Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It still isn't fair and they still don't care

This is the data that

Unemployment Rate: 10%
Number of Metropolitan Areas where unemployment is higher than a year ago: 372
Number of Metropolitan Areas tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: 372
Total consumer bankruptcy filings through November 2009: 1,300,000
Total consumer bankruptcy filings in 2009: 1,095,344
Homes currently in foreclosure: more than 1,000,000
Home Home Equity Loans and lines of credit extended through third quarter, 2009: $40 billion
Home Home Equity Loans and lines of credit extended in 2006: $430 billion
Profits earned by Wall Street firms collectively through third quarter 2009: $49.7 billion
Amount lost by Wall Street firms collectively in 2008: $42.6 billion
Total corporate profits, third quarter 2009: $132.4 billion
Financial services profits, third quarter 2009: $82.8 billion
Goldman Sachs earnings, 2008: $2.8 billion
Goldman Sachs taxes paid, 2008: $14 million
Wall Street Bonuses 2009(1): $149 billion
Wall Street Bonuses 2008: $140 billion
Total Lobbying spending 2009: $3.33 billion*
Lobbying spending by finance industry to influence regulatory reform: more than $300 million
Finance industry lobbyists per member of Congress: 5
Federal government share of GDP 2009: 26%
Federal government share of GDP 2000: 18.4%
Size of Federal Reserve balance sheet: $2.2 trillion

*Expected. The record, set in 2008, was $3.30 billion.

1) Six largest banks: Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Wells Fargo (WFC), Morgan Stanley (MS).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

On Mondays the Crick Ran Sudsy

On Monday the Cricks along West Run Road ran sudsy from the wash water that overwhelmed the drainage system in the pubic housing plan better known as the projects, or “The Proj” among the school aged.

Having heard my Mother singing,

“This is the way we wash our clothes, Wash our clothes, So early Monday morning”

As long as I could remember it was no surprise that we saw this on a Monday as we walked along the crick that traced a winding road that loosely traced a border from the south end of the borough to the north. There was something to be said for the fact that the smell was better than normal, the detergents, bleaches and softeners melding together with the normal fecal smell of the water. You had to be young and male in 60's to understand the need to find nooks and crannies to grow up in, to experience the unsupervised joy of childhood doing dangerous and foolish things.

I wasn't surprised to learn that these routines were ancient and were even part of the time management efforts dating back to the 1840’s, when books were written on how to manage the household like the factories that were springing up everywhere.

By 1866, each day was programmed across America according to books like Jennie June’s American Cookery which stated that wash should be done Monday, Ironing Tuesday, everything “set to rights” on Wednesday, “extra work” saved for Thursday, sweeping and dusting on Friday, baking on Saturday and church on Sunday.

But this was summer time for us, one day was the same as the last, at 12 they seemed to stretch on forever like the cars of coal and coke that went by on the railroads tracks that ran along the rivers, the same rivers that were the ultimate destination for the suds, some flowing and others clinging to rocks and logs like a soft coating that had an iridescence that was beautiful among the old tires, cement chunks with their antenna of twisted rebar streaking it with copper rivulets.

The first time you took the bait and stepped onto the rocks that resembled pillows, thinking your feet would sink into the foam like a finger into whipped cream, your illusion of softness was shattered. The soap film made the rock surface slippery as ice, the sharp facets at their various angles would shed your feet before you could think a thought, shooting them at high speeds in different directions that made it impossible to stop the hard fall into the putrid stream.

As bad as the physical pain could be the real suffering had just started, as the jeers and calls of Jag Off and Dick Wads were liberally applied to your discomfort, often before you had even emerged from the crick. Once you were standing, you were assessed for the level of wetness and how many gross things attached themselves to places you couldn’t see and were reluctant to touch with bare hands.

