently more difficult or more valuable than teaching and research, and probably the contrary is true. To verify that administrators in the business school have in general received some 10 percent or more in salary than professors all one has to do is read the data published yearly in the State of Georgia Auditor’s Reports in the Georgia Southern library or in other libraries around the state.

According to Mieczkowski (1991, 1995), college and university administrators are often not subjected to meaningful evaluations because few people are in a position to know what they do or have any idea how well they do what they are supposed to do. Colleges and universities have the same problem large corporations have enforcing effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity at the top. Most board members are unable to understand the details, subtleties, and intricacies of operational matters yet they enjoy the prestige of being on the board. Consequently they tend to rubber stamp whatever they discuss. Many executives and administrators tell their board members they need more compensation because their counterparts in similar organizations are being given that much compensation and they might leave if they do not receive as much. The process is somewhat analogous to children extracting more allowance money from parents, by telling their parents that Johnny or Sally gets this much allowance and they should too, since they have been just as good as Johnny or Sally.

In general college and university professors use the same strategy, but at least in their cases they can point to their personal research and publication results, the numbers of courses and students they have taught, the numbers and types of courses or programs they have created, and evidence from former students that what they taught was valuable to demonstrate productivity relative to peers. It is often difficult for an administrator to point to something specific that s/he personally accomplished that demonstrates productivity relative to peer administrators. Most college administrators make little effort to accurately learn and measure how relatively well professors teach truth and produce learning in classrooms; instead they focus primarily on pleasing their superiors and rely on students and student evaluations to grade the teaching of professors.

As a participant in the unfair race in which all humans compete, I have no right to complain compared with most people in most walks of life, organizations, and countries about my career income at Georgia Southern, especially considering the fact I did not decide to become a college professor in the first place to get rich. In overall perspective I have been relatively well compensated compared to people generally and I have enjoyed more freedom, job security, and opportunity for self-actualization and travel in my work than most people. Yet it surprised me to see printed in a State Auditor’s report in the Georgia Southern library a year or so before I retired that quite a few administrators and professors in the business school at Georgia Southern had higher salaries than I, who in my opinion had contributed less of significance to Georgia Southern and to their academic fields. I was the top scorer and playmaker on every junior high, high school, and college basketball team I ever played on, and I do not like to lose, especially because of poor rules, referees, and scorekeepers.

In our “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” study, when Instructor Excellence scores alone were ranked, I ranked 23rd of 25 faculty members in the study; based on a summary CITP, Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, ranking, I ranked 3rd of 25 faculty members in the study.

Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations, published in 2001, has by now been cited in 68 refereed professional journals, proving it has been and still is being used by serious academics as a guide for evaluating teaching.

Like most people I believe in the equity theory of management, that is, that people doing the same thing should be rewarded and compensated commensurately to what they produce. Unfortunately in reality I wonder how widespread the equity theory of management is applied. I suspect in most organizations if they published salaries in auditor’s reports for all employees that many employees would wonder why many salaries are as they are. In many cases employees, teachers, professors, administrators, managers, CEOs, etc. are rewarded not for producing meritorious contributions of value to students, customers, stockholders, and humanity but for conforming to the organizational script and for pleasing the personalities of supposed superiors (Stapleton, 1978). The preacher in Ecclesiastes in the Bible was right about races not necessarily being won by the swift.

To cure the problem of salary inequities between administrators and professors all a system has to do is create a policy that does away with career administrators in academic units that provides for the random selection or selection in rotation of temporary administrators from the ranks of tenured faculty with terminal degrees for no more than three-year terms, giving them reduced teaching loads for three years but evaluating them using the same criteria that are used for fulltime professors. There is no need for a permanent class of career administrators in the academic units of colleges and universities. Anyone responsible enough to earn a PhD is responsible enough to serve as a temporary administrator in an academic college or department for three years. Being drafted to serve as a temporary administrator for a professor would be like a US citizen being drafted to serve a three-year term in state or federal government. Randomly selecting temporary administrators will help De-Game (Stapleton, 1979b) the administrative process by reducing pandering, flattering, favoritism, and cronyism.

We had some excellent administrators at Georgia Southern from the president’s office on down whom I thought conscientiously did their best to advance the interests of the university and their academic units, and we had no administrators at Georgia Southern that I knew that I considered truly incompetent or corrupt, and I thought most of them did their jobs adequately given their requirements and constraints. I think most of them did what they thought was right taking everything into account.

We had numerous professors in the academic departments, schools, and colleges of Georgia Southern whom I thought were exemplary scholars, researchers, writers, teachers, and human beings—who did their best to advance the interests of their students and mankind.

I think most administrators and professors played some psychological games, being forced to for survival in some cases; but the major problem, in my opinion, was that university system precedents and processes caused a chronic general overcompensating of administrators relative to professors. This problem is apparently common in school and university systems. Colleagues at professional meetings throughout the country told me they thought university systems in most states bestowed higher incomes on administrators who did relatively little or no scholarly or intellectual work who had somehow nevertheless been ordained as superior to professors. How this metamorphosis from professor to administrator comes about remains a mystery. For a definition and discussion of psychological games see Chapter 3, People Along the Way, in Business Voyages.

