In the 1983 report A Nation At Risk, President Reagan said, “if an unfriendly foreign power had intended to impose on America the mediocre education system that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war”.

In the U.S. education today costs 2.5 times more per pupil than it did 50 years ago, yet Math and English grades have stayed the same, and Science grades are actually down. We are spending more on education than any other country in the world and getting less return on investment for it.

According to the Nation At Risk report, our educational system is not designed to set goals and objectives. From 1983 to today our efforts to correct this have met with little success.

Joining us to talk about our systems, where we were in 1990, and what were/are the issues are seasoned professional education experts:

  • Linus Wright: Undersecretary of Education under President Regan.
  • The Honorable Kathleen Leos: CEO of the Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development and
  • Lisa Hembry: Executive Director LIFT, Literacy Instruction for Texas.
  • (Dr. Walter Edwards Williams, economist and educator, states his opinion from a previously taped program).

Our experts tell us that while people talk about the “good old days” rgarding education, this is not accurate. Prior to WWII, only half of our youngsters attended school full time. This changed when in 1949 we passed a compulsory attendance act which compelled those, 6-17 years of age to attend school. This led to 98% of our youngsters enrolling in classes. Yet, we have never educated more than 25% of the population.

While today there may be more students enrolled in school we are still not adequately preparing them for the future. In some urban schools only 8-10% of all students are prepared for college or work. We have a dropout rate of 30-40%.

Poverty is one of the key issues. Poor kids often come to school without an adequate vocabulary, which may consist of 300-400 words vs. middle class students who start school with a vocabulary of 2000 words. If a child can’t read by the 4th grade, he or she may never catch up and starting with a more robust vocabulary is essential.

85% of juveniles who enter the court system are functionally illiterate. 70% of inmates in prison can’t read beyond the 4th grade. 19% of high school graduates can’t read beyond lower grade school level! In some states only 1 year of math and 2 years of English are required to graduate.

Are there solutions? Our experts say, we need standards, assessments and a way to measure progress. And more.

Join us to learn more about the “good old days” that never existed. And what still needs to be resolved with this 25 year retrospective on education.

Niki N. McCuistion:
Executive Producer/Producer
Transformational Change Agent
Organizational, Personal, Culture Change
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
214-750-5157
www.nikimccuistion.com
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are Guests:

Robert Hall, a Dallas businessman and best-selling author, of This Land of Strangers: The Relationship Crisis That Imperils Home, Work, Politics and Faith and several other business books, including, The STREETCORNER STRATEGY for Winning Local Markets, “which inspired the customer relationship management movement”, was recently interviewed by the Dallas Morning News.

He believes there is a growing crisis in relationships. Financial, social, psychological situations, exacerbated by the economy and disintegrating relationships are causing chaos. Broken relationships have a high cost on our social and economic welfare.

Left to Right: Mahmoud Sadri, Phd, Dennis McCuistion, Ami Moore, Phd, Robert E. Hall

Dr. Ami Moore, a Fulbright scholar, says she sees the problem as universal, not just a North American problem. In her extended research studies in West Africa, she experienced how changing relationships are causing new challenges as families drift further from their native roots. She says, “No-one teaches us to manage changes”. And the many changes she observed are increasingly negative, particularly affecting those with reduced incomes, “These changes in male and female relationships are increasingly causing breakdowns in family relationships and marriages”.

Robert Hall tells us that for the first time in history, in 2012, 50% of children born in the US are born to single moms; their children face a poverty level 5 times that of their peers in two “parent” households. In friend relationships, there have been decreases in the number of friend’s people now have- from an average of three to now two, and the number of people without any close friends has now tripled.

Yet, Dr. Mahmoud Sadri states that he does not see a relationship crisis. While we are in challenging times he also sees this as a time of dynamic equilibrium, that there is hope for the future and many new ways of relating are open to us.

