"Deliver products and services which dramatically
increase efficiency and effectiveness of Special
Education resources and improve results and
outcomes." This is the Wizdom Education corporate
goal. And, when we give our many talks around the
country on what we do, we always add, "Wizdom
strives to reach this goal everyday." As true as our
intentions may be, however, they may also seem bland,
sterile or uninspiring.
Happily, we can back our claims up with numbers - as
to the problem, "According to the SEEP data, overhead
cost in Special Education is three times that of Regular
Education," and, to our specific experience: "The
Wizdom TransPlanner! will give back at least ten
days to every Transition Coordinator in improved
efficiency during the school year while improving
But, this is not what we are really all about.
What if we say that Wizdom Education is really
about "using things and loving people?"
The past reality
In the last Wizdom Educator, I talked a bit about my
government and industry background. The basic idea in
my other careers was to find the best practice or the
best process and then clone it in a new environment.
We looked worldwide for the best processes and
practices. Using process modeling and analysis tools, it
was easy to identify best processes and practices.
Our challenge then became how to implement the best
practice and the best process in our situation. We
found that however noble the effort, it was literally
impossible to simply replicate the ways of others.
Furthermore, fixing one process often broke another,
thus decreasing overall efficiency and effectiveness.
Expecting technology to be the most important
ingredient in any improvement we learned that training
the people who would be using the new way of working
was, at the least, equal to technology.
Wizdom and other thought leaders have called this
combination of process, technology and people, "High
Tech/High Touch." To read more about this
idea, you can visit the following website:
I happen to prefer "Using things and loving people,"
instead of High Tech/High Touch. This is about letting
machines do work that machines can do better than
In manufacturing settings, machines perform dull, dirty,
drudging, and dangerous tasks. This work must often
be done with such precision or such speed that people
cannot keep up or do safely. You probably can think of
dozens of examples of work that fits at least one of
these categories. Some work, such as mining coal or
fabricating the latest flat screen televisions, fits every
category, as a recent "Fortune Magazine" article
What about Special Education?
Can we make the case for "using things and loving
people" in Special Education? Can machines perform
some Special Education jobs better than people can?
Can computers perform some Special Education tasks,
resulting in improved accuracy, and savings in time and
Consider that the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) has
more than 1000 pages.
Wizdom research shows that people cannot understand
and implement NCLB in a consistent and timely manner.
IDEA is also in the "too hard for people to do" category.
We argue that trying to
do the planning and management of Special Education,
using the same old processes and the same old tools, is
the reason why Special Education overhead costs are
so high. People are trying to do all parts of their jobs
diligently. However, it is impossible to strive for
conformance, compliance and accountability using the
same process model and the same tools as regular
The reason? The Special Education Process is
different. The job can only be done by automating
substantial parts of the process - the very parts that
are dull, dirty, drudging, and dangerous. The parts that
must be done with such precision or such speed that
people cannot keep up. This is what "using things and
loving people" is all about. It is the purpose of Wizdom
-Dennis E. Wisnosky
Founder, Wizdom Education
Contact Dennis Wisnosky »