On the other hand, a major cause of salary inequities in AACSB business schools is the market for new PhDs. If new PhDs in a business field are scarce and you have to hire them to maintain AACSB standards—the AACSB among other things requires for accreditation that 40 percent or more of business faculty in all business disciplines in a school must have a PhD, DBA, or other qualified terminal degree—and if your school is competing with various states and several universities you may have to offer new PhDs with slim or no track records competitive salaries determined by current supply and demand in the market for new PhDs, which may be higher than the salaries of your long-service productive professors with good or excellent proven track records, and if the system thinks administrators should be paid as much as or more than the highest paid new PhDs, and if merit raises are percentage-based in subsequent years, salaries become increasingly inequitable through time. This problem is known as “compression” and probably most AACSB (American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business) business schools have a problem keeping their faculty and administrative salaries equitable over time because of compression.

Getting and keeping AACSB accreditation for over 30 years, as we managed to accomplish in our business school at Georgia Southern during my tenure, was not easy. Only about 20 percent of 2,000 or so US colleges and universities offering business courses during this period achieved AACSB accreditation. We were one of four of twenty or so four-year colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia—Georgia Southern, University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State—to maintain AACSB standards during most of this period.

Pickaprof.com

Last year I asked one of my classes why so many students dropped after the first day. A student blurted out “You only give 11 percent A’s,” which amazed me since that was about right for that course. I asked him how he knew that. He said it’s on pickaprof.com. Answering my question “What is pickaprof.com?” he said, “It’s a site on the web.”

Sure enough, it’s there, for the whole world to see. To find out the grade point averages of grades assigned by professors in my university and in many other universities all anyone in the world has to do is punch pickaprof.com in a computer search engine and hit the search button.

The advent of the Internet and pickaprof.com enabled me to learn Fall 2002 some of the most significant and relevant facts I have ever learned about my teaching. Since grade distributions assigned by teachers were always kept secret in our business school, I had no idea how my grades compared to the grades of other teachers. According to pickaprof. com, my grades have been considerably lower than the grades of all other teachers teaching the same courses I have taught and have been lower than those of most teachers in the college. My grade point average posted on pickaprof.com for an integrative capstone business policy course required for all business majors I had taught for undergraduate students 32 years was 2.47, which was, I had always thought, about right. According to pickaprof.com, the next lowest grade point in the course assigned by my colleagues was 2.86, and, among 6 or so teachers usually teaching the course every semester, they ranged from 2.86 up to 3.78, on a 4-point scale. Perhaps as many as half the teachers were assigning almost nothing but A’s and B’s in some undergraduate courses, particularly in courses that were designed to teach students to think and integrate different business disciplines such as economics, accounting, finance, management, and marketing.

Grade point averages posted on pickaprof.com are real since they are downloaded directly from registrar’s offices in states that have open records laws, as does our state. A faculty member who assigned relatively high grades whose salary was higher than mine bullshooting with me in the hall one day about the morality of grading (Baier, 1958; Bedeian, 2002; Haskell, 1997; Mieczkowski, 1995) said, “Hey, I’m just a working class guy doing what I thought I was supposed to do.”

The student entrepreneurs starting pickaprof.com may do more to De-Game higher education than any innovation so far, if they stay in business, since they are putting a lot of truth on the table. They have already removed a veil of ignorance from many eyes. While hundreds of Internet businesses have gone bankrupt and have vanished since the technology bubble burst in 2000, some, like eBay, have generated accounting profits. It would be helpful, in my judgment, if several new Internet businesses like pickaprof.com were started to post the grade distributions of all teachers in all schools and could make enough profit to stay in business indefinitely.

The Internet is not only causing people to know more about grades in education; it is causing people to know more about prices in business. While grade inflation in education has been rampant, price inflation in business has been quiescent in recent years. Because of people knowing more about prices for goods, services and wages worldwide, businesses and businesspeople everywhere are subject to more competition, which holds down prices for consumers. Whether this will happen with grades because of the Internet remains to be seen. If employers can easily learn which grades are most inflated, this might cause schools and teachers producing inflated grades to improve, since few employers would want to hire their students at competitive salaries (Forbes, 2003). Rather than simply requiring job applicants to have a high grade point average, businesses and other employers might be more concerned with what and how much students actually learned in school.

Global business practices aided and abetted in recent years by personal computers, the Internet, cell phones and rapid delivery services for real goods are changing at an increasing rate, helping some people and hurting some people, in rich and poor countries alike. How human relationships will sort out worldwide because of this process is far from clear. Hopefully an ultimate result will be that life will become more truthful, honest, fair and just for more people. Most schools, businesses, governments, and other organizations as usual are sailing in uncharted waters, hoping current courses and practices will work for most students, members, participants, employees, associates, managers, workers, stockholders, administrators, proletarians, parishioners, congregants, devotees, aristocrats, voters, citizens, monarchs, officials, subjects, or whatever as long as possible.

Academic Alchemy

Teaching evaluation processes would be improved if educated and fair-minded adults would read the grading procedures and tests used in courses and randomly visit classrooms to see, hear, and feel what is going on when teachers teach. This is not allowed or encouraged in most cases because administrators say they do not have time to personally visit the classes of faculty within their units or supervise parents or other faculty observing teaching. Most college teachers and administrators would probably say in-class observations would create more problems than they would solve. I invited administrators to randomly visit my classes to see what was going on. No one ever accepted my offer for a random visit. Two or three administrators visited my classes once or twice each in my 35-year career by appointment. One administrator became upset when I suggested he randomly visit my classes to see what was going. He accused me of being unethical since he said I should have known he did not have time to visit the classes of all professors in the department randomly or otherwise. Consequently, almost all colleges and universities use student evaluations to grade teachers. Numerical grades assigned by students are summed and averaged to develop ranks of teachers. Teachers with the highest numerical scores are assumed to be the best teachers. This is problematic for several reasons.