At this point the main factor that determined your fate was the number of kids in the party, if it was just you and your main group of 3 or 4 actual sympathy was possible among some mild digs. If you were in a group of 8-12 you would be in for more brutal treatment and if you were low on the hierarchy to begin with it could be a long day leading to a fight you would lose but had to fight to save what precious little dignity you had left.

If you were in a crowd of 13 or more you risked being bullied relentlessly by someone impressing someone else, or shunned by the larger group completely, in the worse case be driven off by threats or rocks. Sometimes a person with some standing in the group will peel off and without offering too much help check to see if you are OK, but your best bet is to take off and head home for some sympathy.

It is amazing how true to form that group size/behavior ratio was though out my life in school, work and life in general, and as my peers became less ethnically homogeneous the differences between groups of different cultures were harder to predict and for some of us impossible to adapt ourselves to regardless of our efforts.

Mom would be washing, it being Monday, and therefore making something for dinner that was easy to prepare, after running up and down to the basement all day getting off the sore feet was the priority. That meant that between trips of unloading from the washer to dryer, or cloths line if the weather was nice enough and the mills were blowing the other direction.

If the winds were coming at you the clothes would be dirtier than when Mom started, and she would be in a really bad mood if the winds shifted and she didn’t notice until the damage was done. Once Dad filled the backyard with an above ground pool in 1970 the outside cloths line became a thing of the past, except for a small line on the back porch or in the basement.

By then the ringer washer was long gone and dryers were common even in working class homes like ours in 1970, that made for a lot less to do on Mondays. Some of the hours were still filled by watching the dramas originally created for radio to sell detergents to housewives known as Soap Operas, these oft redundant and sometimes rules defying shows with plotlines that focused on plotlines that included some of the worst mankind has to offer moved easily to TV, expanding from the original 15 minutes to full one hour shows in some cases.

By 1970 the summer days chasing rats and birds, smoking cigarettes and some of the first tastes of alcohol were just memories, first replaced by corners and then by cars and eventually by apartment occupied by as many people as could found to pay.

Vivid memories still pop out with the slightest smell of methane, kids crawling in pipes under the roads where grownups were busy at the things that we are busy at now, a subterranean world that was stepping through the looking glass for city kids.
Whenever passing over a culvert that cuts under a road the knowledge that a set of memories and life lessons may be going on 15 feet below my car tires.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Banking and the Value Myth

I am old enough to remember the 70's well, I was a young man, the 70's were my first adult decade. The US was an unsure nation, chastised by the second war in 30 years that it didn't really WIN, but rather settled with compromises in Korea and were thrown out of Vietnam.

The pain showed in all aspects of society, our cars were losing share to Japan, the last country we beat in a war was now taking to our workers in Detroit and winning hands down. If you want to know how bad it got look at the way we dressed, fashion trends set by disco and flash back inspired designs from England, a country that has slid far and fast into the abyss of irrelevance and was taking it's revenge through fashion statements that screamed loser.

Then along came Reagan and his new history of America, instead of being a group of people that worked together, like socialist's or some other newly perverted life form, he explained that America was built by individuals who got what they wanted by taking from the weak and poor.

After successfully vilifying black people, poor mothers, hispanics and anyone that wasn't White and wearing a Blue suit with a red tie, he was elected on a platform of no taxes and bringing the stretch black limos back to DC. (Carter's car was a humble Chevy Impala. He was called the master communicator but he he was really a master story teller, and the idea of the oppressed white man was his favorite story, along with the types of folks that listen to Rush Limbaugh.

His most lasting effort was deregulating the banks, letting them change from being a service to businesses and commerce to BEING business and commerce, at least the only part that made any money.

This move to deregulate banks and insurance companies was the equivalent of dropping a bomb in the inner cities. Industries exploded, lives were lost along with jobs and we entered a 30 year period were wages dropped, mansions were built at a rate only exceeded by the 1920's and he raised taxes while building the recovery on the back of the tax funded military efforts building planes and ships to fight non existent enemies in his already failing mind.