The good news is that there is a 38% increase in the amount of time parents are spending with their kids. And our social media experts, Terry Brock and Gina Carr, who join us for a brief excerpt, say, we have to do things differently. They comment, “Social media is a wonderful way to connect, it leverages touch and interaction.”

Join us for a brisk dialogue on the challenges facing relationships today and let’s keep talking about things that matter with people who care…

Niki N. McCuistion
Transformational Change Agent
Organizational, Personal, Culture Change
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Executive Producer/Producer
214-750-5157
www.nikimccuistion.com
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

***

2022

Why Are Our Relationships Breaking Down?

Robert E. Hall, Dallas business man, author of This Land of Strangers: The Relationship Crisis That Imperils Home, Work, Politics and Faith and several other business books, including, The STREETCORNER STRATEGY for Winning Local Markets, “which inspired the customer relationship management movement”, was recently interviewed by the Dallas Morning News’ Cheryl Hall on the breakdown of relationships (name similarity just coincidence).

Robert says he’s “never seen anything like the dysfunctional mess we are in now. The schism between power-brokering CEOs and distrusting workers is growing wider by the day”.

According to Robert, “too many bosses at the top of public companies have a me-first route to success”. Company leaders have traditionally been rewarded for achieving short-term financial goals, too often at the expense of employees’ overall wellbeing. However this short-term view and its results are causing more employees to become increasingly cynical and more disengaged.

He told the News, “One in 5 people trusts a business leader to tell the truth in a difficult or contentious issue; 86 percent trust corporations less today than they did five years ago, and 70 percent say, ‘I’m disengaged at work.”

Earlier this year, in a Huffington Post article, Hall said, “from 1978 to 2013, rates of return on assets and invested capital in U.S. firms declined 75 percent while CEO compensation increased 937 percent. Worker compensation grew one third of one percent per year for this timeframe. Between 2003 and 2012 54 percent of S&P 500 earnings have gone to stock buybacks and 37 percent to dividends – that totals 91 percent for the benefit of owners.

Leaders who feel entitled to lose touch with followers evoke a specific kind of costly broken relationship – the popular term is disengagement.

“Leaders used to be able to say one thing and do another because no one would ever know,” Hall says. “Not today. There’s virtually nothing you can do that’s not out there to be found. We want leaders who will authentically tell the truth. Instead, we get people who manipulate us. And we’re less willing to put up with that every day.”

untitled-0181

Left to Right: Robert E. Hall, Dennis McCuistion, Jim Underwood, PhD

When Robert joined us for a TV program on the crisis in relationships, he told our viewing audience, “There is a seismic shift in relationships which is rapidly trending toward the negative and imperils society”. He claims this “relationship cliff” is affecting every area of our lives. This decline is costly, causing a cycle of estrangement, less trust and loyalty towards business, government and individuals; customer defections are up by 30%, each 1% in employee’s turnover costs the company 5% in profits and trust in our Federal government is down to less than 25%.

On that program, host Dennis McCuistion was also joined by:

(The now late), Jim Underwood, PhD, former Professor of Management at Dallas Baptist University and a prolific author, including, the best seller, What’s Your Corporate I.Q?

According to Dr. Underwood, a spirit of transiency is everywhere. Two hundred of the Fortune 500 companies have relationship issues in management or in their culture, with many companies experiencing a 70% turnover rate amongst their CEO’s. Research indicates innovation suffers when teams don’t function effectively and as organizations become larger the relationship atmosphere becomes toxic if management does not align its leadership with a relationship culture.

Left to Right: Terry Brock, Gina Carr, Niki Nicastro McCuistion & Dennis McCuistion

Those who focus on relationships enjoy a higher return in productivity and profitability. Studies show that customers who have an emotional connection with a company “buy” 46% more from that company than those who do not have an emotional tie. So is part of the challenge the growth of technology, which has supplanted daily conversations?

