Schools of Business Ethics

G. Richard Shell, author of Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People, identifies three primary schools of ethics in negotiation. To me, they are equally valuable in examining ethics in the context of business in general.

1. The Poker School – “It’s a Game”

To poker players, business is a game and anything that can be done to gain advantage within the rules of the game (generally speaking, the laws of the land), is fair and just. If you love negotiating “gambits” (lowballing, goodcop/bad cop, red herrings, nibbling, etc.), and sales “tactics” (101 effective closing techniques, 30 tricks to getting past the gatekeeper,etc.) you may well belong to this school.

2. The Idealist School – “Do the right thing, even if it hurts.”

To the idealist, there is no separation between business in life. If you would not lie to your loved ones, you do not lie to your clients. If it’s OK to tell a “white lie” to protect the feelings of a friend or prevent a tragedy, it’s OK to tell a “white lie” to protect a corporate ally or prevent a business tragedy. While two idealists may differ in the specific set of rules they live by, they share the rigidity of doing what they believe to be “right”, even when it seems contrary to their business goals.

3. The Pragmatist School – “What goes around, comes around.”

The behaviour of a pragmatist may be inseparable from that of an idealist,but the motivation is different. While the idealist tells the truth and treats people fairly because it’s “the right thing to do”, the pragmatist tells the truth and treats people fairly because they believe it is the most effective way of getting things done. However, they will not hesitate to use deception as a necessary tool in pursuing their aims. Because pragmatists value their reputation (being seen to be honest), they will tend towards “misleading” statements over outright lies.

There are also combinations of these schools. “Pragmatic idealists” dothe right thing because of their ideals but are not above pushing the envelope of truth when the pressure is on and the chips are high; “pragmatic poker players” tend not to bluff in order to evolve their reputation as trustworthy, but will take advantage of that reputation when it really counts. “Idealistic poker players” are those among us who recognise business as a game, fully expect everyone around them to do their best to lie and cheat, but will only involve themselves in games they believe they can win by doing the “right” thing.

Possibly the most important thing to realise is that not everyone plays by your rules. Your being honest does not ensure others will be honest with you; similarly, your willingness to lie, cheat, and bend the rules does not mean the people you are doing with will do the same.

Here are a few things you can do to put these theories of business ethics into practice:

1. If you haven’t already, identify what “school” you belong to. Remember,your motivation is as important an indication of your ethics as your actions.

2. Identify at least one person that you know or have read about that seems to embody each of the three primary and three secondary schools of ethics. Once again, be aware that knowing someone’s actions without understanding their motivation will not necessarily reveal their ethical bent.

3. Discuss this tip with friends, and see what else you can discover that will enable you to be who you are while dealing ever-more effectively with others.

Education Grants for Single Mothers to Return to School

Juggling with education and a baby to take care can be very stressful for single mothers, especially the low-income earners. Seeking to return to school can be a pricey affair along with managing child care, tuition and living expenses. So, most moms drop the idea of pursuing education. The government recognizes your tough situation and has thus, initiated many education grants for single mothers to return to school to help attain higher degrees for a thriving job that liberates you from the clutches of huge debts and shallow living standards.

Grab this free money or the education grants for the transition phase that awards you independence for a secured and self-supportive livelihood.

Federal Educational Grants for Single Mothers

Federal Pell Grant: The U.S. government has provision for low-income single mothers desiring to go back to school. The education grant is offered through the Federal Pell Grant, America’s major student aid program that awards a maximum amount of $5,730 to financially deprived students to continue their education. The eligibility of the applicant however, depends on the income level of the individual, the cost of attendance at school, and the amount of time spent in attending school.

In 2014 the U.S Dept of Education through the Federal Pell Grant gave away $30.0 to almost 9 million students. One more good news! President Obama has increased the amount of this grant from $4050 to $5100. So, just select your desired school, college or university, fill the deferral Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and submit it within the deadline which is June 30 for every year.

‘Moms Return to School’ Government Grant Scholarship Program (MRSGGS): an extension of the Pell grant, this grant program offers excellent educational opportunity for home based moms wanting to study online.

Tax Benefits: single mothers attending school or college can now avail tax benefits through the American Opportunity Tax Credit program that gives off the first education amount $4000 totally free.

State Based Grants for School Going Single Mothers

Many state agencies offer educational grants to single mothers to pursue their dream for higher degrees and learning. Few state-specific grants for you are:

Warning Signs of a Bad School

How do parents find a good school? Not only are public schools crippled by dozens of bad ideas, but the schools seem intentionally designed so that parents cannot understand what’s really going on inside the classrooms. Probably it’s more practical to stay alert for the danger signs that can be observed from a distance. Here’s a checklist of the top eight signals that you don’t want your child in this school:

1) READING: The most important skill is reading. If you hear any mention of Whole Words, Sight Words, Dolch Words, Fry Words, or Balanced Literacy, run the other way. English is in alphabetic/phonetic language, and should be taught phonetically. Children must immediately learn the alphabet, and that letters stand for sounds. (There seem to be five or 10 good phonics programs available. I’m not convinced the small differences matter. What’s been killing us is this one big difference: teaching basic alphabetic information or NOT teaching it. Any synthetic phonics program, mixed with poetry, song, and a light touch, seems to do the trick. Advocates of phonics report that virtually all their students learn to read by age 7. Advocates of Whole Word say children should memorize a few hundred words each year, in which case they’ll be effectively illiterate through high school.)