In the first place, using student evaluations to rank faculty assumes all students are ethical, capable, and rational evaluators. Some students are far from ethical, rational and capable when they evaluate teachers. Some take revenge against teachers if they feel a teacher has been too demanding or unfair. Only a small percentage of students taking revenge against a teacher in a student evaluation can insure that the teacher will be ranked in the lower half of the department, even if the majority of the students in the class thought the teacher was a good teacher, even if some students thought the teacher was excellent.

In the second place, using student evaluations to rank faculty assumes all teachers are ethical, capable, and rational. While most teachers are ethical, capable, and rational, some are not dealing with the ethical problems student evaluations entail. In order for a teacher to insure that she or he is not ranked poorly in a student evaluation, a teacher must make sure that he or she pleases almost every student in the class, including students who are below average in the subject, and like it or not, most college or university classes will include some students who are below average in the subject of the course. Pleasing all students entails the teacher not requiring anything that below average achievers cannot or will not do, spoon-feeding sound-bite-like answers in class to tell all students what to memorize for tests, or curving grades in such a way that D grades look like C or better grades.

Taking numbers on a scale of 1-5, from poor through excellent, reflecting the judgments of poor, average, good, and excellent students in a class regarding a teacher and then summing these numbers and then dividing by the number of students in the class to derive an average class score is like combining baskets of apples, oranges, plums, bananas, and grapes to create a basket of pears in a process of academic alchemy. If 20 percent of the students in the class thought the teacher was poor and 20 percent thought the teacher was excellent, which group was really right? Assuming truth about teaching exists, this is an important question. Both groups cannot be right, and a rating in between is also not right. The difficulty of the problem is compounded if the 20 percent of the students who thought the teacher was poor were poor students and the 20 percent of the students who thought the teacher was excellent were excellent students. Adding 20 percent apples to 20 percent grapes will not magically produce any percent of any other kind of fruit.

Student evaluations are not true propositions. Ranking faculty based on averages generated by student opinions, biases, prejudices, emotions, and the like and then using the ranks as if they were true propositions is a form of academic alchemy; yet supposedly intelligent and educated administrators do this almost everywhere year in and year out. Administrators do this because using these mindless ranks is the easiest way out for them, not requiring them to take responsibility for taking into account and analyzing all the facts and evidence generated by the teaching of teachers within their administrative units. They also use these ranks to defend themselves from faculty who might complain about a merit raise based on teaching. The administrator can point to the numerical rank and tell the faculty member his or her raise relative to the raises of other faculty was proportionate to the teaching rank of the faculty member relative to other faculty members.

Student evaluations are necessary in colleges and universities to provide evidence showing what all students thought about the teaching of teachers, to prevent teachers being at the mercy of random student hearsay conveyed to administrators personally in hallways and offices, but they should not be used to develop ranks obviating the need for rational analysis of all the facts and evidence generated by the teaching of a teacher, or the learning of his or her students. Summary ranking in some cases may be helpful if the summary ranks are created in an appropriate way, but even this ranking should be but one part of the overall analysis of the teaching of a teacher.

Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations

For more information on how to create appropriate ranks for teaching evaluations, see my article “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations: A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Expected Grades” (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001), published as a lead article by the Journal of Management Education. Summaries of this article have been posted on the Internet by professors concerned about student evaluations internationally. You can probably still find my Optimizing Fairness article on the Internet by typing my name into a search engine. On the other hand, you can secure an electronic copy of “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” from the Internet by typing Journal of Management Education into a search engine.

My article “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” has by now January 23, 2010 been cited as a reference by university researchers in 32 published journal articles concerned with the problem of student evaluations, according to a Google Internet search. Various professors around the world on their personal web sites have posted the article, and several centers and Sage Publications, the publisher of the Journal of Management Education, have included the article in anthologies of important articles dealing with educational issues and problems. To read from your computer these articles, anthologies, and a PDF copy of “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” all you have to do is punch Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations into your Internet search engine and access the web sites that will appear on your screen. See especially “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations,” in Learning from Journal Articles: Strategies for Maximizing Student Learning by Larry C. Holt and Marcella Kysilka (www.sagepub.com/ holt/articles/index.htm).

If student evaluation ranks are used, ranks should be created for instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and relative expected grades, and all four of these ranks should be shared with faculty. If a summary rank is to be created for each teacher in the department, it should be a rank of the averages of ranks for instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and relative expected grades. I call this summary rank a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity (CITP) (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001). The most important letter in the CITP is the I (Indicator). The CITP, as relatively sophisticated as it is, is merely an indicator of teaching productivity. As with all summary ranks of teaching, the CITP should not be used to obviate the need for an overall analysis of all the facts and evidence generated by the teaching of teachers. Whoever is responsible for evaluating teaching should not be allowed to abdicate his or her responsibility for fairly evaluating and rewarding the teaching of a teacher relative to other teachers by irresponsibly and mindlessly adding up some numbers, deriving a simplistic rank, and then dividing up the strokes and the merit raise money for teaching accordingly.