So what to do, make baks accountable and transparent, eliminate off shore tax breaks and add import tariffs to countries that shelter tax cheats. Get the Government working again on energy instead of weapons, on education instead of tax breaks for second homes.

Most of all remember that we are part of a global family, humans every where deserve food, shelter and dignity and nothing is more important than making the world kinder and safer for all. Hard to write a country song about perhaps, but there are some rappers that can tell the story in simpler terms that might get the point across like CSN&Y did with their song Ohio that opened eyes through the ears of millions of Americans.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's so funny about peace, love and understanding?

The guys in Oslo continued their excellent critic of the US, specifically after it's use of the bully pulpit in recent years with their awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.

The right wing wailed and gnashed their teeth, but that wasn't anything new, what was new was the way that the world is seeing us, that hope thing that the economy dashed over here is alive and well in many parts of the world where things are much worse than here even after our melt down.

The moment that Obama expanded the dialog to include the US and Russian atomic stock piles I was ready to give the Peace Prize, add his efforts to bring a more even handed approach to the Middle East and their problems and easing the tensions in Eastern Europe and it is no brainer.

I wish that there were more jobs for people that want to work, and it would be great if the banking industry wasn't controlled by organized crime and the congress wasn't owned by corporations. But they are and have been for some time so the President will have to get to them when he is done taking out the trash left behind by the crazy party left behind where we sent banks money because they weren't good at their business and bailed out jet riding auto CEO's but not auto workers.

Although I appreciated the many good things that Bush II did in Africa, his mistakes in Iraq and in the US and general lack of understanding have created a huge set of problems in finance, justice and stop progress in key areas of global co-operation.

It is true that September 11th created am emotional crisis across the country but after a few good statements and heading to Afghanistan he lost his way and went to Iraq, good for the Iraqi's who made millions from our efforts, not a good sue of our tax money and he never did get Osama.

Barack Obama is a smart and decent man that is going to leave a mark on the country also, but instead of the red blue brand that we were left with from Bush it will hopefully be a peace sign like the ones that I wore in the 60's to protest deaths everywhere.

I am looking for Peace, Love and Understanding

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We have the Birthers, the Tee Baggers and now the Suiciders

After watching a listening to the debates and town hall coverage it is clear that the conservative and liberal divide have common interest for a very interesting reason.

No matter if you listen to Rush or John the odds are that you are fat, eat a poor diet and don't exercise enough. If you are very determined to increase the cost to the minority of us that don't smoke, have BMI's under 25, exercise daily and order meals when we eat out that can be carried to the table by one person.


The link above shows how easy and cheap having better health can be, but for over 60% of Americans they want to know who is going to pay for their indulgences, and they don't want it to be themselves.

Elementary education should include trips to hospitals where kids can see fat people who ate so much they lost their feet, or smokers with a tube in their throat because they had the all American right to smoke.

We have all seen the TV stories where they show fat people in malls, airports, really almost anywhere except a gym or a juice bar. These people are stealing our money so they can live a life of excess and foolish habits.

They should be shown and asked on TV, how did you get this way, didn't you think about the problems and the cost to your children. In fact their should be a law that removes kids from fat parents as the problems from childhood obesity is going to cost society and us thin folks much more than the crack "epidemic" and drugs ever did.

Fat camps might be a start, at the individual expense of course. A six month crash course in one of CCI prisons might turn some people around, if not we always have the 3 strike rule in place. If you are caught over the BMI of 25 three times you get a life sentence.

There is some hyperbole here, make no mistake, but the facts are clear. Once again the loudest complainers are the biggest (pun intended ) abusers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

How we went from “Run, Greenspan, Run” to “Financial System Redux”

The financial downturn has been around so long now that we have to squint to remember the good times, fast rising technology company stock begat skyrocketing home prices which begat the worst economic downturn since the great depression.

