PACT LA - Positive Alternative Choices Today

empowering BIG people to inspire little people (10-15) through work and learning

Four How-to-Learn Demonstrations Proposed

Fostering underserved 10-15 year olds’ “learning how to learn” is the mission of PACT’s Lifetime Education Empowerment Program (LEEP). Together with PACT’s “learning by doing” Work Ethic (WE) program, disadvantaged youngsters transcend the circumstances they were born to. (WE LEEP!)

LEEP’s focus is on rescuing truly learning-blocked students from dropping out of our once vaunted public education system. Since 1983, America has been assessed, in world comparison terms, as falling behind.

Here we explain PACT’s proposed nationally significant demonstrations to DOCUMENT education psychology SOI, Inc’s in-school, after school BESP/IPP “learning how to learn” procedures.

This is offered to overcome how America’s public education system is failing learning-blocked, truly stymied students, that aren't reachable through the otherwise good work of Special Education classes for slow learners' capacities.

AMERICA'S PROMISE - The Alliance for Youth, founded in 1997 by four U.S. presidents and Nancy Reagan, General Colin Powell, founding Chairman, in 2010 established its GradNation Campaign to cut America's dropout rate to 10% by 2020. (In some inner city low-income neighborhoods the dropout rate is over 20%.)

PACT, through SOI, Inc.'s BESP/IPP procedures, focuses on something basic: improving the quality of the students. Struggling students can succeed by learning how to learn.

“A Nation at Risk”

That is the prescient title of the 1983 U.S. Department of Education 19-month research report, warning that the United States would lose its competitive advantage in the world, as we move into the technological/scientific era, unless we reformed our public education.
(See also “Nation at Risk” in the Contact Us section)

In 1992, to cure America’s failing public education, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, which federally mandated, nationwide, the subject matter to be taught in each public school, and, exactly how that learning was to be tested.

Always controversial, and with limited successes, Congress terminated the Act in late 2015 with the act Every Student Succeeds. The definition and implementation of America’s public education has since been returned to each state to determine and effect with emphasis on voucher-supported education in Charter and Private schools.

As of today, America’s public education ranks 10th in the industrialized world.

In Los Angeles, whether it’s true that 60% of Latino students drop out (RAND, Inc.), or that former Mayor Villaraigosa’s 50% is correct, either is horrendous. The official Los Angeles overall dropout rate is 25%. (Nationwide, until recently, with nonprofict America's Promise leadership, 18% of all students fail high school.) Charter schools and vouchers, permitting students to transfer from weak to stronger schools to improve their education, have yet to prove they are the needed answer to public education reform.

Globally, America has lost its once competitive role in public education and has lost its world premier role in upward mobility.


  1. America ranks 28th out of 38 leading economies in the preschool education of four year olds (OECD)
  2. America’s test score differential between rich and poor children has increased 30-40% from what it was 25 years ago (The Economist)
  3. Elementary school truancy runs as high as 25% in California (California Attorney General)
  4. America’s school days and hours are shorter than many other countries

The result is a high proportion of 7th graders unprepared to complete high school.

Every year for decades, without achieving the intended results, school systems all across the country–by federal decree–devoted resources to educational programs that focus on improving the quality of the curriculum or improving the quality of the teachers. PACT, through SOI, Inc.’s BESP/IPP procedures, focuses on something much more basic: improving the quality of the students.

Page from SOIP workbook
Pages from an SOI, Inc. thinking assessment–not at all like the No Child Left Behind multiple choice,right or wrong test questions.

SOI, as applied to learning, was inspired when Mary Meeker, working on her Ph.D, asked her mentor Prof. Guilford if psychological factor analysis, which he had recommended to the Federal government at the beginning of WWII, cutting the washout rate of pilot trainees from 35 to 5%, could be applied to education. His reply “Why not?” led to her formulation of SOI, Inc.’s decades-long evaluations of student competence in 26 different learning capabilities.

SOI, Inc., the education psychology corporation, was derived by Mary from the over 100-element Structure of Intellect studies of USC professor J.P. Guilford. (She identified 26 of his elements as basic learning capabilities that could be quantified, and went on to found SOI, Inc. with her computer programmer husband, Robert, consulting with 33 state departments of education, before she passed in 2003.)

Psychological factor analysis has since been widely applied by scientists, corporations and governments to screen individuals for particular capabilities. But it is only now, through Rovert Meeker, that PACT proposes to demonstrate and DOCUMENT how SOI's focused BESP/IPP program can rescue "D" & "F" failing seventh graders, by combining individually implemented psychological facotr analysis with individually mentored interactive computer subject matter. Learning how to learn, so rescued students can catch up and graduate.

SOI's current individually focused BESP/IPP goes well beyond PACT's two previous classroom testings of failing 7th graders, followed by individual tutoring.

PACT’s Experience with SOI, Inc.

