21 Things the American Educational System Does With a Dead Horse


In 2007 I heard at a conference on corporate innovation in Boston “21 Corporate Things to Do With a Dead Horse”. Driving home from a meeting it occured to me that the same analogy, with a bit of tweaking, could be used to describe the antics currently occuring in the USA education system.

I adapted this version from a version I found at http://www.runningforums.com/21_Corporate_Things_to_Do_With_a_Dead_Horse_t21792.html.

Dakota tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In the contemporary American education system, however, it seems that we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Saying things like “This is the way we always have ridden this horse.”

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

6. Increasing the standards to ride dead horses.

7. Appointing a tiger team to revive the dead horse.

8. Creating a training session to increase our riding ability.

9. Comparing the state of dead horses in today’s environment.

10. Changing the requirements declaring that “This horse is not dead.”

11. Hiring contractors to ride the dead horse.

12. Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.

13. Declaring that “No horse is too dead to beat.”

14. Providing additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.

15. Completing  a CA Study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper.

16. Purchasing a product to make dead horses run faster.

17. Declaring the horse is “better, faster, and cheaper” dead.

18. Forming a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.

19. Revisiting the performance requirements for horses.

20. Saying this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.

21. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

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