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John Schubert's
Education Committee e-mails
May 2001-December 2001

This article and the email messages reproduced here tell about the crisis in the LAB education program.  A poorly-qualified Program Director eliminated most of the qualifications for new instructors, shortened and radically changed the training seminar and re-wrote the instructors' manual.  Because of these errors, several poorly qualified people were certified as instructors.

Rather than fix the problem, the LAB leadership ignored it.  When John Schubert and Bill Hoffman protested, their concerns were ignored.  When they insisted that the problems be fixed, they were sacked -- first Schubert and later Hoffman.  Some of the board members involved are still in office.

The education crisis was the issue that launched LAB Reform (although the name was not used until 2003).  We believe that the pressure exerted by LAB Reform (plus a new chair of the Education Committee) are largely responsible for restoring quality to the education program.


[Editor's notes:  (1) Most email addresses have been removed to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.  (2) At his request, we have removed the last name of the former LAB program director.  He is identified below only as "Mike" or "Michael".]


By way of introduction:  John Schubert's conduct as described by LAB Education Committee Chair Barbara Sturges...

John Schubert ... was never productive on the committee during the time I was on it -- just critical and mean.  He did not like Mike [name deleted] and expressed this in e-mails to committee members with phrases such as "I want Mike's head on a platter" and "I want Mike's face on a milk carton." I asked Chris to ask him off because of this immature, unproductive behavior.

Barbara Sturges, LCI #487, Region 4 Director
former Chair, Education Committee
in an e-mail to the LCI e-mail list, April 11, 2003

and as he describes it himself...

On the school board, the person I speak with the most is the one with whom I have had the deepest disagreement.  We have a lot of mutual respect, and frequent areas of agreement, and we forgive each other rhetorical excesses in debating.  (He is the originator of the "I want to see so-and-so's head on a pike" comment, which Ms. Sturges misquoted when she referred to a head on a platter.)  We alert each other to anything that would be of interest, good or bad.  This enables us to see what sells with the other person and what doesn't, and learn what it takes to reach an agreement.

John Schubert
Former LAB Region 2 Director
and Education Committee member
(resigned under pressure, November 2001)


Boards and committes on which Schubert served, as of October, 2002.  Why was he pressured into resigning from the LAB Board but not all these others?

Secretary, Pennsylvania Pedalcycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Chair, Pennsylvania BicyclePA Bicycle Touring Route Subcommittee
Treasurer & Legislative Chair, Southern Lehigh School District Board of Education
Board of Directors, Coalition for Alternate Transportation
Board of Directors, Bicycle Transportation Institute
Candidate Member, National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
Vice Chair, ASTM F.08 Bicycle Task Force on Use Class
Member, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Member, Board of Directors, Southern Lehigh Public Library


Please read John Schubert's Education Committee e-mail correspondence below and make up your own mind about his conduct...


Date: Sat, May 12, 2001 9:15 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Re: The new LCI seminar format

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

Barb, you get my input early:

-- I already have the "new" book.  Mike gave me one in Bethlehem.

-- I'll defer to Bill Hoffman on the technical issues.  Sounds like we have (a) consensus and (b) an agreement to be diplomatic.

John Schubert


Date: Thu, May 17, 2001 12:32 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Re: The new LCI seminar format

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

Bill Hoffman wrote:

>>Still, two things haven't been addressed--and maybe they will be in due course--is why Mike seemingly took it upon himself to redo the training manual in the first place, and without EdCom's input; and what is to be the fate of the existing Regional Trainers<<

This is where we need to direct Elissa to sit on Mike, in a very un-subtle way.  Mike has great attributes, but thinking ahead to how other people will react isn't one of them.  I don't believe he has the instincts to correct this kind of behavior himself.  He needs guidance.

LAB members have been the core of this program for decades.  They've written it, taught it, and feel ownership of it.  Mike needs to be redirected to pay attention to that fact.

-- John Schubert


Subj: Re: The new LCI seminar format

Date: Thu, May 17, 2001 6:53 pm EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: [address removed]

Dear Bill and all,

Bill wrote, Two things have yet to be addressed;

1) Why Mike seemingly took it upon himself to redo the training manual in the first place, and without EdCom's input; When I see Mike in WI, I'll ask him if redoing the training manual was part of the deal with NHTSA ... it probably was or he wouldn't have re-done it.  Regarding lack of EdCom input, my assumption is that there were time constraints and Elissa did not want Mike to get involved in long discussions, and/or e-mails on fine points.  The first pilot seminar was and he had to have materials ready.  Also, we were moving away from so much "hands-on" involvement by the committee at that time.

2) What is to be the fate of the existing Regional Trainers, in whom the League has made an investment (albeit a modest one) to be the "front line" of delivery of the program.

In response to this point, I thought we had discussed this before.  I found the following paragraph in my minutes of our conference call in January.

"Linda asked if LCI's in Florida (or other pilot sites) who participate in the training would then be eligible to train other LCI's.  Elissa then discussed the idea that LAB may move away from using specific "Regional Trainers" to teach others to be LCI's but instead use individual who are trained as LCI's and also especially capable in areas relevent to the needs of the specific students for whom the course is scheduled.  Linda was assured that those successfully trained as LCI's in the pilot program would be able to teach others to be LCI's."

Barbara


Date: Wed, May 23, 2001 9:37 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Re: The new LCI seminar format

To: [address removed]

Hi edcommers,

I am mostly (but not entirely) in Bill Hoffman's camp on this one.

I'll begin with the differences:  I think the writing requirement was always absurd from day one.  Can you imagine the Red Cross requiring all its swimming instructors or CPR instructors to write a letter to the editor about swimming or CPR?  Sure, having people publishing letters and articles to keep the program visible is a great idea, but legislating great ideas is what brings our country to ruin.

On all of Bill's points about maintaining quality and thoroughness of instruction, I say "ditto."  In particular, I too must have been snoring at the point in the conference call when "Linda was assured that those successfully trained as LCI's in the pilot program would be able to teach others to be LCI's."  We all know there's a big difference between knowing how to do something yourself and knowing how to teach it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics takes four days to teach its instructor candidates how to teach the public to attach a child seat in a car safely.  We should never apologize for taking enough time to properly train our instructors.

John Schubert


Date: Tue, Jun 12, 2001 11:52 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Madison vs Davis

To: [address removed]

Hi Barb,

I owe you many responses on many E-mails.  This one comes first by pure chance.

First, a global comment:  Given the volume of complaints with Mike's draft instructor manual, why use it as a basis for the "fix?"  Why not revert to the old instructor manual, and start from there to make whatever the new manual needs to be?  I believe every omission we're lamenting was in the old manual, both in materials in the manual and items in the outline that were taught to the prospective instructors.

The biggest problem with this that I can see is that it's a blow to Mike's ego.  But that's also an advantage, because Mike has to learn about this "working with people" thing, and a memorable put-down may be the life experience that makes him serious about doing just that.

Mike's idea for annual or biannual permanent sites for LCI courses has some merit.  But from day one this program has been suffocating under its own lack of flexibility, and I would hate to see the semi-permanent sites make it harder to set up one-time courses when a group of students is available and eager.

Barb, you mentioned that Road I could be offered the day before the seminar for people who need it.  I would discourage this, because someone who barely scrapes through Road I is not a good candidate to teach.  The entrance exam which is required in addition to Road I is, overall, an excellent exam, and I can't imagine someone taking Road I and passing that exam in a day or two.