I did not reprint “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” in Business Voyages because of the length of the article, 33 pages, and because it contains some tables and graphs that would have been difficult to reproduce in the Business Voyages format. Basically the article contains correlations between 14 variables (representing14 questions on the student evaluation questionnaire) in pairs of two using data aggregated by the department of management as a whole, 29 faculty members and 1,251 student evaluation forms, creating a 14 row by 14 column matrix, and 4 correlations using data aggregated by specific faculty members. The 4 correlations aggregating data by specific faculty members, including all 29 members and all 1,251 forms, are between Instructor Excellence and Study Production, Instructor Excellence and Learning Production, Instructor Excellence and Relative Expected Grades, and Study Production and Learning Production. The SPSS statistical package was used to compute the matrix containing 14 rows and 14 columns showing the correlations between all 14 variables using both means and medians, and Pearson correlation coefficients using means and Spearman correlation coefficients using ranks were computed between the four pairs of variables mentioned above. Scatter diagram graphs are used to show visually the correlations of the four pairs of variables for both the Spearman and Pearson correlations. There were no statistical differences between the correlations of the means and medians in the SPSS matrix, so medians were discarded.

The data and analysis show that making assertions, generalizations, or propositions about student evaluations is not a simple matter. The data and analysis of Optimizing Fairness show that results vary not only by the way statisticians aggregate the data of student evaluations, that is, whether as a department or university as a whole or by specific faculty members, but also by what they use as data for the correlations, that is, means or ranks. If you lump all student evaluation questionnaires into the computer by department, school, university, or whatever, correlations between study production and instructor excellence are nonsignificantly positive (.09, p = ns, in our case), indicating the teachers rated highest as instructors may require as much homework as teachers rated poorest as instructors. On the other hand, if you tell your computer to lump the student evaluations of each faculty member together, as I did, and then compute a correlation between instructor excellence and study production between faculty members using ranks, the resulting correlation is negative (-.2793, p < .07), indicating those instructors requiring the most homework were generally rated poorest as instructors and those instructors requiring the least homework were generally rated highest as instructors. What this boils down to is that if researchers aggregate data by whole administrative units the computer treats the data as if students were taught in one huge class by one teacher, washing out the differences among instructor excellence scores and study production levels among different teachers, hiding the differences between the hard and the easy teachers.

On the other hand, the correlation between instructor excellence and relative expected grades was negative regardless of how correlations were computed, although the negative correlations using data aggregated by specific faculty members were much higher than the correlation using data aggregated by the department as a whole. The correlations between instructor excellence and relative expected grades using data aggregated by specific faculty members were -.56, p = .00 using means and -.61, p = .00 using ranks, whereas the correlation from the SPSS matrix compiled from data aggregated by the department as a whole using means was -.26, p < .10.

Here is the conclusion of the article:

“Because a positive linear relationship between study production and learning production ranks does not exist in this study, (see Table 5) and because there is a negative relationship between study production and instructor excellence ranks (see Table 2), it is possible for some percentage of faculty members to lower homework requirements and grading standards to increase expected grades production (see Table 4) and to increase their instructor excellence scores and learning production scores (see Table 3) on some student evaluations; and conversely, it is possible for some percentage of faculty members to lower their instructor excellence scores on some student evaluations by increasing homework requirements, raising grading standards, and lowering expected grades” (Stapleton & Murkison, 2001, pp. 289-290).

The article is titled “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” because there is no way you can devise a system that will please all teachers in a school. If you only rank Instructor Excellence you will discriminate against challenging teachers. If you rank only Learning Production you will discriminate against teachers who score high on Instructor Excellence but low on Study Production and Learning Production. Since a CITP weights equally ranks for Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Relative Expected Grades, it tends to create the greatest possible satisfaction for the greatest number of faculty members, an optimum solution providing a modicum of fairness for all players. This is the best you can hope for, since there apparently is no perfect solution.

This CITP solution is better than inanely ranking only Instructor Excellence, as was done in the business school at Georgia Southern by many administrators for many years, and as has been done, and is still being done, by thousands of administrators in schools worldwide. I think I have about taught administrators in the business school at Georgia Southern at least that you should not do this. On the other hand, Georgia Southern still refuses to put a relative expected grades question on the student evaluation form used campus-wide, including the business school. In 2000 I convinced Georgia Southern they should put study production and learning production questions on the campus-wide form, but instead of following my instructions to use a relative expected grades question asking students if they expected a grade in the course higher or lower than they normally expect in courses given how much they worked and studied in the course, Georgia Southern decided to simply ask students what absolute grade (that is whether A, B, C, etc.) they expected in the course, which diminishes the effectiveness of the CITP process, biasing the game in favor of the less challenging teachers in a clearly sub-optimum way. Asking students whether they expect an A, B, C, D, or F proves very little, since many students expect A’s and B’s, no matter what, otherwise they will lambast the teacher on the student evaluation. Some students expect B’s even if they have 60 averages at the time they fill out their teacher evaluation forms even in courses taught by challenging teachers, since they expect the teacher to cave in and use a curve if necessary to produce a B for a final grade. Many students have been taught to expect this teacher behavior in high schools and in other college and university courses. A’s and B’s, after all, are necessary to get and keep a Hope Scholarship in Georgia. Yet, even if students expect high grades from challenging teachers, and even if there are small differences in means generated from numbers for absolute expected grades, if you rank the mean scores, in most cases the ranks will show much of the real difference between challenging and pandering teachers, which is another reason ranks and not means should be averaged for the summary ranking.

My research findings regarding the significant and pernicious effects of relative expected grades at Georgia Southern substantiate and generally replicate earlier research and findings of Greenwald and Gillmore (1997a, 1997b) regarding the significance and effects of relative expected grades at the University of Washington.