The common thread throughout these bubbles was the growth of the financial segment of the US economy, it went from a rather stogy business in the 50’s and 60’s to an industry that produced people as famous and much richer than Hollywood by the 90’s.

Somewhere along the line white shoe banks started wearing Nike’s, deciding that they could rob Peter and avoid Paul, going into darker and darker alleys to hang with unsavory characters engaged in unseemly behaviors until the day came when they became the punk. Just like the toady in the old gangster movies they are alternately smarmy and condescending in the best of situations, and winey cowards when things get tough.

Just as the toady squeals like a pig at the first sign of paying for their deeds, these guys are trying to either grab the money and run or turn on their co-conspirators to lessen their own penalties. This is where the everyman for him self-credo of the Ayn Rand crowd gets to be a problem, while there may be honor among thieves, bankers have no similar code of ethics.

The savior has his hands full, and a staff that has its hand stuck in the financial mess like monkeys in a clay jar, unable to unclench the fist of complicity. The answer they have arrived at looks a lot like the question, and the tax payers are being asked to believe that our only hope is in the hands of Wall Street and Large Banks, teeing up the makers of this mess for a huge windfall while not risking enough to make a difference whatever happens.

We need to make a big change in the way the financial system works and the counterintuitive shift towards smaller banks with more to lose if things go wrong. The fact is that while the sporting world may benefit from the Major League Super Star driven business model banking has gone from a useful tool of commerce to a destructive force that has set unachievable expectations while rigging the pay system to reward them for the most banal of accomplishments.

We need a banking system that succeeds when the communities that it serves thrive, it is a critical element of the risk chain that allows economies to adapt and grow, making sure that the system is provided with relevant and timely feedback. When national and international banks took over the local banks a critical bit of information was removed from the local businesses, there was no way of understanding how many loans were failing until it was too late to spare the pain of a major downturn, and the bankers in turn are busy shoveling the pain out the door while handing out bonuses with tax payers money, they still believe they matter.
It is time to show the big dogs the door, letting them sink into extinction like the other failed species that have developed from a mutation into a moment of existence that was doomed as soon as the first $1 million birthday party was given with the plundered booty from our pension plans and 401K’s. The next conversation that I have with a banker is going to start with, “howdy neighbor”, and knowing that he will be boating on our local rivers instead of taking his helicopter to his place in the Hamptons will be a delightful feeling.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama Shows us some change

It is a great feeling to see the budget actually include everything we need to spend as a nation in one place instead of the shell game that the last administration played since the 2003. It is also great to the see the shift towards more logic driven policy funding, it is the best way to avoid situations that result from ideologically driven policies such as the "ownership society" that was the genesis of the housing bubble.(http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/27/some-housing-pictures/)

This isn't going to be an easy or short trip from the Greenspan driven "self-regulating markets", another ideological misstep that lasted past Reagan for another two decades mainly due to most people hoping that the myth that markets had an inherent morality that would create a fair work place. Despite the evidence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality) of an increasing inequality in income and mounting debt requirements of the lower and middle income earners the idea that this "rugged individualist" was how society work.

This was wrong, both currently and historically, the countries that have the highest "happiness rating" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happiness_economics) also have the highest levels of common interests, elevating the provision of care to people that are not coping with the challenges of life as well as most. Reaching that level of common caring is very difficult for the US as the diversity that has lead to our innovation also come with elements that make it harder to integrate concerns and causes.

No one likes to feel they are biased but tests tell a different story, if you don't believe me try a few, (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/selectatest.html) and don't get angry if the tests show something that you don't like, use the knowledge to change the way that you react in the next situation that may be affected by a biased decision or reaction.

The reason that this primer on bias was inserted into a post on the budget is that a key component of acceptance of any proposal is fairness, and biases are at the center of biases, one way that biases express themselves in society is in the validation of self entitlement based on race, gender, physical characteristics and handicaps, religion, ethnicity, geography, or culture.