Forgive me while I offer a somewhat-strained analogy.  I'm going to compare how U.S. airlines and European airlines get most of their pilots.  (I'm not counting the pilots who go to airlines after a military career; only the ones without military background.)  In the U.S. there is a tradition of kids going to the airport and getting menial jobs so they can save up for flight instruction.  They claw their way to their commercial license and instructor certificate, and then -- voila -- they can start getting paid to fly, by being primary instructors for about $7 per hour.  They go from there to flying night freight in small planes.  Then come charters, and finally the first puddlejumper airline job.  Major airlines have usually had thousands of such pilots to choose from.

But airlines can't do that in Europe.  There isn't enough general aviation to generate these eager young freighter flyers.  So European airlines recruit graduating college students, most of whom had never been airport bums, convince them that this'll be a great career, and give them "ab initio" training.  (That's Latin for "from the beginning" or something close to it.)

We (the League) now do it the American way.  We've designed our program and training so our credentials go mostly to people who have spent years immersing themselves in vehicular cycling, out of personal interest.

In our dreams, we would like to have to do it the European way:  making instructors out of a much broader range of people.  If we were trying to use our existing prerequisites to make LCIs out of people who know as much about bicycling as,  say,  I know about soccer or baseball, I think this would be frustrating for the League and the student.  For successful ab initio training, we need to adjust the entrance experience a lot.

John Schubert


Date: Wed, Jun 13, 2001 2:16 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Madison vs Davis

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

Linda Creider wrote:

>>>I think we also need to decide what and for who is the outcome and perhaps that is different.  If we are trying to certify top knotch "Road 1" instructors then we need folks with a lot of cycling experience who are good educators also and even have some cycling mechanics to boot.  If we are wanting to "educate" the masses, especially of P.E. teachers and parents to teach kids safe cycling skills, then we need teachers, who by the way ride bikes, but are damn good teachers, spokespersons and capable of capsulizing vast amounts of cycling gargon and material, into digestible "mini lessons."  These are very different audiences still with some basic "need to know" items in common. <<<

Agreed.  With additional comment:

What we teach is, to many of these people, counter-intuitive, and goes against their previous beliefs about what makes bicycling safe.  You know better than I how most P.E. teachers and other such groups respond to this.

Some PE teachers in my school district would need a big sales pitch to accept vehicular cycling.  Therefore, I think we need to do more than cover the facts.  We need to sell a new concept they weren't expecting.  That is something we need to address.

John Schubert


Date: Thu, Jun 28, 2001 12:15 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Schubert reply: LCI Issues for our consideration

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

I'm mostly in agreement with Bill:

1/ The alternate non-road-one way of getting into an LCI seminar is in place.  While I haven't seen the exam, I think the overall outline is fine.

I don't want to be such a diploma mill that we take an ignorant person, feed him Road I in one day, and pressure ourselves to pass him because he's paid for the LCI seminar the second day.  Besides, I believe an "ab initio" ("from the beginning" -- a term used in pilot training) student would need time to absorb and think about what s/he has learned to pass the LCI entrance exam.  Remember, the LCI entrance exam covers a lot of ground you won't find in Road I, and the suggested study for the entrance exam goes waaay beyond the Road I book.

2/ We have enough regional trainers, and the current requirement to become a regional trainer does not strike me as overly burdensome.

3/ I'm all for eliminating the writing requirement.  At the risk of putting my personal agenda on the table, I'd suggest we entertain alternate means for fulfilling for the teaching requirement.  One could be writing.  Another might be using LCI teachings in a lobbying effort, as an expert witness in a court case, when making a bike safety presentation, etc.  I say this because I'm typical of a person who has trouble making the time to show up to teach a class (I've been away from home six weekends in a row, and to my undying regret, numbers seven and eight are already booked for out-of-state trips) but I use my LCI certification a lot to add credibility to these efforts.  I realize this isn't why the program was created, but it's a highly visible use of the LCI credential, and many LCIs use that credential these ways.  As John Forester long ago pointed out (and Elissa Margolin independently noticed), LCI training makes people into pretty good bike advocates.

John "speaking for Pennsylvania while Bill's out galavanting" Schubert

''~``
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| John Schubert | Office: 610 282 3085 |

| Writer & Consultant | Fax: 610 282 2432 |

| 5996 Beverly Hills Rd | Cell: 610 393 7370 |

| Coopersburg PA 18036 | Home: 610 282 4246 |

| | Email: schubley@aol.com |

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(_/


Date: Thu, Sep 6, 2001 2:44 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: LCI Manual, Course Outline, etc.

To: [address removed]

To: LAB Education Committee

From: John Schubert

RE: LCI Manual, Course Outline, etc.

Hi all,

Doubtless, you've been waiting with baited breath for my comments.  And here they come, just as Sept. 5 is drawing to an end out in Hawaii!

Frankly, I'm still irritated at the process, and I think we need to see that some procedural reforms need to be in place so that the staff doesn't make such inefficient use of the education committee's time.

So I'm going to talk about procedural boo-boos first.

The League staff instituted massive "clean-sheet" changes in (1) the instructor manual; (2) the seminar format; and (3) who would teach the seminars.  And there were a lot of rumors about (4) qualifications to be students at the seminars.

I think (well, I sure hope) there's general agreement that some of the earlier seminars this year bombed, and I thank LCI Susan Snyder for her dedication in pointing out exactly how and why.  Hers was the most eloquent of all the comments I heard, either pro or con.  Barb has asked us not to dwell on those seminars, and I won't, but I will say they got this effort off on the wrong foot, and they showed us some of the things that can go wrong when we are too casual in how we approach changes to curriculum and teaching.

We are still experimenting with who will teach the seminars.  The next seminar, in October in Bethlehem, will be taught by two good friends of mine, Steve Schmitt and Damion Miller.  I predict they'll do a good job.  However, I want the criteria for seminar instructors to formally revert to what it was:  regional trainers who attend and assist with several seminars before teaching any.  (As it happens, Steve and Damion at least partially meet these requirements.)

In the last several months, we have had some wide-ranging discussion about student qualifications, including discussion of letting go of the Road I and entrance exam requirements (and/or its less convenient alternative, the 50-mile ride, cue sheet, and extra-tough exam).  Recently, Barb reiterated that those requirements have not gone away.  I bring this up for two reasons:  (1) to voice my support for keeping them, as per Barb's recent note, and (2) to note that during the discussion, it wasn't always clear where those requirements were headed.  (I reviewed the e-mails tonight, prior to writing this, and from some of those E-mails it seemed that the requirements might indeed be gone.)

This segues into my next procedural boo-boo:

The staff instituted all these changes, and then gave us, the education committee, a scavenger hunt to find them out.  We have had numerous people traveling across state lines to go to seminars and see what's going on; we have thumbed through the various versions of the manuals side by side to see what was left off or rearranged in a poorly organized fashion; we have traded rumors about the students in these seminars.

In this context, there becomes a misplaced onus on us, the education committee, to figure out what the changes are, and then make comments on them.

It's time to demand an end to the scavenger hunt.  We should have the information placed in front of us.  In every other group I've worked with, if someone wanted my comments on changes in a document, a schedule or a curriculum, I was given the changes in a format I could follow, together with the writer's rationale:

-----------------------------------------------------------

Old text --- New text --- Reasons for change

-----------------------------------------------------------

To name but one example, my school district is rewriting huge volumes of laws, and this is the way we do it.

Next topic:  organization/content/coherence of the manual

Many of you have commented on organizational flaws of the manual, and offered various specific fixes for various sections.  I ran out of time to do such a review myself, and I apologize for this.  Your comments all seemed consistent with each other and non-controversial.  This was good.