For an example of a relative expected grade question and how it can be used please skip ahead to page 516 in Business Voyages and see how one was actually used as reported in my Transactional Analysis Journal article “Teaching Business Using the Case Method and Transactional Analysis: A Constructivist Approach” (Stapleton & Stapleton, 1998).

A Relative Expected Grade Question

The relative expected grade variable is the most significant determinant of the overall teacher evaluation by students.  Here is an example of a relative expected grade question that should be on all student evaluation forms to optimize fairness:  

Given my efforts in this course, the grade I expect to receive may not be the same I think I deserve. It will be
1 = much lower
2 = lower
3 = the same
4 = higher
5 = much higher.

(I added the immediately above paragraph and question to this case August 15, 2016 as an afterthought.  The question is an exact copy of the relative expected grades question we used on the student evaluation form used for our Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations study and article).

An exhaustive and thorough research study dealing with problems of student evaluations was recently published by Judith D. Fischer (2004) an associate professor in the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute titled “The Use and Effects of Student Ratings in Legal Writing Courses: A Plea for Holistic Evaluation in Teaching,” that included some of my research and the research of Greenwald & Gillmore, as well as many other studies. Here is what Fischer had to say about my research in “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations”:

“A recent study by Stapleton and Murkison (2001) dramatically showed the limits of the term “valid” as applied in student ratings. Their study showed a positive correlation between student ratings and student-reported learning. But theirs was perhaps the only study to break down and report data by professor. Broken down that way, the data revealed that some instructors confounded the general trend: of the twenty-nine instructors studied, four who produced learning in the top half received ratings in the bottom half, while four who produced learning in the bottom half received ratings in the top half. Had personnel decisions been made on the basis of these data, with a cutoff at the median, four of the more effective professors would have been punished or dismissed, while four of the less effective ones would have been rewarded. This study highlights an important point about statistical data: an overall correlation between two variables does not mean that one variable is always correlated with the other in particular instances.

“Stapleton and Murkison did not attempt to explain why eight professors confounded the general pattern. But studies have demonstrated that a number of factors other than teaching effectiveness influence ratings” (Fischer, 2004, pp. 123-124).

Professor Fischer then goes on to discuss in her article some of the major factors affecting student ratings, citing the work of Greenwald and Gillmore (1997a, 1997b) regarding the importance of relative expected grades and the findings of several other studies. Apparently law schools have many of the same problems as business schools using student evaluations and there are also pressures in law schools for professors to spoon-feed right answers to make it easy for students to make high grades on tests. Apparently grading the thinking, reasoning, and relative comprehension of students on written exams, class participation, and papers in law schools is fraught with hazards. Given the importance of law students graduating with a high overall academic ranking relative to their peers for professional purposes, law school professors may have to worry even more than other kinds of professors about vengeful students retaliating on student evaluations.

Entertaining teaching by cheerful and attractive teachers may attract fun-loving students and build up enrollments, but such teaching may not produce significant learning. Significant learning is generally produced by people being exposed to perturbing experiences that convince them their current scripts and schemata are obsolete and that new or better ones are necessary for dealing with environmental threats. Rather than produce happy-meal experiences in class, some effective teachers produce perturbing experiences that motivate students to learn in significant ways. Needless to say, this will not produce a high student evaluation rank given the averaging process most such ranks entail. A CITP averaging process, however, improves the summary ranks of challenging teachers because it weights equally instructor excellence (pleasing most students), study production (displeasing many students), learning production, and relative expected grades (displeasing many students). The CITP gives challenging teachers credit for displeasing some students, which was necessary to produce perturbing experiences necessary to produce significant learning.

Hundreds of articles have been published in professional journals, magazines, and newspapers in the last 50 years dealing with problems created by students evaluating teachers in colleges and universities, yet to this day student evaluations continue to create frustrations and injustices that bedevil many teachers. It’s possible most teaching evaluation systems will always be based on academic alchemy and serious teachers will have little choice but to put up with the make- believe realities of teacher evaluation systems. Although professors in colleges and universities may attain tenure and academic freedom, they are never free from being subjected to yearly teaching evaluations conducted by students and supposed superiors in administrative positions. Going through the yearly teaching evaluation process in colleges and universities is like being a defendant in court every year, with students serving as the jury and an administrator serving as the judge.

The process has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand it creates pressure and stress because no one wants to be labeled a bad teacher and student evaluations can have significant consequences, low raises for those with tenure, and even higher stakes for those without tenure, not getting tenure, and possibly no promotion to associate or full professor for those with tenure. On the other hand, student evaluations create goals for professors which if achieved result in satisfaction and a feeling that one has accomplished something worthwhile. Successful teaching is causing students to learn new skills, knowledge, and dispositions; but securing a high student evaluation score entails creating a strategy that requires no or some or much homework, no or some or much research and writing, essay or quantitative or multiple-choice or true-false exams, no or some or much graded class participation. Creating and implementing this strategy entails uncomfortable and stressful moral and ethical choices and tradeoffs.

The Morality of Grading

There is evidence grade inflation is rampant, not only in public schools, but in colleges and universities, including teachers at top tier universities such as Harvard as well as those at Podunk State (Fischer, 2004; Greenwald & Gillmore, 1997a, 1997b; Healy, 2001; Johnson, 2002; Stapleton & Murkison, 2001; Stapleton & Stapleton, 2003b; The Economist, 2001, 2002). What’s wrong with grade inflation you might ask? It’s wrong because it’s immoral. Telling falsehoods is immoral (Baier, 1958); inflating grades is telling falsehoods; therefore inflating grades is immoral.