We need to look at the budget at a kitchen table of 300,000,000 and counting and agree to find a way to help those that need it, reducing suffering first and increasing opportunity as close to simultaneous as can be managed. Will it be fair on an individual basis? Most likely not, we have a tax system based on proportionality and that can be a tough concept for some people to grasp, talk to a "flat tax" advocate and you'll see what that means.

The right question to ask is if the country, and indeed the world, is served by this budget as well as we can tell at this time. It should always come with a set of Key Performance Indicators to avoid floating objects, and be adjusted if the facts are showing that a change in the situation or an erroneous assumption has altered the need.

This kind of societal focus driven by an effective government of the people has been seen before, here and around the world, and this is a time for the concept to go global. There is no better way forward than with objectives aligned, self interest tempered and a concern for all future generations.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Forgive the Young and Those seeking knowledge.

This is my second post on the idea of asking the government to forgive all student loans as part if the stimulus spending, the first post dealt mainly with the logical reasons, and there will be more of that in this post.

The main purpose for the second in this series that could be titled “Let’s help people that were more victims that perpetrators”, is to focus on the moral imperative that we have as an adult generation to right the wrongs of the financial debacle created by the need to get an education past high school to earn a living wage and the banking industry’s exploitation of our youth on every complicit campus.

At the root of the problem is the exact same factor that drove the housing bubble, a financial opportunity for bankers and lenders fueled by the pursuit of the “American Dream”, a good dream that we all understand and appreciate emotionally. In fact, it was this emotional component enhanced with it’s own urban myths, “look at history, the more education the more money you will make, paying it back will be easy”, recognize the parallel between this claim and “Housing Prices Always Go Up?

If you do see the comparison it should come as no surprise, the same cast of characters were running the same scam, only this time instead of lower income blue collar workers and envious professionals keeping up with the Jones the targets were young students and their optimistic parents, who couldn’t say no to private schools they couldn’t really afford.

Driven and manipulated by their desires to compete and get into the schools on the “lists” people looked back decades and assumed that the past would predict the future, and in this case again that turned out to be a poor strategy.

The results for the financial institutions were the same sweet ride as housing, the false market they created with the loans did what economics 101 tells you it always will, it increase demand and therefore prices. A Lot, I mean at least double the rate of inflation, at the same time the market value of college degrees (outside of the fantasy land of Wall Street, until recently) were going down.

Bankers knew this, colleges knew this, some parents knew this (some still couldn’t say no, college search has become more emotional than logical), but since the kids could get the money themselves, and the banks were there to help with the forms, adding a credit card in for good measure (and 24% APR), they preyed on the youth of American like vultures on the buffalo shot from trains, with equal concern or remorse.

This is an evil act, worse than terrorism, at least they tell us they want our heads, whereas the banking community pretends to be helping us as they remodel million dollar offices, fly in private jets and hold parties that would make Croesus blush.

So what to do? Get mad, write your reps and senators and tell them before another dime goes to the perps we want a little to go the victims, the most innocent victims, the future of our country! Forgiveness will get our young folks back to spending on what’s next, instead of decades on an overprices product sold in a ponzi scheme every bit as heinous as Bernie Madoff’s grand rip off, and those investors were supposed to be experts. If you feel one iota of sympathy for those damaged by Madoff then you have to feel for the debt-laden kids.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Iraq was a mistake

There has been a subtle but steady shift in the dialog around the Iraq War that has all but eliminated discussion of the actual merit of the invasion. The talk has been about the surge, did it work? How Iraq is now peaceful and ready to become a harmless, even supportive friend to the west. Bush and Cheney left town claiming that the war was won, we were safer for it, and they had saved lives.

The claim of saving lives is hard to believe when multiple reports put the violent deaths since the invasion at over 500,000. Keeping Americans safer doesn't seem to apply to the over 4,000 killed while serving in Irag, 1,000 more than the 9/11 event, with official estimates of wounded at over 30,000.