I did note that elemental organizational techniques, such as the use of bold face to separate a list title from the items in the list, are lacking.  I think these kinds of elementary editing errors should be fixed before a draft is circulated to the education committee.  A manual that doesn't make clear what it's trying to do is in need of more basic editing than what we should do as a committee.

Earlier I recommended that the starting point be the old pre-revision manual.  After reading all your attempts to make the "new" manual coherent, I repeat that earlier recommendation.  And this time, AS THE CHANGES ARE MADE, those changes should be duly recorded in that "Old text --- New text --- Reasons for change" format.  This will greatly speed up the process, and make much better use of everyone's time.

Next topic:  Road Three (III)

Peter got my attention with his comment that, "The Road III outline struck me as being EXTREME.  Is that the intent of this course?"  The outline includes "tuck and roll" and "lateral bunny hops," which I assume are what Peter was referring to.

"Tuck and roll" is a non-starter.  Most people don't want to learn tumbling.  Period.

If there's a good reason for a lateral bunny hop, I haven't come across it in 43 years of bicycling.  So I suspect there is no reason.  Regular bunny hops are okay with me.

The outline also includes track stands.  I wouldn't put those in a course unless I had more time than I knew what to do with.  Most good riders never pick up the knack for doing a track stand; why frustrate them by trying to teach them in a brief time?  On a good day, I can do a track stand for 15 seconds or so, but I have NEVER had a use for this skill other than showing off.

The outline also includes lots of mechanical stuff, and I question the emphasis on that.  I can overhaul a bottom bracket as well as anyone, but I just don't think it's as important as teaching good riding skills.  People who want to overhaul bottom brackets don't need the League to teach them how.  Many local maintenance courses and dozens of books cover these subjects.  Our limited time is better spent on riding skills, which we alone know how to teach.

I always had assumed that when Road III finally got written, it would focus on disciplined paceline riding.  I used to teach double-paceline riding to beginning riders, and it was a huge success.  (They learned techniques in our group they would never learn anywhere else, because we made the group beginner-friendly, so beginners didn't just get dropped in the first mile.)

The copy states that "the group riding techniques taught in this class are dangerous."  I wonder what they are.  The way I taught double pacelines, it was not dangerous.  This goes back to well-written curriculum and instructor qualifications.

The Road III curriculum seems to want to borrow a lot from mountain bike techniques.  I'm not interested.  Let's stick with real road riding.  The original course matrix for the League program included a Mountain Bike course.  Perhaps that can be added someday.

Next topic:  Buy-in and consultation

This is a work in progress.  There is much to be done in the future.  I believe this committee needs to be more assertive about its role as the future work is done.

I know there was an agreement to step back and have less of a day-to-day role.  This hasn't worked, and trying to make it work has only wasted our time and staff time.

It's time for staff to consult the committee more often, and get used to asking "What do you think about. . . " when they have a change in mind.  That's a far healthier relationship with the committee than presenting a fait accompli that compels us to make after-the-fact changes.

Conclusion:

I know Barb was looking for helpful, constructive criticism, and my tone is rather negative.  But I can only do what I think is right.  I think that if we are too kind, if we soft-pedal our criticism even a little, we won't have the necessary effect on our headstrong staffer; we will get half the problems fixed, and wind up with a manual and seminar procedure the committee wearily agrees are inferior to the old ones.

It got late.  Good night.

John Schubert

LCI 600


Subj: Re: LCI Manual - Schubert's feedback

Date: Wed, Sep 12, 2001 10:38 pm EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: [address removed]

Dear Bill and all,

I haven't read all of John's remarks -- I can't read attached files so have asked John to send that material in another manner.  However, he and I seem to have fundamental differences in understanding as to our committee's role and how to accomplish it.  Here is how I see it:

The committee is to be advisory to the board.  The board has hired Elissa.  Elissa hired Mike.  So far Elissa is quite pleased with Mike, it seems.

The committee does not have authority to tell Mike or Elissa what to do.  We can only accomplish change by INFLUENCE -- by convincing them that what we recommend should be done.  Just telling either of them that what has been done is unacceptable to the committee will not be effective.  Even when one has supervisory authority over an employee, one doesn't just "slam" him with criticism, if one wants to improve performance.

By the way, what is this Neville Chamberlain bit -- does someone really want to liken Mike/Elissa to Hitler?  You wrote, "If necessary, I'm prepared to write a minority report just for Elissa spelling out these major problems we have with Mike.  If I do, I will run it by the Committee first.  Then anyone who wants to can sign on to it."

As it seems I would find it very difficult to write a report to which we would all agree, I think you've made a very good suggestion -- one report from the committee which I'll send and this minority report signed on by those who choose.  What do the rest think?

Barbara


Date: Wed, Sep 12, 2001 11:34 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: LCI Manual - Schubert's feedback

To: [address removed]

Hi Barbara,

Thanks for not blowing your stack at me (yet).  I appreciate how we're trying to work out our differences here, and it's a bit cumbersome to do by e-mail.

I didn't want anyone to extrapolate unduly from my Neville Chamberlain analogy.  Obviously, I wouldn't compare a nice Jewish mother (as Elissa frequently refers to herself) to Hitler.  My point, which I fear got lost in all of this, was that when you're talking to someone who's real headstrong, you can't just drop a few hints and expect that person to reverse his direction.  You gotta be blunt and force the person to change.  Just ask my wife.

Seriously, most of my bad life experiences have come from not being forceful enough with headstrong people.  Mike is certainly headstrong.  And I sense from talking to Elissa that she's not on top of him the way she needs to be.

On anything that smacks of personnel-related matters, it's Elissa's job and not ours to spank Mike for shortcomings arising from his headstrongness.  Therefore:

-- Our communication with Elissa has to include the systemic cause of the problem, because we're withholding crucial insights it it doesn't.  We need to be very open with her about what a pain in the butt this whole situation has become for the committee (trying to salvage a butchered re-write and a mangled seminar revision, and having to do the scavenger hunt routine to do it), and we need to let her know what the appropriate remedies are.

-- Our communication with Mike should really be initiated by him, under Elissa's direction.  After we report to Elissa, he will come to us for the information he needs regarding text changes, revision charting and, best of all, massive changes in his future procedure.  It's Elissa's job to tell Mike he needs that information from us.

I'm really afraid we're abdicating our responsibility if we engage in the tiniest bit of sugar-coating, or denying the scope of the problem.  The program will come out far weaker than it should have; LCIs will groan, Forester will say "I told you so" all over the dang Internet, and LAB will get yet another rasberry for a job poorly done.

Barb, I infer that you're worried that Elissa will ignore us if we're too negative.  I doubt that.  Look at our credentials.  If this group says, "Smell the coffee and get cracking," I think she'll take that seriously.  I have high enough regard for her to believe that.

I don't think we've engaged in any unspecific "that stinks" sort of criticism.  All our criticisms have been very targeted and specific.  Such criticisms are never fun to receive, but big boys and girls look upon them as an opportunity to improve.

Moreover, I don't think we're at the point where we're scorching the human relations aspect of this.  If the folks on K Street start performing properly, we can work with them and turn these problems around.  But the errors have come from their end, and the accommodation has to come from them, not us.

Barb, if you find all this convincing, we may be able to keep the report all under one roof.  If not, I'll make nice to Bill and work on the supplemental report.

Barb, since you don't do attachments (a wise policy in general) I'll fax a page or two of that e-mail attachment to you.  It's not directly germane to our discussion -- it's merely a real-life example of charting revisions in an existing book, and explaining each change.  You only need glance at it to get my point, which is that real writers actually do chart and explain revisions to make it possible to have others review their work.