Students in most classes are not equal achievers. If you calibrate (dumb down if you will) your questions and course requirements in such a way and to such a degree that the poorest achievers in all or most of your classes make A’s and B’s you are telling the falsehood that your poor students are really good or excellent. To fairly grade you should give each student what she or he deserves based on achievement relative to his or her peers. What is a peer in this context is debatable but in general it is any student subject to doing and learning what you teach. If you give the same grade to excellent and poor achievers in your class you are being unfair to your excellent achievers by depriving them of recognition for their achievements. If you lower your standards in such a way as to make it impossible for your better students to achieve at an excellent level relative to your poorer students you are depriving your better students of the opportunity to achieve at an excellent level, which is unfair because you are depriving your better students of recognition they could have earned.

If you eliminate these opportunities for your better students you will probably decrease the incentives and motivation to learn of all students in your classes, including your poorer students, since they will not be stimulated to exert themselves attempting to stay up with the better students. If it is your purpose not to grade students at all that is one thing, but if your system says you are supposed to grade students as excellent, good, average, poor, and failing, if you lower your standards in such a way that poor students can answer all or most of the questions right or do everything you say they are supposed to do in what you define as an excellent or a good way and all students make A’s or B’s you in effect are not grading students as your system says you are supposed to grade, which is also immoral, assuming your system is moral and honestly wants you to grade students as excellent, good, average, poor, and failing.

But what if all students actually learn 80 percent or more of the content of the subject you are teaching in your course, shouldn’t all students in the course receive A’s and B’s? Yes they should if that really is the case. On the other hand it seems to me in the vast majority of cases it is ridiculous to say students learn 80 percent or more of everything there is to learn about the subject being taught in a course. The content of courses is almost always a sample of the total content of the subject; and if you make your sample unduly small and spoon-feed students everything they need to know for tests you are engaging in a form of immorality as outlined above.

In my opinion the moral way to do it is to set your standards high enough that they truly challenge your excellent students and grade the achievements of all your students relative to the achievements of your excellent students, ascertaining whether your students achieve at good, average, poor, or failing levels relative to your excellent students, and let the chips fall where they may. What do you think would happen if football and basketball coaches were to say all their players were good and excellent and tried to let all of them play on the first string?

You can honestly build a case that grading people is immoral period because it stigmatizes and all people should be accepted unconditionally; and you can honestly argue that grading in schools, colleges, and universities should be abolished, or that schools, colleges, and universities should be abolished. Given the way things are, however, I can also honestly argue that if someone does not want to be fairly and honestly graded then he or she should not enroll in mainstream courses in schools, colleges, and universities.

In the case of grading in schools, colleges, and universities you can argue that inflating grades is moral because it helps the worst off and it might cause the greatest good for the greatest number. But it seems to me after all is thought and said, in an educational environment, truthfulness as a moral criterion should trump all others (for sure no pun intended these days, circa July 16, 2016).

Why is morality important you might ask? In my book morality is essential for the functioning of a decent, productive, and satisfying culture—which a good teacher can create in a classroom in some countries. The more teachers there are creating good cultures in classrooms in as many countries as possible the greater the chance decent, productive, and satisfying cultures shall some day exist among all people aboard Spaceship Earth.

A Question of Free Will

Whether free will exists is a relevant question. If it exists humans can learn to be autonomous as TA people espouse, and humans can use their Adult ego states to read and observe facts, phenomena, processes, books, articles, and other intellectual and artistic creations and create and choose profitable and ethical things to feel, think, and do regardless of script messages, rackets, and Games passed down from ancestors that are introjected into and stored in Parent and Child ego states in brain cells and sub-conscious minds (Allen, 2003; Barnes, 1994; Clarke, 1999; Erskine & Moursund, 1988; James, 1974; McCulloch, 1988; Osnes & Gesme, 2000; Popper & Eccles, 1977; Steiner, 2003).

On the other hand, we humans may be like dominoes falling in cause-effect chains. A Princeton professor A. L. Goldman in his book A Theory of Human Action (1970) proposed and presented sound analysis and reasoning for the proposition that every effect has a cause, even effects such as human feelings, thoughts and wants and therefore human action is deterministic. It seems to me this is plausible even if humans never develop the capability to detect and track the exact cause- effect sequences leading up to specific human actions. It seems plausible to me that human actions that appear to be spontaneous, random, or accidental were actually caused, deterministic, and inevitable. If this is true in general let us pray humanity is being caused to evolve structures and processes that will result in survival and satisfaction.

According to Ron Powers in his new biography Mark Twain: A Life (2006), Mark Twain thought humans were machines doing what was inevitable with their lives. I have no idea what sort of reasoning Mark Twain might have used to reach this conclusion but most likely the conclusion was based on his observation of humans in real life. No doubt Mark Twain had greater powers of visual and auditory recall than most people or he could not have written the stories and books he wrote and he probably accurately saw and heard people talking and acting in programmed ways. Most psychiatric theories of human behavior were also based on similar observation of people, except in this case most of the observations took place in counseling sessions in offices and clinics. Most transactional analysis theories were developed based on observing human behavior and hearing about human behavior in clinical sessions. Albert Einstein was a strong believer in determinism and strict cause-effect relationships making things happen in the physical universe, including people.