In 2007, with partial funding from the Del Rey Neighborhood Council, and the assistance of Marina del Rey Middle School counselors, PACT launched an SOI, Inc.learning capabilities test managed by PACT’s long-planned Lifetime Education Empowerment Program (LEEP); repeated in 2008-09 with Mark Twain Middle School. Each began with SOI’s three-hour, timed-in-segments assessment of student’s math, reading and thinking processes. Each student’s performance in 26 learning capabilities was determined, then ranked on national norms, with indicated career choices.

SOI diagram

Each struggling 7th grader was in for self-discovery and an enhancement of learning capabilities; a constructive “all about ME!” experience like nothing before. Having committed to the timed, 3-hour pre- and post-assessment; having puzzled his/her way through the personal 140-page workbook self-generated from the test, each student, with a mentor’s help, learned about learning. It was like riding a bike: once learned, never forgotten. All guided and personally reinforced by a mentor.

PACT’s original SOI/LEEP program test is intended to bring about a student’s conscious awareness of how to work through the academic subjects essential for graduation from high school.

Taking Test

PACT’s Nationally Significant Demonstrations of BESP/IPP

This school term, PACT proposes to demonstrate and DOCUMENT SOI, Inc.’s innovative BESP/IPP (Basic Education for Social Participation/Integrated Practice Protocols) program. There will be two classes of ten struggling 7th graders, in school after school. (Though requiring at least a 6th grade reading competence, these will be students identified by school counselors as unlikely to complete high school, headed towards a life of poverty or crime.)

In each city, BESP will be offered in school, after school, with parental permission, to two classes of ten struggling 7th graders, each class meeting for two hours: one on Monday/ Wednesday, the other Tuesday/Thursday. Each student will proceed at his/her own pace, half time on the computer, half time on the workbook, with two full-time mentors for as much of the school year as it takes.

Whether on the computer or the workbook, each student must complete each learning module in sequence before proceeding to the next one. In each two-hour session they will work through learning modules of all four components of BESP:

  • basic perceptual and intellectual skills for learning
  • reading and comprehensive skills
  • math competence and skills for schooling and employment
  • understanding of social structures in historical context

Whether on the computer or the workbook, when a student gets “stuck,” simply cannot proceed from one learning module to the next as required, despite facilitator help, he or she leaves the learning room to engage in perception and cognition exercises as well as psychological factor analysis led by the instructor in the Integrated Practice Protocol (IPP) Lab. It has been SOI’s experience that 90% of the students with learning blocks are cleared within 80 hours IPP practice.

Once a student’s learning block is cleared, they return to the Learning Room to proceed, at their own pace, to complete BESP where they acquire sufficient learning for them to rejoin their peers in regular classrooms, and graduate.

Documenting the breakthrough

A cogent evaluation of BESP/IPP—while well short of a massive statistical analysis, even with a sample of 20 struggling 7th graders—has value, when its potential to cure one of America’s public education failures is demonstrated and DOCUMENTED.

Schools throughout the United States, especially those in low-income neighborhoods, are today failing to educate all students, but there is probably little belief that, all of a sudden, children’s brains aren’t what they used to be.

Today there is a teacher at the front of a crowded classroom broadcasting knowledge. One-third of the students “get it,” one third are “catching up,” one third are “struggling” or don’t know why they’re in the room. If their learning is blocked, they are not prepared to learn. They are the focus of BESP/IPP.

Today that struggling third is either “fast tracked,” allowed to stay with their class, which slows down the learning for the rest, or they can be shipped off to a Special Education classroom, which does what it can that passes for learning.

For those students assigned to this test of BESP/IPP, extensive data on each student, home circumstances, ongoing school day classroom performance during BESP/IPP must be collected daily, weekly and monthly and systematically recorded to document how and on what a student got “stuck,” as well as when and how that block was cleared. Specifically:

  • the initial home environment, parents’ observations
  • their regular teachers’ learning and demeanor observations
  • progress on each of the four learning components
  • stage when and on what the student gets “stuck”
  • IPP identification of the learning block and the time and steps it took to clear
  • time to complete BESP/IPP

We expect and believe that success with this test of BESP/IPP will lead to the generation of widespread testing and the building of a thorough statistical analysis, as required for wide acceptance and application.

BESP Specifics Basic Essentials for Social Participation

the precursor of BESP/IPP PACT’s nationally significant demonstration with struggling 7th graders

The express purpose of BESP/IPP is to identify and overcome the learning impediments of struggling students, reinforcing what they learn by transforming how they learn. BESP exercises are designed to convey essential language, math and civics subject matter so they can catch up to their peers and graduate. (The program requires sixth-grade learning skills, but beyond that makes few assumptions about the student’s repertoire of concepts and knowledge.)