Adding a contrasting hue to the punch bowl,

I remain,

John Schubert


Subj: LCI Manual

Date: Fri, Sep 14, 2001 12:18 am EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: [address removed]

Dear Committee,

As I hope I've made clear, I don't think it's this committee's role to find fault with Mike.  The proposal sent by LAB to NHTSA included, "The League would like to significantly increase the number of instructors by decreasing the cost and duration of the training...."  He certainly shouldn't be faulted for trying to those things.

Bill asked earlier about who will receive the feedback we're preparing.  I intend to send it to Mike and Elissa, with a copy to Chris K.

In light of recent remarks I've developed some additions and changes to the report.  Below I've shown the text as it exists in the version you've seen followed by the addition or change.  Please let me know if you do or do not agree with these changes.  I'll plan to send it Monday am so please get comments to me by Sunday pm.  (I'm sorry for the short notice.)  If we can't all agree we may end up with a "minority report " as well.

Barbara

[line-by-line corrections snipped]


Date: Fri, Sep 14, 2001 1:32 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: LCI Manual

To: [address removed]

Hi Barb,

Thanks for your hard and meticulous work.

You (on one hand) and Bill and I (on the other hand) have not succeeded in convincing each other.  (We've been ladies and gentlemen about it.  Compliments and thanks to all.)

I still feel the need to provide Elissa with additional input.  I expect Bill does too.  We'll be in touch with all of you.

Thanks to all,

John Schubert


Date: Mon, Sep 17, 2001 11:48 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: More on why we feel this additional report is necessary

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

Barbara and Lois have weighed in with very thoughtful notes about what is and isn't the role of this committee.  Normally, I'd be inclined to be on their side.  (I'm in the midst of a mess caused by a school board member sticking her fat nose into personnel matters that are none of her business, so I'm familiar with the concept.)

I do believe we have a special case here.  In addition to the arguments I've previously bludgeoned you-all with, I have one more:

A telephone conversation I had with Elissa a few weeks ago was not terribly encouraging.  She kept trying to convince me to "see the good in Mike." That misses the point.  It's not my job to see the good or the bad in Mike; that's Elissa's job.  It's my job to give Elissa the guidance she needs to raise the education department's work product up to an acceptable level.  I sensed some reluctance on Elissa's part to confront the problem, and I want to make sure that her reluctance is all washed away.  Instead of telling me things are really okay, she should want to have the program incorporate the factors that ALL education committee members, regional trainers, and leading LCIs would like to see in a program that is "really okay."

Elissa has previously promised the board that problems like this would be taken care of.  They were not.

Given what I believe to be Elissa's reluctance, I think we need to be extra-thorough in cataloging the problem.  I like Elissa, and I believe this would be doing her a favor.  Letting her think things aren't all that bad is setting her up for failure.

Thanks to all,

John Schubert


Date: Sun, Sep 23, 2001 8:45 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Education Committee Minority Report

To: Elissa Margolin [address removed]

CC: Education Committee [address removed]

From: Bill Hoffman and John Schubert

Dear Elissa,

While we are in agreement with nearly everything it contains, we (the undersigned) believe that the "official" EdCom report, prepared by Barbara, does not point out strongly enough two things that are standing in the way of improving our education program:

1) A disorganized method of communication, and perhaps an unclear understanding of responsibilities, between EdCom and Mike.

2) What we feel are serious errors and poor, at times unprofessional, judgment by Mike in his job.

EdCom's original role was to advise the Board on general policy matters relating to the education program.  That's good in theory but we have seen that it's not the best practice for the League in the current situation.

For several years when there was no dedicated education staff, EdCom fulfilled a clerical as well as an advisory role.  Not a good procedure, but it saved the program from extinction.  Now we have staff, but the staff does not have enough experience and expertise for EdCom to fully revert to the role of being a general advisor to the Board.  The program is still under construction and the expertise residing within EdCom, as well as in other highly experienced LCIs outside EdCom, is needed and should be actively sought--before decisions are made.

Mike is not utilizing EdCom's expertise in the most efficient and productive manner.  The most recent revisions of manuals that he sent us were done in a way that made it virtually impossible to track what had been changed, and the reasons for those changes.  We want to emphasize that the "scavenger hunt" we undertook to figure out what the changes were has been extensive, and an abuse of our time and good will.

Between the month of May and today, our e-mails discussing this topic fill up 216 pages of single-spaced text, and every word of that is in the "blind men describing the elephant" vein, as we search for problems.  We need revisions presented to us in an "old text-new text-reasons for change" format so we can see exactly what changes are being proposed.  This is what Barbara meant by "an appropriate revision tracking document." Moreover, we need sufficient time to study and discuss the changes.

Schubert has distributed to the committee an example of a revision tracking document, and the concept was well received by the committee.

We do NOT recommend that LAB try to copy the format of that particular document.  However, we want to emphasize that this is what professional writers do when they need to discuss revisions with other people.  EVERY change is called out and explained.  You're welcome to have a copy of this document if you want, but what's important is that you devise a format that speaks to the needs of this group.

Mike did faithfully incorporate the "mechanical" edits that EdCom had made earlier, either as a group or by individual members; these dealt with relatively small text changes in the instructor and student manuals that accompany each of the courses that currently exist.  But he made wholesale changes in format (schedule) and content to the training seminar manual without consulting us, and then applied those changes in setting up at least two seminars.  Among the changes was a unilateral decision on who would teach the seminars that raised serious concerns about the quality of the seminars--the undergirding of the entire LCI development process.

And all this before he had ever taught his first Road I course!  This is headstrong and unprofessional.  We agree with the suggestions in Barbara's report about restoring some portions of the original seminar manual.  One reason we are writing this letter is that we feel Barbara's report does not state strongly enough that Mike should not have done a complete rewrite of the original manual without our input.  The Committee strongly agreed that the new 2-day seminar format, based on the pilots conducted this spring, has serious weaknesses.  Mike subsequently corrected several of the weaknesses, but it is our belief that others still remain.  We'll know more after the upcoming Bethlehem seminar, which Bill will audit, and which we hope you can observe as well.

We know that we are required under the NHTSA contract the make the education program more flexible.  This need not, and should not, mean a decline in quality.  We do not claim that the old manuals and procedures were perfect; in fact, some "touch-up" work was needed.  But Mike has done much more than touch-up, and without adequate consultation with EdCom.  Because Mike lacks the knowledge himself to rewrite the curriculum, he should have **started** by asking the Education Committee, Regional Trainers, and authors of the original EC curriculum for help in meeting the NHTSA goals.  Many people would have given him excellent advice if he'd asked.

Reviewing document changes and certain operating policies is a function that is still very much with EdCom, and evidence shows that these functions need to continue.  We, the undersigned members of the Education Committee, therefore request that you exert greater oversight and supervision over Mike.  We recognize that this is your responsibility alone and we do not intend to undermine it.  But we have seen enough evidence in Mike's headstrong performance to show that, in order to preserve and improve the quality of our education program, this warrants your increased attention.

Mike needs to be re-directed by you.  He does not understand his proper role.  He is not the expert.  Rather, he is the coordinator, and it should be his role to coordinate the expertise readily available to him.

We want to have a positive working relationship with you and Mike.  Further, we recognize that e-mail may not be the best way of communicating in this situation.  If you would like a conference call, we will be happy to participate.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Hoffman

John Schubert


Date: Thu, Sep 27, 2001 12:38 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Recommendations

To: [address removed]

Hi Barb, et al,

Thanks for spelling out the options on seminar instructors (trainers) so carefully.