Under what scenario can one imagine Iraq attacking the US and causing those kinds of casualties? Call 9/11 all of the bad things that it deserves to be called but military genius doesn't apply to this action, it was truly a "Black Swan" of terrorist attacks, down to the collapse of the towers when the pilots were just hoping to hit the towers.

The question isn't whether anything like that can ever happen again, that answer is always maybe, but whether it is less likely to happen because of what we have been doing in Iraq. Is the pain and suffering this has injected into to the lives of those whose families fall into the groups affected by the gruesome death and injury statistics mentioned above outside of the benefits, and if so then who benefitted? You say 25 Million Iraqi's, but with 1 million killed, millions more displaced and a new set of alliances with Iran is that really true?

The reaction of the world community to 9/11 was an overwhelming extension of sympathy and support, but we took that opportunity and turned it into a strange vendetta for the Bush family, providing a war to make a Great Man out of Bush, with Rumsfeld and Cheney trying to out Churchill each other.

The Surge is a paradox, it is a timely event that has been met with calmer times, but it is also given sole credit for something that happened that may be due to other reasons. Some other factors include the payments to Iraqi's so that they wouldn't shoot at Americans, essentially protection money to for our soldiers in their country. Another factor is the switch from anger to greed that led Iraqi's to realize that the longer we stayed the more money we would spend, as indicated by the huge new Embassy which will be a significant part of non-oil GDP for Iraq. (Iraq gets 90% of its GDP from oil).

I'm glad there is less violence but also know that an American died yesterday and there is a very good chance that another will die before the week is out, good people who go back again because war is a strange drug that builds relationships and emotional ties that defy understanding to those that haven't experienced it firsthand.

The surge is the distraction that allowed the Hawks to divert discussions from the folly of the primary action with the idea that there was something that could be called success, and we all feel better because people like success more than failure. But the truth is closer to Vietnam and Korea than WWII, there is no success here, just the same old war stories we've had since Homer to be recorded in books and movies for the next generation to understand as history.

The only relevant point is this, would we have been less safe without going into Iraq, and the clear answer from all available facts is no. Would more than 4,000 more Americans have been killed by terrorists, would 30,000 be wounded, many disabled for life, all scarred forever? Would 500,000 people be dead from war related violence? Would hundred of thousands of peoples lives been changed forever due to a tour of duty in a war zone? Would over $1 Trillion and counting of US dollars have been spent on nonproductive efforts, much of it going into the hands of the people we are fighting?

You can talk about the surge all day long but the facts are clear, Iraq will go down in history as one of the worst presidential blunders of all times.

It is the big daddy ego trip of all ego trips in a time where we are living in the land of the giant ego trips. From the Mission Accomplished debacle to the plans for getting greeted with roses and riches by the Iraqi's, this has been one last drunk for W and a set of war games for the administrations neo-con war machine.

But above all, and finally, invading Iraq was a mistake.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Education and why we all may be teachers...and students

In full disclosure I am not a education expert, a teacher, or even a school board member. Heck, I wasn't even much of a student, even though I managed to scrape together an engineering degree.

That was 35 years ago and it has served me well, although being more of a manager and business owner for the last 20 years has taken the hard edge off of my technical training years ago. What became more interesting to me than the hardware or software was the "wetware" , in other words, me and you.

So I became a consultant for technology start ups, building business models that incorporate behavioral characteristics of both company personnel and customers, much of it based on the work of Kahneman/Tversky.

It was with some surprise that I found myself working with a company that was applying technology to the educational field, an area of business that was typically not interesting due to the tight, old boy supplier networks (see upcoming post on text book publishers) and myriad layers of red tape along with a dash of corruption for good measure.

Great potential for the company was apparent from the beginning, the founder was a smart person that spent two years tutoring to gain insight into the learning process, the technology was the outcome of 14 years of investment into a military training system that focused on the best ways to teach math so that it can be retained and applied. They had developed a product that was excellent on all counts.