2) MATH: The next most important thing is arithmetic. If you hear any mention of Reform Math, run the other way. (Reform Math is an umbrella term for at least 10 different programs, with names such as Everyday Math, Connected Math, MathLand, TERC, CPM, etc.) These programs tend to push advanced concepts at children who don’t even know how to add 10 and 16. These programs like to use obscure methods and algorithms so that children end up confused and scattered. The proper goal is that children gain mastery of basic arithmetic, for example, easily adding and subtracting one- and two-digit numbers. Then they move on to multiplying and dividing one- and two-digit numbers. There should be no use of calculators, no “spiraling” about from topic to topic, no mention of college-level concepts.

3) KNOWLEDGE: The next most important thing is that children are routinely expected to acquire knowledge. This used to be ordinary; but for 75 years our educators have waged war against content, facts, and memorization. “They can look it up” is a huge danger signal. To study history, for example, requires that children first learn the names of oceans, continents, rivers, mountains, and countries. Basic geography should be a staple throughout the first few years; there should be maps in every classroom, both of the US and the world. In general, in all subjects, children should first be taught the very simplest information, the essentials, the foundational knowledge, all in preparation for studying the subject at a higher level. If children do not learn the names of the oceans in the first grade, they are not at a school but a babysitting service.

4) SCIENCE: Children should be taught, from the start, the rudiments of science and scientific thinking. For example, children can look at common objects and say whether they are animal, vegetable or mineral. Children should be able to talk about water changing from solid to liquid to steam. Older children should be able to discuss the different kinds of problems dealt with by doctors, chemists, biologists, physicists, mathematicians, etc. Studying simple maps, diagrams, charts, illustrations and blueprints is a good sign. (Put it another way, I can’t imagine that a bad school would think of teaching children to understand simple diagrams in first grade.)

5) CONSTRUCTIVISM: One of the big fads raging in some public schools is called constructivism. (It can turn up in the teaching of any subject.) The giveaways are phrases such as “construct new knowledge,” “guide at their side,” “prior knowledge,” “learning strategies,” etc. All of these stand in direct contrast to direct instruction, whereby expert teachers teach what they know better than anyone else in the room. “A sage on a stage” is exactly what children need. Constructivism devalues the skill and preparation that good teachers bring to the schoolroom; and helps to conceal the poor training of bad teachers. Constructivism guarantees that instruction will move slowly and be fragmented.

6) FADS RUN RAMPANT: Other popular fads to be avoided include: Self Esteem (where children are constantly praised and awarded good grades even if doing a bad job); Cooperative Learning (where children are constantly forced to work in groups so they never learn to think for themselves); Critical Thinking (where children are encouraged to engage in deep discussions of subjects they know little about); Creativity Curriculum (where playing with the arts is given prominence over learning knowledge); and Fuzzy Anything (where children are allowed to guess, to concoct odd spellings and odd grammar without correction, to be wrong but still be graded as if correct). All of these are warning signs.

7) GOALS: Perhaps the most distinctive trait of good schools is that they talk about what will be taught and what will be accomplished. There are goals and expectations. There is a sense that the school has a map and has traveled the road many times before. Bad schools are distinguished by an endless litany of excuses and alibis. There is a sense that these schools don’t have clear goals, and they don’t really expect to advance very far. In bad schools, a lot of what happens is actually a sort of make-believe whereby children are kept busy doing pretend-work that doesn’t add up to very much. Perhaps the most disgusting part of the whole charade is that some of these schools will pretend that they are being considerate of the children, that they don’t want to push them too far, and they don’t want to expose the inadequacies of poor and minority children. All of this, it seems to me, is the merest drivel, not to mention racist. Children need to be challenged and pushed, not to the point where they give up but to the point where they think, “Wow, look at me go.”

8) SAFETY: A signal that cuts across all the others might be called basic orderliness and security. Schools should be safe places, both law-abiding and predictable. The point is that children should be able to relax so they can learn. A scary school ceases to be a school. The Principal (comparable to a small town’s Mayor and Sheriff) is a crucial figure in this paradigm: he or she sets the tone. Principals explain goals and policies to students and parents; principals motivate and support teachers. (This might be called the Principal Principle.)

Summary: The Tao of Education is very simple. Learning basics and academics is the goal, and the path to that goal. Facts and knowledge are the lifeblood of the classroom. Teaching should be as creative as possible; schools should be fun and student should smile a lot. But the whole process has to go somewhere, has to advance. At the end of each day, students know more than they did the day before. The problem with American education is that elite educators shifted away from knowledge-based education (a/k/a cognitive learning) toward feeling-based education (a/k/a affective learning).

Differences of Education in the Past

Elementary and high school today does not bear much resemblance to the elementary and high schools of fifty and sixty years ago.