I think there should be a minimum requirement for number of courses taught, and perhaps some requirement for variety of students taught to.  (Adult women, teenage boys, whatever).  There should be a requirement for having taught more than one kind of course.  I'd listen to arguments that not every candidate needs to teach every course.  (I'll use myself as an example:  I think it would be responsible for me to "pass out" of teaching commuting, based on relevant information in my resume.  However, given my complete lack of formal knowledge of educational principles, there's no way I should pass out of teaching middle-school kids.  Multiple times.  On the other hand, someone who is a middle school teacher but new to commuting concepts might qualify with this experience base flip-flopped.)

Barb, did your outline of requirements intend that the trainer have been to a minimum of three seminars?  That's how I read it (one as a student, one as an observer, one as a student teacher).  (Someone could argue that your wording meant that the observer and student teacher events could be combined into a single seminar.)

I also think that the guidelines should spell out what it is that we need to see in the resume and references.

I'm sure there are concerns I've overlooked, but the rest of you will bring them up.

Greetings to all,

John Schubert


[NOTE: THIS E-MAIL DEALS WITH THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BECOME A REGIONAL TRAINER]

Date: Mon, Oct 1, 2001 1:59 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Response

To: [address removed]

Hi Barb & others,

Barb, you wrote:

<< John suggested "a minimum requirement for number of courses and for variety of students taught."  I don't think a professor of education at a university needs to have taught all grade levels -- why should we?>>

Reason:  A university professor deals with adults (ages 18 and up) who are, at least in theory, supposed to take care of their own strengths and weaknesses in learning styles to accommodate the professor's style.  And ages 18-25 is a fairly narrow band of intellectual maturity.

However:  Such a professor, even a very good one, might be frustrated out the wazoo trying to teach 6th graders and cope with their attention span.

We have courses aimed at three age levels:  elementary school, middle school, and all else.  In the field of education, each of these three levels is considered to be its own individual set of problems and solutions.

How can someone with zero experience teaching to one of these age groups teach others how to teach that age group?

Writing from Las Vegas, where I have had the pleasure of saying hi to numerous LAB staffers and other luminaries,

I remain,

John Schubert


Date: Sun, Oct 7, 2001 11:52 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Re: More recommendations - Schubert comments

To: [address removed]

To: Education committee minus Linda

From: John Schubert

Hi all,

Back home from Las Vegas, where on my first day home I was awaited by 450 new e-mails, eight hours of school board meetings, the sad duty of taking my dog to the vet to be put down, and a new stack of bills in the mail.

Regarding Barb's recommendations, I think we need to UNDERSCORE that the difficult LCI entrance exam has to be taken and passed before the student sets foot in the seminar.  I believe we need wording that makes it impossible to confuse this exam with the Road I written.

We need some more detail on exactly what my buddies in Bethlehem do before we recommend it as official policy.  I've only had an e-mail exchange with Steve Schmitt about this, and that's not enough to make me convinced beyond any doubt that Steve and I are on the same page.  (I'm not trying to diss Steve; I'm just trying to make sure we don't screw something up with miscommunication.)

Even if there is no miscommunication with Steve Schmitt, I'm still wary of the timetable for rushing people into LCI exams:

(1) Take Road I and pass it, including its written and practical exams.

(2) Study for the LCI entrance exam

(3) Take the LCI exam

(4) either (a) take the LCI seminar or (b) cheerfully go home if you flunked.

Items (1) through (3) simply don't fit into one day.  Two days?  I'll listen to Steve more before I comment.

An alternative for geographically challenged instructor candidates would be to take and pass the LCI entrance exam well before coming to the site and taking the Road I one-day quickie.  I think I'm comfortable with this, on the theory that anyone who can pass the LCI entrance exam should be able to sail through Road I.  Comments from others?

On another topic, and back on the warpath:  I did confirm that some or all of the Davis LCI seminar participants were not given the LCI entrance exam.  In fact, I had dinner with one such participant while in Las Vegas last week.  I strongly believe that we need to have the LAB staff catalog all the unauthorized shortcuts that were taken to bring people into LCI seminars this year.  What we do with this information isn't clear to me, but I think we're shirking our responsibilites if we don't get it all collected.  For each seminar participant in 2001, there should be a Road I graduation date, two references, and a LCI entrance exam test score.  I want to see all of those, and see it IN WRITING FROM THE STAFF where those items don't exist.

It's not that I enjoy digging in dirt -- it's that I find that the earlier and more forcefully you confront unpleasant problems, the better off you are in the long run.  Besides, this kind of documentation will do lots to redirect Mike and Elissa about how to handle the education program.

John Schubert


Date: Tue, Oct 9, 2001 11:26 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Hoffman's latest recommendations

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

>>I agree we must confront Mike and Elissa about this.  I hope the rest of you will agree<<

I'm not asking anyone's permission to engage in this confontation.  We are witnessing the crumbling of the program before our very eyes, and it is our obligation to address this rather sternly.

The fact that we've already made our displeasure known about previous seminars, and still, Klasmaier is screwing up the forthcoming seminars, just makes smoke pour out of my ears.

If Elissa doesn't act firmly and decisively to fix this, it will be a HUGE element in her performance review.

I only have so much time to devote to LAB affairs.  Position statements aren't getting done.  State and local advocacy isn't getting done.  All because Elissa and Mike have abdicated their responsibilities, and I'm devoting that time to those issues.  Color me pissed off.

John "got home from the school board meeting at 2 a.m." Schubert

P.S. Bill, my dog's name was Frostbite.  He would have been 15 years old next month.  He and I used to go on nine-mile runs together.  Back in his youth, he and I finished in the top five of a two-mile cross country race several times.  In his last appearance at that race, he was 11 and my son Derick was 9.  Together, the two of them finished in the top 25 percent of the field.


Date: Wed, Oct 10, 2001 2:38 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: More on seminar preparation

To: [address removed]

Bill,

Thanks for your research.

All,

This is disgraceful.  We've gone from a proctored test to an optional independent study guide, and it was Mike and Mike alone who decided that!

I'm caught up on my sleep by now, but no less caustic.

Anyone else see why the harsh tone of the so-called "minority report" was not only justified but necessary?  We continue to welcome additional signatories to that report.

I've recently been in touch with David Smith of Seattle, who attended the Portland LCI seminar.  His comments about that seminar make Susan Snyder's comments look like glowing praise by comparison.  David is extremely knowledgable about safe cycling, and normally quite measured and moderate in tone.  His criticisms stung deeply.

If our work product generates that kind of criticism, we have failed abjectly.  Let's tolerate no whitewash, no compromises, no institutional inertia of the inept.

John Schubert


Date: Wed, Oct 10, 2001 2:39 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: More on seminar preparation

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

A further suggestion:

As a way of compensating those who took the flawed seminars, we should offer to them free passage to a future "corrected" seminar, together with up to $200 towards their travel and lodging expenses.

To fail to offer them any remedy is unconscionable.  They have the certification without the knowledge.

John Schubert


Date: Thu, Oct 11, 2001 11:23 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Re: More on seminar preparation

To: [address removed]

Hi Barb and others,

<<However, I do not intend to ask Mike or Elissa to "catalog unauthorized short-cuts."  I want us to spend time seeing that FUTURE seminars meet standards we set<<

Sorry.  I'm not with you on this one.  Here's why:

(1) We need to compile a list of LCIs to whom we are obligated to offer free, ADEQUATE training.  The catalog is necessary for this reason alone.

(2) Mike and Elissa have made it pretty clear that they don't understand the extent to which they have acted without approval to undermine the quality of the LCI program.  They need their noses rubbed in this.