According to social media experts, Terry Brock and Gina Carr, co-authors of Klout Matters, who join in via a taped interview, technology can enable someone to connect with people all over the world at any time. Terry, a former chief blogger for Skype and AT&T, maintains technology grows relationships more effectively. Gina, known as the Tribe Builder agrees that you can speak to and connect with people you might not otherwise “speak” to.

Yet with technology comes more efficiency, which takes its toll on relationships. Hall says, “We wind up being alone – together”, and cites that today young people 8-18 years old average 7.38 hours a day on electronic devices.

Is there hope? The jury’s out – still our guest’s state we’re starting to recognize the need for positive emotion and a return to our core values…

Join us once again for a thought provoking conversation about what really matters.

Niki N. McCuistion:
Transformational Change Agent
Organizational, Personal, Culture Change
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Executive Producer/Producer
214-750-5157
www.nikimccuistion.com
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

***

2021

In part three of this series on immigration the subject is immigration policy for the future. Host, Dennis McCuistion, is joined by:

  • Rick Gump: Lawyer/ Owner, Richard A. Gump, Jr. PC
  • Professor Neil Foley, PhD: Southern Methodist University, Robert H. and Nancy Dedman Chair in History, Author: Mexicans and the Making of America
  • Pia Orrenius, PhD: V.P and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Adjunct Professor, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Author of Beside the Golden Door: U.S. Immigration Reform in a New Era of Globalization

Left to Right: Pia Orrenius, Neil Foley and Rick Gump

Joining us via a prior taped interview to weigh in on immigration policy is Vicente Fox, former President of Mexico; who tells us, we need to pay more attention to immigration, “It is what makes a stronger more successful nation”.

This program addresses a huge question regarding immigration policy: what is the one thing we should do today to solve the immigration issue? As you might expect there is no one or simple answer and each of our panelists have diverse solutions.

Immigration in America has long been problematic. Laws and border enforcement have not resolved the challenges we face; the human, societal and economic. Our guests believe we must get beyond the ideology and the political conversation and take a look at what is in the best economic interests of the United States.

While solutions regarding immigration policy ranged from updating our visa system and having a fair and consistent enforcement program; immigration may not in fact be a huge crisis but what is actually going to “save” the U.S. It will give us the means to support an increasingly graying population and with birth rates down- this is a growing concern.

From an economic perspective our present system does not let supply meet demand. The U.S is falling behind and does not successfully attract and keep the more skilled employment based labor the U.S job market needs to move forward. Low skilled immigration has a negative economic impact. With 12 million undocumented aliens in the U.S today immigration policy reform is critical.

You may agree or not with our guests and the solutions offered but the lively discussion invites introspection. What is the solution? Join us and let us know what you think.

And as always thanks for joining us in our 25th year as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care.

Niki N. McCuistion: Trailblazer
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

2212 – 02.22.15

Immigration policy is the subject of this McCuistion Program episode. Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to continue the Immigration question on part two of our three part series are guests:

Left to Right: Rick Gump, Pia Orrenius and Hipolito Acosta

Immigration is part of the founding myth of the United States which has gone through several immigration waves in its short history. Its first; the founding colonial wave, which was largely English. Since, we’ve had the primarily German/Irish wave of 1820-1870 with German immigration the largest to date, comprising 15% of all our immigration. The third wave took place from the 19th century to World War I. Today we’re in our fourth wave.

Immigration policy has become ever more complex; as a human rights issue, jobs and economic issue, welfare issue, a cultural and a national security issue. Despite the succession of laws it still remains problematic. A 1986 law gave 3 million undocumented aliens some legalized status and had provisions to fine employers who abused the system by employing undocumented aliens.

A 1990 law expanded the number of family based visas that were being issued and resulted in the highest rate of immigrants in decades- 10-11 million people. Another law in 1996 added reinforcement provisions, more benefits were granted; even more enforcement to authorities and considerably more resources along our borders. Still illegal immigration continues; the complexity increases and our policies are still deficient.