All good things until you looked at the market, and since they were paying me to do just that I found myself reading story after story, post after post, about No Child Left Behind, the schism in the opinion of the believers and nay sayers were of Grand Canyon proportions with both sides trying to make points with statements deeper in ideology than in fact.

Having some time to read into the subject over the holidays there were several things that became clear, the first was that the school systems have had a continually increasing mandate to provide more than education, while the schools themselves were spending more time on financial management issues than educational issues.

In addition to education schools must provide racial equality, economic compensation (e.g. free lunches), social exposure and discipline. Some school personnel would add to this list but you get the idea.

The second point is apparent to any of us that listen to politicians, starting in California home owners have rebelled against paying more for schools at the same time that teachers unions have increased their demands for higher pay. As a result teachers have gone from being the "lowest paid professional" to being near the top of the scale when actual hours worked is factored in, and do pretty well even when it isn't.

Teachers continually resist performance pay, the weeding out of bad teachers and other aspects of the work place that are the norm for most.

What has emerged from the research is amazing in some sense, but for those of us that always look for the counter intuitive "Truths" that don't hold up under scrutiny, is getting to be expected.

Most surprising was the small correlation between a teacher's credentials and the classroom performance, there seems to be no advantage to the extra bonus we pay teachers to get Master's and other certifications as measured by the only way we know how to measure school performance in the near term, testing.

This explains the some of the rapid increase in the cost of public schooling with no detectable improvement, from a business perspective schools should actually discourage many teachers from getting a graduate degree so that salaries can be tied to student performance instead of teacher scholastic performance as prescribed by parts of NCLB.

The facts show that almost anyone with a college degree and many without, know enough to teach elementary or middle school material. It is also becoming clear that the ability to effectively teach is not known until someone actually teaches, add to that the differences in classroom teaching and tutoring and you see a profession that has become unsure how to measure quality.

The Home School results were reinforcing to this "credentials are the answer" myth that has driven increasing costs in early education, there is very low correlation between the home school "teacher's" education and qualifications and their students outcomes. On an average the home schooled student will out perform public or private schooled kids by 15-30% on a wide variety of tests regardless of the parents education.

There is enough history now to see that Home Schoolers do better in college and on the job, debunking the common complaints of lacking social skills. The socialization aspect of school has always been a farce to those of us who spent more time in school trying not to get picked on that socializing.

So what do we do with this information?

We take a shot at thinking the main thing to teaching is the connection between teacher and learner, and that it is not a one size fits all solution.

We teach our kids, everyone should take a shot at teaching somewhere along the line. I've tutored on Saturdays for the last 5 years, there are online sites that need tutors and will pay a little money for doing it, we all have a little to teach and some have a natural talent that could make them life long teachers.

But the number of life long teachers is going to go down, while the number of life long learners is going to go way up, almost all of us will be in that group to keep skills relevant and sharp.

The disruption that has changed every field of work, computers, many of them mobile, the Internet and massive online data storage, is about to hit education. Just in time in my view, we need smart people with access to education regardless of where their parents went and what football team they like, at prices less than half of their lives salaries.

As for the materials for teaching, companies like Apangea Learning that I'm working with, and others are developing something we call a Student Centric, Adaptive Learning System (SCALS). This is a hybrid teaching solution that combines, problem tutors, concepts teachers and interactive Avatars to deliver a learning experience that outperforms classroom teaching on nearly every dimension.

Anyone, anywhere, anytime is where education is going, so we can life long learn and intermittently teach, from a simple computer. We pay to learn and teach to earn, compounding knowledge and shortening the path to a smarter, higher skilled society.

So the next time you are wonder what a teacher thinks, listen to your self and if you want to hear from a student head to the mirror. We are in a global economy and the next 100 years will be all about learning how to create true equality and 100% utilization of resources, Human resources in this century, not minerals or materials.