(3) This won't take the education committee's time.  It will take Mike a very unpleasant hour or two to meticulously catalog all his screw-ups, and I think that for him to spend that time is an essential part of his very necessary personal development, and essential to figuring out what the quality of the LCI program really is.  Mike's work product will be a chart, one or two pages long, which EdComm can review in seconds.  The chart should be in the following format (unless there's something I've missed):

Column One:  LCI Candidate name

Column Two:  Certificate Number, date and location of seminar

Column Three:  Entrance exam test date, test score, name & address of proctor

Column Four:  Road I course Completion date, written test score, road test score

Column Five:  Names & dates of references

Column Six:  Test scores during LCI seminar

(4) It ain't the crime.  It's the cover up.  Anyone with offices on K Street is supposed to know that.  If we don't even know what the crime is, that is, by definition, a cover-up.

(5) Under LAB bylaws, any LAB member is free to enter the offices, root through the files, and compile that information himself.  I want the information badly enough to theaten that possibility, but I would much rather see staff do the rooting instead.

(6) Barb, in my opinion, you are under-reacting to an atrocity.  You are compromising with someone who has established his bargaining postion through underhanded means, and therefore, you are giving more ground than you should have to.  No, the thing to do is to stand absoutely firm, compel the other party to retreat to where he was before engaging in underhanded moving of his postion, and then bargain from there.

(7) Mike has already made it clear that he has under-reacted to the education committee's report.  Note Hoffman's discoveries about what LCI candidates are being told prior to the October seminars -- Mike hasn't reversed any of the damage he did in the past.  Mike simply doesn't believe Mike did anything wrong.  If Mike doesn't believe that, he has no motive to change his behavior.  He is egotistical and stubborn.  If he were thoughtful and understanding like you, Barb, he wouldn't need massive whacks with a 2x4 to make him understand what he needs to change.  But he isn't, and we need to supply those whacks.

On a semi-related topic:  Mike has been unprofessionally vague with the LCI seminar site coordinators about what is required when, and what will be delivered when.  Both Steve Schmitt and Fred Meredith have grumbled to me about this.

John "looking forward to seeing Mike's head on a pike" Schubert


Date: Thu, Oct 11, 2001 11:26 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Re: More on seminar preparation

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

One last comment:

>>Let's get to work on reasonable standards on which we can agree.<<

Agreed with that.  But if we're still having a tug-of-war over loosening of standards that staff has tried to make a fait accompli, this becomes more difficult.  That's why I want to slay this monster completely.  Then we can ask ourselves what requirements WE want to loosen, rather than sigh and say, "We used to have references and an entrance exam.  They're gone now, and we can't bring them back."

Reminder:  they're STILL gone after the previous education committee report said we wanted them, and Mike cheerfully replied yep, he'd get to work on the committe recommendations.

John "I want to see Mike's picture on a milk carton" Schubert


Subj: Re: More on seminar preparation

Date: Thu, Oct 11, 2001 7:24 pm EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: Schubley@aol.com

John,

So, this is the extent of the criticism of the Portland seminar:

" I participated in the LAB LCI certification in Portland.  The instructor of that event praised the work of the Portland bike advocacy group for their work on bike lanes incuding the Blue Bike Lanes at intersections.  He provided NO analysis or comparision of following the rules of the road versus utilizing the facilities mentioned, with two execptions:  1. the blue paint gets frosty 2. the blue highlights conflict areas to warn users to use caution."

This is what caused you to write, "I've recently been in touch with David Smith of Seattle, who attended the Portland LCI seminar.  His comments about that seminar make Susan Snyder's comments look like glowing praise by comparison.  David is extremely knowledgable about safe cycling, and normally quite measured and moderate in tone.  His criticisms stung deeply."  It seems to me that you've overreacted.

Barbara

 


Subj: Re: Re: More on seminar preparation

Date: Thursday, October 11, 2001 8:34:47 pm

From: Schubley

To: [address removed] Barbara Sturges

Hi Barb,

>>It seems to me that you've overreacted.<<

Smith's overall negative comments about the LCI program stung me deeply.  Don't forget his closing line:  "What education is this?"

I was recruited to this board of directors primarily because of my enthusiasm for expanding the education program.  Then I arrived.  While I put on my game face and told anyone who would listen that LAB wasn't losing touch with its core membership, Jody eagerly undercut me at every turn, with Earl using all his mendacious skills to support her.  Mike has been an embarrassment to LAB in many ways (don't forget his fistfight with an LCI student in Albuquerque) and I don't trust him.

And when thoughtful, knowledgable people like Dave Smith (mentioned previously), Sarah Etter (new to cycling but smart), Fred Oswald (member of NCUTLO and author of some superb forward-thinking work on model ordinances, and proprietor of a great web site), and Wayne Pein (the principal researcher of the Hunter/Thompson 1991 bike/MV accident study) all say they find LAB irrelevant, that stings.

But what stings the most is when I can't get other board or staff to give a hoot about their opinions.  If LAB can't or won't try to bring these guys into the fold, I fear we really have lost interest in the core membership.  (Their pointing out that we promiscuously promote bikelanes in our "bicycle friendly cities" promotion is another sore point for me, but that's a different subject from tonight's.)

Getting back to the specific issue of Smith's mention of blue paint, I have not had the mispleasure of seeing it first hand, but I understand it is used to instruct bicyclists how to behave in non-standard traffic patterns (i.e. it attempts to "patch" bad bikelane design with more paint).  I strongly believe that can be dangerous, since it undermines predictablity.  Smith and others have written at great length about blue paint on the Chainguard mailing list.  Smith's mention of how the seminar treated blue paint was an understated brief reference, but it should be viewed in the context of this shared understanding list members have about the drawbacks of the whole blue paint concept.  ("We've misdesigned this intersection so badly that there's no way for bicyclists to behave predictably according to standard traffic law.  So we'll sanctify nonstandard behavior by painting a blue path.")

Another piece of context is troubling me deeply.  I learned, on deep background from a concerned LAB member, that Mike wrote this member and basically said he (Mike) thought there was no such thing as a bad bicycle facility, and that we needed to build as many facilities as possible to attract more people to bicycling.  Given the engineering atrocity I've seen in bad facility design (I have blueprints from a beaut that the Army Corps of Engineers came very close to imposing on Tom Helm's hometown, complete with 18 percent descent followed by an abrupt 90-degree turn and then a narrow bridge), I consider that unacceptably naive and uninformed about (a) causes and countermeasures of bicycle accidents, and (b) what kinds of facilities get built if you give a green light to all facilities.  I flat-out don't understand how anyone who holds the opinions my friend told me Mike relayed to him can understand vehicular cycling well enough to rewrite a national program for teaching it.  (Please don't repeat to anyone else any of the information in this paragraph.)

Today, Bill and I learned the status of the pre-seminar exam.  Here's the scoop:

-- An unknown number of newly-minted LCIs this year (at least one, Jean Anderson, with whom I had dinner in Las Vegas) never even saw that exam.  I trust my opinion on that is obvious.

-- The exam is now sent out before the seminar, with the study guide, and the candidate is asked to study the materials, give him/herself the exam, bring it to the LCI seminar, self-grade it at the seminar, and use it as a basis for discussion.  A good plan?  I'm wary of it because under the old system, we had a guarantee that people walking in the door on seminar day knew their stuff.  (When I took the exam, I was impressed at how thoughtful and oftentimes difficult the questions were.  It was, overall, a well-crafted exam, and I believed that the requirement to pass it before taking the seminar ensured that incoming prospective LCIs would be sophisticated about bicycling.)  Because it is self graded and not recorded, it is not a real exam anymore.  It's been reduced to something like a study guide.  If the LCI candidate has serious knowledge gaps that exam reveals, only the LCI himself will know that.