When speaking of immigration policy, our experts challenge us to  remember why so many people immigrate to the United States, in spite of the obstacles put in their way. The answer is partly opportunity – and economic and other freedoms.  Research shows that it’s high skilled immigration which has the highest payoff for our economy. Still, as always there’s demand and supply so programs that work need to be in place to bring both the highly skilled and not so skilled into the United States, albeit  legally.

Is there one solution to our immigration policy dilemma? Secure borders, enforce the law, strong interior enforcement? The U.S. needs more comprehensive laws and  better enforcement. President Obama’s executive order helps families and offers employer reforms but is that enough to resolve the growing issue?

It’s a lively discussion on immigration policy and we go back several years with excerpts from previous programs on immigration, which include comments from: Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, James F. Hollifield, PhD, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Tower Center of Political Studies at SMU and “Tom” Tancredo, former congressman, Colorado, (R).

Thanks for joining us in our 25th year of talking about things that matter with people who really care.

Niki N. McCuistion: Trailblazer
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

***

2211 – 02.15.15

The history of immigration in the United States is the topic of today’s discussion. Ironically even though the United States is a nation of immigrants, immigration has been a controversial issue from its very beginnings.

The immigration debate is again heating up as a result of President Obama’s executive actions as they relate to immigration. Recent news headlines report that 26 states filed a lawsuit to stop President Obama’s executive actions that would allow approximately 4.9 million eligible, undocumented immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation by applying for deferred action programs, namely the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA). The suit was initiated by then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has since become the state’s governor.

On the first of our 25th anniversary programs, host, Dennis McCuistion, is joined in part one of a three part series titled A Brief History of Immigration,  by experts:

While discussing the history of immigration in the United States, our guests take us back in time to the making of our present policies and their colorful evolution. At the start of this country U.S. migration went from East to West. Westward migration expanded into Kentucky and the 1803 Louisiana Purchase pitted us directly against the Spanish Empire. There was a south to north Spanish immigration into Texas, which began  causing conflict as early as the 1820’s . The U.S. intended to own America from east coast to west coast.

We’re  reminded  of the various immigration acts,  their outcomes and challenges. At one time Mexicans were not considered immigrants, with families living on both sides of the border. The 1917 Immigration Act called for a head tax and a literacy test, partly to keep Asians, primarily Chinese from immigrating. The 1924 National Origins put quotas on SE Europeans, Irish and Italians, Poles and Slavs. Many of these acts have failed.

It’s no surprise that our guests tell us we keep repeating the same old story. We have border enforcement, which is still not secure, and the same fears of immigrants taking jobs away from citizens.

Join us this week as we talk about our country’s origins and the peoples who have made this country a great one in a Brief History of Immigration.

Thanks for joining us in our 25th year of talking about things that matter with people who really care.

Niki N. McCuistion: Trailblazer
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

***

2210 – 02.08.2015

 

STOP! Don’t fix your weaknesses! Focus on your strengths…

Have you ever tried to “fix” anyone? Have you focused on what doesn’t work, what you or they do wrong? Has it worked?

In 1998- Tom Rath, author of STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0, worked with a team of Gallup scientists with a goal of starting a conversation about what’s right with people. “We were tired of living in a world that revolved around fixing our weaknesses”. In their pursuit they discovered “that people have three times more potential for growth when they invest energy into developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”

Left to Right: Gary Rifkin and Candace Fitzpatrick

The team created an assessment to help people discover their talents, based on the 34 most common talents they found. In 2001 this assessment was unveiled in the best seller; Now Discover Your Strengths. Their goal of starting a global conversation was met.

The team found that people who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general.

Over the last 13 years I have used their work extensively- in working with my clients in corporate culture change and engaging employees for better results. It works. Now the team of Candace Fitzpatrick, Founder and CEO of CoreClarity and Gary Rifkin, CoreClarity’s Director of Strategic Communications and Training, have taken these concepts to an even more exciting and innovative level and created a series of training and discovery around them.