We tend to think of change over time as making things worse, and to idealize the past as better and simpler. That was not always the case. However, many people perceive things this way.

Instead of taking this view, we should consider the many positive changes that have occurred over the past six decades that have led to great advances in education in the United States.

One major change that must be mentioned is desegregation. Segregation in schools, or putting black students in separate schools from white students, was made illegal by the Supreme Court ruling in the Brown V. Board of Education case in 1954. Now all students, regardless of race, have the same rights and can attend the same schools.

There have also been improvements in gender inequality. Can you imagine a high school where all of the young women were learning to cook and sew in Home Ec, and all of the boys were learning to do auto repair in auto shop? It sounds ridiculous, and yet that was the picture in many American high schools prior to the late 1960s.

Girls were also disadvantaged academically because of gender bias. They were discouraged from taking advanced math and science courses, and were told that they did not have the natural aptitude to succeed in these subjects. That is no longer the case. Now girls are encouraged in all lines of study, including science and math.

We also consider different learning styles in modern American schools. Different students learn differently. Some are visual learners, others need to hear something repeated a few times to retain the information, still others may need ‘hands on’ application of course materials. In previous decades, this was not recognized the way it is today.

School Uniform Design

Designing attractive school uniforms is as much an art as it is a science, and when approaching the uniform design process in this holistic approach we ensure that the end product, “the school uniform”, ends up meeting and exceeding all expectations.

When designing a school uniform there are few factors that need to be identified and decided upon, to ensure that the school uniform meets client expectations, these include:

– choose your material

– choose the style

– logo placement

– artwork

1. Choose Your Material

The first important factor that needs to be determined is the selection of appropriate material for the uniform, two important factors are price and quality. The two most popular materials in typical uniform design, are cotton and polyester, with hybrid cotton/polyester also being a popular third option.

Cotton is generally renowned for its comfort, skin sensitivity, smooth feel, long history in the apparel industry and popularity amongst concerned parents. However it is not as long-lasting as polyester, requires more care when washing, is generally a heavier material than polyester and has added concerns with environmental processes expended to produce it.

Polyester is renown for being exceptionally durable, is more resistant to the elements (hence its popularity in sports apparel), lighter than most apparel materials, and cheaper and easier to produce. However polyester is often regarded as being uncomfortable, due to chaffing and rashes in sensitive skinned people.

Hybrid blends of cotton and polyester are arguably the best material option, however these blends often cost more to produce, so again you must accurately gauge your school’s uniform shop funding and capital.

2. Choose the Style

Once you have come to a decision of the material the next logical step is to determine what style or cut your base school uniform will be shaped to. It is important to understand your school for this stage, if for example you are a private christian school, you may require long sleeve button up shirts with collars and pockets. On the other hand if your school is a government public school the uniform policy may require you to have polo shirts instead. It is vital to consult your school’s uniform policy and if your school does not have one it may be time to consider drafting one, as it will help improve your school’s credibility to the parents of the children.

The categories of styles here can be viewed as Formal and Non-Formal.

– Formal: long sleeve shirts, blazers, traditional skirts, ties, vests, pants, black shoes, wide brimmed hats

– Non-Formal: polo shirts, t shirts, plain pants, caps,

There are many sub-styles relating to the base styles outlined above, however this article will not go in-depth, typically companies have pre-made styles they get from suppliers or styles they manufacture themselves.

3. Logo Placement

Once you have decided on the material and style, its time to consider how to attach your school logo to the uniform. Before you decide where you are going to place the logo, it is important to source a high quality image of the logo, this will help you later down the track when it comes to eventual printing or embroidery of the logo. Typically the image needs to be 300dpi quality, typically in vector, PDF or JPEG format.

Where to place the logo?

– right hand breast

– left hand breast

– sleeves (left & right)

– underneath collar

It is recommended generally that the logo be placed on the right or left hand breast of the front of the shirt as this is the most professional looking place. Depending on your school specialty though, you may find a more abstract location to better reflect your specialty (art specialist schools would be ideal candidates).

How to attach the logo?

There is a few methods for attaching logo including using threads with embroidery, using vinyl with screen printing, or dye sublimation. I would highly recommend using embroidery for the normal school uniforms, however screen printing and dye sublimation are good methods for sporting uniforms as they are generally cheaper and carry less weight.

4. Artwork

So you have sourced your materials, the style and attached the logo in the appropriate place on your school uniform, but its missing something, the cherry on top to make it perfect. If you find yourself in this position it is often a last piece of artwork that can help finish off your school uniform design.

Again it is very important here to understand your school, including the school values, school specialty (is it sports? is it the local community?), the school history and obviously the school colours. It is good to make a brainstorm of all the things that make the school tick, I would highly recommend also plotting the school colours and all the complimentary and contrast colours, to help you with additional artwork.

While creating designs it is good practice to match the design process with the eventual printing process, depending on your printing decision, whether it be screen printing, dye sublimation or embroidery. Typically screen printing and dye sublimation impose no barriers to artwork creativity, however designs that are to be embroidered or sewn on the uniform, can not have designs with sharp curves or right angles.