-- In my opinion, this new procedure **could** work.  IF the candidate really does do all the work.  IF the candidate really asks follow-up questions about the areas s/he is weak in.  IF the seminar, already cut in half time-wise, really can afford the time to add this to its agenda.

Barb, believe it or not, I believe all this will get resolved and fixed.  But the process has been grating, and I believe more baby would have been thrown out with the bathwater but for Bill's and my suspicious natures.

I've been deeply disappointed, because poorly-done revisions in the name of expanding the LCI program give a bad name to all expansion.  I don't like to be accused of trying to keep the program from growing.  Like all of us, I want the changes to occur with enough due care and thoughtfulness that they reach the goal of greater availability without trashing the program's quality.

My measure of success will be that Susan Snyder and Dave Smith return to future LCI seminars and say, "This is good."  I hope that's everyone else's measure of success too.

Best to you, Barb,

John


Subj: Re: More on seminar preparation

Date: Fri, Oct 12, 2001 8:23 am EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: Schubert & committee [address removed]

John,

I want you to know that I find these two remarks by you totally inappropriate.

John "I want to see Mike's picture on a milk carton" Schubert

They (Mike and Elissa) need their noses rubbed in this.

Barbara


Date: Sun, Oct 14, 2001 7:21 am EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: Fixing the hole in the dike

To: [address removed]

Hi y'all,

Bill Hoffman wrote:

<< The obvious liability is the potential for insufficiently knowledgeable and/or skilled people receiving the LAB imprimatur and exposing the League to suits from their students, who by definition will be under-prepared and may well blame their instructor for not properly teaching them should they get into crashes.>>

This is not just a theoretical objection.  Eight or 10 years ago, I was an expert witness for the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Kent State University when a participant in a physical education bicycling class was injured due to inept instruction.  The injury occurred when the cyclist collided with a motor vehicle during the class.  The instructor had given no instruction in how to make a left turn in traffic, and then told the cyclist to go make one.  In pressing the case, I relied heavily on the standards of the Effective Cycling Program, which very clearly would have prevented this collision.  I noted that at the time there were four ECIs in the state of Ohio.  (As a side note, the expert for the defense was Dan Burden, who opined that the level of instruction was indeed adequate.  Harumpf.)  The name of the case was Shaugnessy (sp?) versus Kent State.  When I get home next week, I can send copies of my report to anyone who asks.  (I won't burden all of you with it unless you all ask.)

A more general comment.  I do agree that I've gotten too verbally harsh in the past few days and I apologize for that.  The irony is that I truly believe that if we were to each design a new LCI seminar and handbook from scratch, they would all be quite similar, and none would have the flaws that Bill and I are caterwauling about.  My concerns are that being too nice won't work to solve the problems.  I'm still waiting for evidence that will allow me to withdraw my various remarks about mules, 2x4s, etc.

John Schubert


Subj: Re: Fixing the hole in the dike

Date: Sun, Oct 14, 2001 4:08 pm EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: [address removed]

Dear Committee,

As I have said I do not think our committee should be investigating "short-cut's" in teaching in the name of "accurately getting our hands on the scope of the problem."  Bill is looking out for the League in citing liability concerns.  I agree that it was appropriate for the concerns to be raised and thank him for doing so.  However, I do not think it is our role to investigate the issue.

I intend to call Chris and tell him the concerns that have been raised.  He or he and the board will then proceed with the issue.

Barbara


Date: Tue, Oct 16, 2001 3:28 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Bill, should I send this to the education committee?

To: [address removed]

Hi all,

Barb wrote:

>>I do not think our committee should be investigating "short-cut's" in teaching in the name of "accurately getting our hands on the scope of the problem." . . . I do not think it is our role to investigate the issue.<<

I agree conditionally.

My view is that the staff should have done this months ago, when the red flags began flying.  Their under-response has been a disappointment.

As long as staff is (belatedly) doing this job, I agree that the committee should sit back and wait for the staff to present the information to us.

However, if staff isn't doing this work, it needs to be told to do so.

Perhaps that is technically the board's role, rather than the education committee's role.  (That's a question about board/committee/staff relations I don't know the answer to.)  But I sure hope the education committee agrees that the problems of the last year should be thoroughly documented.  Neither staff nor the committee can fix things it hasn't even identified as broken.

If we document the problems and deal with the problems, then it's over.  Egos are bruised in the process, but bruises heal.  If we don't document the problems, and don't deal with them, the problem never goes away.  Rumors keep surfacing, discontented third parties keep telling tales, etc.  It's like painting over a rust spot in your car instead of sanding out the rust and re-primering the metal.

Much faster, more thorough, and ultimately more humane to get all the bad news over with, and demonstrate beyond significant doubt that it's been dealt with.

My caterwauling has been based solely on the suspicion that staff wants to continue under-responding.  Everyone involved has my faithful promise to shut up immediately when I see staff doing this work and doing it thoroughly.  People with long attention spans are invited to a true anecdote about how I did exactly that with an education problem in the school district this year.

John Schubert


[THIS E-MAIL IS INCLUDED BECAUSE IT LISTS BARBARA’S CRITERIA FOR LCI CANDIDATES. WHAT IS WORTH NOTING IS THAT MOST OF THESE CRITERIA HAVE _NOT_ BEEN HONORED IN THE YEARS SINCE SHE WROTE THIS.]

Subj: "Who Can Be LCI"-PLEASE RESPOND

Date: Sat, Oct 20, 2001 5:36 pm EST

From: [address removed] (Barbara G Sturges)

To: [address removed]

Dear Committee,

I know some of you won't be happy with ALL of this but please let me know what you think of these recommendations:

Recommendation from the Education Committee

In an effort to see that individuals taking LCI training have adequate background skills and knowledge to benefit from the course and to be a capable instructor upon its completion, and to see that the training has accomplished its objectives, we recommend that:

1) Candidates to become LCI's be required to have taken Road I, preferably at least a year prior to applying for the LCI seminar, unless he/she lives in an area without any LCI's.  In such a case the individual can be admitted to a seminar by passing the pre-test before the seminar (via e-mail or US mail) and attending a special Road I class offered the day prior to the seminar.

2) The Effective Cycling book and video continue to be sent to participants before the seminar with required reading and viewing assignments and that references continue to be required.

3) For those who have taken Road I before the seminar, one of the required references for acceptance into the course must be written by the LCI who taught the candidate Road I, unless extenuating circumstances prohibit (like the LCI's death).

4) There is disagreement within our committee as to the need for LCI candidates to take and pass a pre-test before being accepted into an LCI seminar.  We all feel strongly that we must keep up the standards of the program BUT the experience of some of the experts on the committee is that requiring the exam be proctored and passed before one can attend the training would be ideal but is unrealistic -- that we lose good volunteers who have the capability to teach those who need the training most -- by insisting on this requirement.  Other experts feel that the requirement is necessary to maintain the quality of the program.

Although a large minority object, we recommend the pre-test be sent to candidates before the seminar to be completed in an open book format and brought to the seminar.  We further strongly recommend that the seminar format be revised to include discussion of the pre-test in the section "Introduction to Program."

5) We also strongly recommend that both Road and written exams be given to each LCI seminar participant upon completion of the course which, along with assessment of the student's practice teaching, will ascertain and document that participants accomplished the learning objectives of the seminar and merit certification to teach.