Joining us to talk about how to turn talents into strengths are:

Candace, not happy with the direction her then career was going, went back to school for her MBA and discovered the Gallup StrengthsFinder, which changed her life and led to the founding of CoreClarity in 2004.

She wanted to figure out the so what; “what can we do with these talents and information? How can we teach people how to use them and make them more accessible?” She adds, “This process points out the ingredients we already have in our DNA; those recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.” The firm “works with individuals to discover their talents so they can intentionally build on those talents to create strengths, which in turn enhances personal productivity and improves interpersonal effectiveness.

As Gary says, “I’ve taken a lot of assessments, but this one takes it deeper, to a whole new level. There are 34 different talents, and when you take this assessment you get your top 5 talents from Gallup. It’s then important to know what to do with them.” And that’s where CoreClarity comes in. CoreClarity puts the 34 STRENGTHSFINDER talents into 4 separate categories. One in 5 individuals has talents in each of the 4 categories.

The CoreClarity team says, “Contrary to old-school management philosophies, individuals, teams and organizations excel by managing their strengths, not by fixing their weaknesses. Yet society is fixated on ‘fixing’ people, trying to make them well-rounded so that they fit in anywhere.” They emphasize, “The truth is we are all gifted in different ways and trying to mold us into cookie cutter shapes is contrary to our very nature”.

If you want to learn how to revolutionize your life- join us. And as a special bonus- you’ll get to know more about Host Dennis McCuistion, and myself as CoreClarity unveils our talents.

Management guru, Peter Drucker, said, “Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer.”

PS: Host Dennis McCuistion is a Guru- one who spends a great deal of time thinking and reflecting before arriving at a conclusion or decision. A Guru’s mind does not turn off- it is always thinking. Producer, Niki McCuistion, is a Trail Blazer, one who combines the intellectual thinking talents with the drive to achieve something unique, like the McCuistion program she co-founded.

Thanks for joining us in our 25th year of talking about things that matter with people who really care.

New ways of learning are challenging the traditional higher education model!  This program explores the every changing scope of how teachers are teaching and students are learning.

Joining Dennis McCuistion are guest panelists:

One example of the changing model is Sal Khan‘s, Khan Academy. Austin College recently brought Sal Khan to Dallas. The Khan Academy’s mission is to get world-class education to everyone in the world for free. Using short video clips and digital content, students engage in a very different way.

To learn more from the original blog post, visit the following link: The Impact of Technology on Higher Education – Part Two.

 

Technology advances have changed many things, one of which is the way students are learning in the present day. Today’s students are prepared to live and work in a digital world and have different learning expectations as a result. In this episode we hear from expert panelists in the world of interactive teaching.

Joining Dennis McCuistion are:

  • Adam Brackin, PhD: Research Assistant Professor
    Arts and Technology, UT Dallas

    http://www.utdallas.edu/atec

To learn more about this episode, visit the original blog post: The Impact of Technology on Higher Education: A Brave New World – Part One.

Full Episode

Edward Snowden’s acts as a contractor of the National Security Administration (NSA) have caused some to call him a hero and others to call him a traitor. In this episode of the McCuistion Program Edward Snowden: Traitor or American Hero? panelists discuss the history of his acts as well as their various stances on what he did.

The debate over Edward Snowden’s decisions has galvanized and polarized many citizens.  Joining McCuistion to talk about Edward Snowden and his impact on society and government are experts:

Our experts views are provocative and very diverse on the questions of is Edward Snowden a criminal; or a whistleblower who may be eligible for protection?  To read more from the original airing follow this link: Edward Snowden: Traitor or American Hero?

 

Tune in and arrive at your own conclusions on this contentious issue.

As always we continue talking about things that  matter on issues that impacts us as citizens…

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

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04.06.14 – 2118