Eric Berne the founder of transactional analysis wondered if he was like a player piano producing music written by his parents. If so he wrote it was probably better music than he could have written himself (Berne, 1970). He also thought only trivial decisions are generally made in the here and now using facts and reason, and that major decisions are generally a function of scripts co-constructed through time in the minds of decision-makers to enhance what are considered to be their best interests.

Some Greek Stoic philosophers and later philosophers such as David Hume believed it was possible for determinism and free will to simultaneously exist since although people might be caused to feel, think, and do what they feel, think, and do by external events, in most cases they are not forced to choose what they choose by an external force such as a more powerful person, and therefore their choices can be free. This view that it is possible for determinism and free will to simultaneously exist is known as compatibilism (wikipedia.org/compatibilism).

Strict determinists, on the other hand, argue that people are not free to make arbitrary choices because they must choose what they choose because of decision rules and criteria previously recorded in their brains. In other words, given the internalized rules and decision criteria people have come to learn and believe because of past experience, individuals have no choice but to choose what they choose when confronted with facts, objects, and decisions in external reality, and therefore their choices are not free.

The case can be made that people are analogous to computers and can only do what they have been programmed to do. In such a case the good news is that old programs can theoretically be changed and new programs can be read in; the bad news is that dysfunctional and deleterious programs in people most of the time are difficult to reprogram or replace. Since most people have been programmed to compete, many will fight to prove their existing programs are superior no matter what. For progress to occur powerful programmers must be caused to learn good programs that enable them to cause people with deleterious programs to learn good programs who then pass on their new good programs to others, and so on, in salutary never-ending cause-effect chains. Something causing schools, colleges, and universities to be populated with good programmers programmed with good programs is vital for such a process.

The most knowledgeable and intelligent physicist does not know with certainty what caused the Big Bang, assuming a Big Bang occurred some 10 billion years ago creating this universe as many scientists think. No one knows with certainty whether there is an infinite regress of causes, behind the Big Bang, or whether there is a non-caused cause, i.e. an infinitely intelligent free will, existing eternally that caused all phenomena in space starting from nothing. No one knows with certainty whether there have been any number of Big Bangs creating any number of universes in an infinity of time and space.

It’s possible we humans are not presently equipped to prove what is the root cause of life, although some scientists have come close (Kauffman, 1993; Weiner, 1995). A tough relevant test question is: How could a reproductive life form spring forth from rocks, chemicals, gases, liquids, and electromagnetic forces in a primordial soup billions of years ago on Earth? Was life transported to Earth via asteroids?

According to Buckminster Fuller, Albert Einstein, and other top scientists (Fuller, 1969, p. 62), the purpose of science is to “honestly attempt to set in order ‘facts of experience’.” Based on this definition I think most case method teachers and transactional analysts have been scientists.

I retired after 38 years of business teaching in May 2005, 29 years of which involved the use of transactional analysis. I received a high annual stroke income (McKenna, 1974) from students throughout my career for which I am grateful. Because of this it’s possible my spinal column has shriveled relatively little compared to most people my age, 64. I think learning about transactional analysis in the 1970s caused my teaching career to be more productive and satisfying than it otherwise would have been, and I trust my teaching transactional analysis will help my former students navigate satisfactory business voyages. Many have told me they thought it did up to some point in time (Stapleton, 2003). I have taught some 3,500 students in university business classrooms all of whom were OK.

These issues are discussed in all my books offered for sale on this website on the Effective Learning Publications page.  Business Voyages covers the CITP in more detail than Born to Learn or Recommendations for Waking Up From the America Nightmare.  On the other hand, Born to Learn provides a more comprehensive coverage of transactional analysis (TA) concepts and techniques, showing how they apply to such specifics as teaching methods, classroom layouts, testing and grading methods, student motivation, classroom management, and learning contracts.   

On the other hand you can find print copies of Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations in the Journal of Management Education in any good academic library, but few readers will take the time to look the article up.  The article is thirty-three pages long and contains numerous exhibits, charts, graphs, diagrams and the like substantiating the findings.  The article provides hard evidence, proof some say, that teachers can in some cases increase their student evaluation scores and their merit raises by lowering the requirements and grading standards of their courses, by dumbing them down and teaching to easy tests.  Using the CITP, a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, as described above, in the department or school will eliminate this possibility and optimize fairness for all teachers in the department or school.  Most teachers are just like most people in any vocation or profession.  They like to be recognized for doing a good job and want to be fairly rewarded based on their relative productivity and contributions.  The CITP will insure this happens.

FAIR TEACHER EVALUATIONS

Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations

A major feature of BORN TO LEARN:  A TRANSACTIONAL ANALYSIS OF HUMAN LEARNING is its analysis of the significance and importance of classroom layouts, teaching methods, and testing methods used by teachers of all kinds in all environments, parents in homes, teachers in schools, managers in businesses, Sunday School teachers in churches, and others.

If you are someone with the responsibility of teaching others—a parent, a school teacher, a manager, a preacher, a leader of a civic club, a fraternity or sorority, or some sort of military organization—you should read this book.

Why?

Because it might help you do a better job of teaching yourself and others and gain more satisfaction from the process.

The most important lessons in life are not lessons memorized in school; they are messages learned about how to live life so as to enjoy life.

The more you can teach people, your children, perhaps, how to do this the more successful you will be as a teacher.  