6) We also recommend that a survey be conducted via a form for each participant to complete at the end of the course.  The survey would ask the participant when he/she had taken Road I; how much and what type riding he/she had done before taking the seminar; if he/she had done the reading, watched the video, and taken the pre-test; how prepared did he/she feel for the course; how prepared does he/she feel to teach after completing the course.


Date: Sat, Oct 20, 2001 10:44 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: "Who Can Be LCI"-PLEASE RESPOND

To: [address removed]

Hello again,

>>>>>1) Candidates to become LCI's be required to have taken Road I, preferably at least a year prior to applying for the LCI seminar, unless he/she lives in an area without any LCI's.  In such a case the individual can be admitted to a seminar by passing the pre-test before the seminar (via e-mail or US mail) and attending a special Road I class offered the day prior to the seminar.<<<<<

The day-before Road I has unveiled a few logistical difficulties, some of which will be unveiled in the interviewing of site coordinators and others.  I know of one anecdote that has a few lessons for us:  a person that many of us badly wanted to see certified in Bethlehem today didn't get the certification.  She took Road I on Thursday, riding her bike about 10 miles to and from the course site, and was too worn out to show up for the seminar on Friday.  Had Road I been a week earlier, the story might have been happier.  Also, wherever logisitcally possible (and it was in this case), a somewhat-earlier Road I gives the student time to let the lessons soak in.

Road I was never intended to be a one-day course, and I had been told that it only works as a one-day course with well above average students.

I think we should put an additional condition on accepting day-before Road I as part of the LCI certification process.  It should only be allowed when the LCIs recommending the candidate believe s/he can pass Road I very easily, and that the reviewing LCIs believe it will be essentially a day of review for the candidate.

>>>>>>

4) . . . . Although a large minority object

<<<<<

Barb, how 'bout we meet you half way.  I **never** said I thought the exam needed to be proctored -- only that that was past procedure.  I think we can trust people to self-administer the exam.

I want to make sure that the candidates study the material and know it.  So I suggest we send 'em the study materials **and** the exam, in a package that spells out that we expect them to spend a significant length of time (three full evenings?) with the material, then close the books and give themselves the exam, and then mail it to the regional trainer, a minimum of X days (7 to 10?) before the exam.

What we now have isn't an exam because it isn't graded and it isn't possible to flunk it.  It's a study guide, and with that system we can't guarantee that the person either (a) does the studying or (b) understands the material.

Your stated objection to the full testing is, "we lose good volunteers who have the capability to teach those who need the training most -- by insisting on this requirement." Under my proposal, we remove the most cumbersome part of the old requirement -- finding a proctor.

The remaining differences between my proposal and yours are:

-- I have a lead time requirement.

-- I have written proof that the student understands the material.

So, except for the lead time, my proposal is only less convenient to the LCI candidate if the LCI candidate wants to cut corners on preparation.

In addition, the current two-day seminar format doesn't include a time slot for going over the exams, grading them, and discussing them, and it would have to be shoehorned in at the expense of something else.

Finally, I'd add that I haven't heard what Lois, Linda, Preston or Peter thinks about the exam requirement (forgive me if you've rendered your opinion on this issue and I missed it), so I'm not sure the people insisting on the exam are a minority.  But even if we're a solid majority, I'll still happily throw away the proctor requirement.

John Schubert


Date: Sun, Oct 21, 2001 4:31 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Preston, thanks

To: [address removed]

Hi Preston,

<<After the Austin Seminar I feel even more certain that the preliminary evaluation of the candidates must be done in time to keep them out of the seminar if they are not qualified.>>

Thanks.  Many thanks.

Barbara and I are in a terrible rut, and I would like to find a way to dig out of it.  I've always respected her work for LAB.  Only in the last three months has a big problem arisen.

To me, the pre-seminar test is a holy war, death-and-abortion issue.  Without it, we've sold our souls.

So if the rest of y'all can fix that problem without further input from me, that would just be grand.

John

----------------------------------------------------

-- John Schubert --- The Limeport Marketing Group --

-- 5996 Beverly Hills Road, Coopersburg PA 18036 --

-- 610/282-3085 fax 610/282-2432 Schubley@aol.com --

----------------------------------------------------


Date: Mon, Oct 22, 2001 1:30 pm EST

From: Schubley

Subj: Re: "Other recommendations"-PLEASE RESPOND

To: [address removed]

Hello Barb and others,

My apologies -- I thought I had mailed this note out last week.  Then I found it hiding in my 'pooter.  Here it is, belatedly.

Quick responses:

Overall:  no major problems

(#1 - Marketing) If it's possible to have more specific suggestions, we should do that, since marketing has been our biggest problem in the past.

We might suggest beginning with a study of how the Red Cross markets its first aid, baby sitting, and swimming courses; how the YMCA markets its swimming courses; how the NRA markets its gun safety courses.  The key questions:  what do the national organizations do for the instructor in the field?  What bureaucratic/procedural hoops does the instructor have to jump through to teach a class?  (I don't claim to know what questions to ask, so I think a study would be an enormous benefit in finding ideas we didn't know to ask for.)  I'll further suggest that this work (it sounds like about two days of telephone calls and report writing) might best be done by a seasoned LCI who wants to donate a brief flurry of energy to the League.  A long-standing LCI who's experienced firsthand the frustration of our various marketing efforts might be naturally able to get the most insights from this research.

Also:  I would like to see LAB establish a standard "suggested retail price" for LCI services.  (Steve Schmitt tries to compensate LCIs at $40/hour, in the belief that it's a professional service and deserves to be compensated as such.)  A headquarters-generated price list for courses, which we would not have the power to enforce, but the LCIs would have the ability to use to their own benefit, would help LCIs in the field.

(#3 - confer with site coordinators) Also ask the regional trainers and the seminar attendees for their input.

(#5 - newsletter) Great thing.  Suggest it be sent to the "dropouts" too.  Worth 34 cents to keep 'em in the loop.

(#6 - college training) Also great.  Move fast and you might get in on the ground level in Pennsylvania.

(#7 - investigate CANbike reciprocity) Also great.  Glad to see it on the list.

Best to all,

John Schubert


Subj: Re: An odd coincidence?

Date: Wednesday, December 19, 2001 4:03:26 pm

From: Schubley

To: [NAMES DELETED]

Hi [NAMES DELETED],

>>>LAB is our organization, not the toy of one individual<<<

Enough LAB members know this and do this that the organization has survived its board and staff for the almost 40 years since it was revived (for, what, the third or fourth time).

The board has been pretty much a disastrous dysfunction for decades.  I foolishly thought I could make a big difference.  As it was, my big "accomplishment" was to engineer Earl Jones's ouster and give impetus to Jody to quit.  All those "accomplishments" did were to (a) reduce, but not reverse, damage that those two caused; (b) paint me as a real gladiator at infighting time, and (c) make lots of other board members think the right thing to do was to resist all infighting at all times at all costs.

>>>Maybe no one [Mike] trusts -- i.e. Elissa -- has helped him see it.  A good boss should be able to pull an employee aside and tell him the hard truths in a kind manner without making it a huge point of conflict.<<<

Elissa pretty much refused to do that.  I'd be thrilled if she'd hear dozens of people imploring her to.

People often need to be told, "Shape up or get fired." I've been told that a few times in my day.  Sadly, I believe Elissa is too weak to say that to Mike.  But if she hears in un-ignorable terms that the whole damn League is expecting her to do so, it may have some effect.

John

----------------------------------------------------

-- John Schubert --- The Limeport Marketing Group --

-- 5996 Beverly Hills Road, Coopersburg PA 18036 --

-- 610/282-3085 fax 610/282-2432 Schubley@aol.com --

----------------------------------------------------


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