Born to Learn points out an obvious fact:  We are all born to learn.  And we will learn, no matter how good or poor our teachers are or what we learn.  The question is, what will the learning cause us to do?  

Born to Learn is based on clinical observations and research conducted by Eric Berne, MD, the founder of transactional analysis, a psychiatrist, and millions of people have used his findings since the early 1960s to help themselves and others learn better messages for getting on with the business of surviving and winning in the world, often under unfair and treacherous conditions.

To learn how to teach people, including yourself, better messages for getting on in the world click here. 

I wrote and published a short piece I called Appendix I at the back of Born to Learn recommending readers read our (Stapleton & Murkison) article “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations:  A Study of Correlations Between Instructor Excellence, Study Production, Learning Production, and Expected Grades,” published in the Journal of Management Education in 2001 by the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society.  The JME is printed and published by Sage Publications, a major publisher of academic materials.  I pointed out in Appendix I “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” has by 2019 been cited in 72 refereed professional journal articles in several academic disciplines, proving the article has been read and used by serious researchers and educators as a guide for evaluating teaching productivity. 

I told readers in Appendix I of Born to Learn they could access a free PDF copy of “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” by clicking on this web address, http://www.sagepub.com/holt/articles/Stapleton.pdf

I decided today (July 11, 2016) to add another page to our Effective Learning Company website called Games Educators Play on which I re-published a case “Games Educators Play” I published in Business Voyages, another book I wrote offered for sale on the Effective Learning Publications page of this website, which covers in some detail the research, reasoning, findings, substantiations, and recommendations in Appendix I of Born to Learn, including a recommendation that academic departments and schools use a CITP, a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, to evaluate teachers.  The CITP is a metric I invented that measures the productivity of a teacher by weighting equally instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and relative expected grades as variables taken from computerized student evaluation forms used for evaluating teachers.

Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” is thirty-three pages long and contains numerous exhibits, charts, graphs, diagrams, statistical significance tests, correlation coefficients, and the like substantiating the findings.  The article provides hard evidence, proof some say, that teachers can in some cases increase their student evaluation scores and their merit raises by lowering the requirements and grading standards of their courses, by dumbing them down and teaching to easy tests. 

Using a CITP, a Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, in the department or school will eliminate this possibility and optimize fairness for all teachers in the department or school.  Most teachers are just like most people in any vocation or profession.  They like to be recognized for doing a good job and want to be fairly rewarded based on their relative productivity and contributions.  The CITP will insure this happens.

Read the Games Educators Play page on this website now to see how the CITP works and why it should be used. 

These issues are discussed to some degree in all my books offered for sale on this website on the Effective Learning Publications page.  Business Voyages covers the CITP in more detail than Born to Learn or Recommendations for Waking Up From the America Nightmare.  On the other hand, Born to Learn provides a more comprehensive coverage of transactional analysis (TA) concepts and techniques, showing how they apply to specifics such as teaching methods, classroom layouts, testing and grading methods, student motivation, classroom management, and learning contracts.  

Check out “Optimizing the fairness of student evaluations:  A study of correlations between instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and effective grades,” by Stapleton & Murkison, published in 2001 in the Journal of Management Education, by the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society, using Sage Publications.  This article presents a new metric, the CITP, the Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, which has now been cited in sixty-one refereed professional journal articles in several disciplines, from physics to psychology.

https://studysites.sagepub.com/holt/articles/Stapleton.pdf

Published in 2001 by the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society in the Journal of Management Education, “Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations” shows how difficult it is to fairly evaluate teaching and learning and why relative expected grades questions should always be included on student evaluation forms to provide a modicum of fairness.

The major recommendation of Optimizing Fairness is the Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity, CITP, the fairest and most sophisticated metric for estimating teaching productivity I have seen.  Please note the key word here: Production. 

What do productive teachers produce?  Learning.  The CITP entails students estimating their relative learning in the course, caused not only by what the teacher told them in class but by how much time they spent studying for the course, which they also estimate.  The CITP gives teachers credit for being interesting speakers and entertainers, fair, interesting, etc., by requiring students to estimate the relative instructor excellence of the teacher.  Students are also required to estimate the relative grade they expect in the course.  The CITP is an equally weighted average of ranks of teachers for four variables, instructor excellence, study production, learning production, and expected grades.  A teacher’s CITP score will give a teacher a relatively accurate idea of his or her relative production of learning for merit raises and tenure and promotion decisions.

The 72 citations of Optimizing Fairness in the student evaluation professional literature, some in the last few years, one this year, proves the analysis and recommendations of the article have been seriously used by serious educators.  To verify the citations just punch Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations into any search engine and read the numbers for yourself.

Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations gets to the heart of intractable problems of the teaching profession, the most serious of which is probably teacher evaluations. How can you or a teacher know how well a teacher is doing his/her job? What sort of criteria can you use for making this judgment? Certainly the purpose of teaching is to cause learning to occur in students, but how do you measure this? What kind of learning? How much learning? How much learning relative to what? What percentage of a prescribed content or syllabus a teacher causes students to memorize? Or how much learning a teacher produces in students relative to how much peer teachers produce? In other words are you attempting to measure absolute learning or relative learning?

Optimizing the Fairness of Student Evaluations presents a unique Composite Indicator of Teaching Productivity (CITP), one of the most sophisticated metrics of teaching productivity yet developed in the teacher evaluation literature.

Check it out at

http://www.sagepub.com/holt/articles/Stapleton.pdf