BESP Students will engage in:

  • identifying weaknesses in abilities with mentored help
  • learning to progress independently
  • learning computer skills and mastery of curriculum concepts in math, language, civics

Objectives Standing alone, students will:

  • receive a foundation for success in core curriculum
  • increase their visual, auditory and intellectual abilities
  • enhance communication, critical thinking and processing skills
  • realize new focus and self-motivation

Initial Activities:

  • components of BESP are explained and why they are different from regular classroom curriculum - BESP is explicitly structured, self-paced mentoring
  • students most difficult subjects are discussed and how BESP will make a difference
  • BESP computer programs demonstrated
  • BESP workbook demonstrated

The BESP program is designed for students who have not been successful academically. It will give these students a foundation for success in the core skills of secondary education – math, language, and civics. BESP requires sixth-grade reading skills, but beyond that it makes few assumptions about the student’s repertoire of concepts and knowledge.

Within each two-hour class period in school, after school, twice a week, each student, proceeding at their own pace, will work through all four basic learning modules, half time on the computer, half time on the workbook. Truly, BESP is explicitly structured mentoring.

BESP Learning Modules

Learning Prep

This is the most basic component – insuring that the student has the necessary perceptual and intellectual abilities for learning.

Language Prep

This component insures that the student has the necessary reading and composition skills for social participation.

Math Prep

This component insures that the student has the necessary math concepts and skills for schooling and employment.

Civics Prep

This component insures that the student has the necessary understanding of societal structures in historical contexts.

BESP monitors each student’s progress daily, weekly and monthly, advises on any learning problems–and refers them to the IPP Lab as needed to clear learning blocks.

IPP Specifics Integrated Practice Protocol

perception before content, to assess and clear learning blocks through psychological factor analysis

Whereas school systems all over the country–federally mandated–devoted resources to improving the quality of the curriculum and to improving the quality of the teachers, SOI, Inc. programs, especially BESP/IPP, focus on something much more important, improving the quality of students. ALL students.

Are they able to think? Are they prepared to learn? Can their ability to learn be improved?

IPP assesses, profiles and develops cognition and perception – the abilities and skills that are essential to the classroom – enabling learners to become quality students.

Intelligence is not fixed at birth. Multiple intelligences can be developed. A student’s “teachability” can be nurtured at any age. SOI, Inc. was founded on the fact that the brain is the cornerstone of education.

“D” students – even “B” students – very often have the desire to succeed that exceeds their ability to learn. They may be strong in some areas, but weak in others. They may have 20/20 eyesight, but can’t read left to right or compute right to left, They may work well with supervision, but have trouble working independently.

IPP works to improve attention span, memory, comparison/contrast thinking, eye-hand coordination, systems reasoning and other skills essential to the learning process, helping students perform better in school and in life.

When a BESP student gets "stuck" (is identified as having academic or behavioral difficulties), they are referred to the IPP Lab.

In the IPP lab a trained paraprofessional supervises the cognitive, psychomotor and physical exercises to assess 26 cognitive abilities and 11 perceptual skills including attention, memory, verbal comprehension, visual sequencing, and auditory sequencing.

Utilizing IPP’s computer program, that SOI have developed over decades, each struggling student’s test scores are evaluated, to determine what needs to be improved, and a profile constructed of their skills and abilities, a specific program of learning exercises created to clear their learning block.

Assessment, Diagnosis, Prescription, Cure

The IPP tests assess and help develop 26 cognitive abilities

Carefully structured and sequenced exercises build one aptitude at a time. Perceptual skills are strengthened through a series of physical activities that repetitively build the neural bridges necessary to achieve control of mind over body. These procedures literally improve attention, memory, rule-following, concept formation, context comprehension, process orientation and the student’s other learning skills.

Student’s academic performance dramatically improves. They connect with the learning process, and increase their capacity to remember and apply information. Having completed the IPP program they are ready to return to the BESP classroom environment.

SOI, Inc., over the years, claims 90% success with IPP for struggling students, within 80 hours. PACT proposes four nationally significant demonstrations to provide rigorous DOCUMENTATION of that claim.

When students connect to learning everybody wins!

The power of learning is awe-inspiring. When it happens, student achievement, self-esteem, and satisfaction are nurtured. Teachers are fulfilled. Their students achieve higher test scores, pay more attention, are better behaved. Schools are transformed. Discipline referrals go down. The entire climate for learning and teaching dramatically improves. The school district enjoys increased academic performance and reduced demands for special programs. Parents are proud.

BESP/IPP Budget Specifics

for 20 failing 7th graders / 10 per class, each mentored after school Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Internet access, Mac and PC computers needed per classroom.)

BESP- (Basic Essentials for Social Participation)

Four learning modules: (perception, reading, math, society), 1/2 time on the computer, 1/2 time on the workbook - explicitly structured and mentored. (Program length determined by student progress and participation - approximately 6-9 months.)

When the BESP student gets "stuck", they go to the IPP lab.

IPP - (Integrated Practice Protocols) - psychological factor analysis: all manner of physical and mental exercises, then computer program diagnosis and prescription, followed by remedial exercises to clear learning blocks. (Program length determined by student's screening needs. Each student is different, but most programs are between 4-9 months.)

SOI, Inc. Fees (per year)

BESP -program yearly fee $2000  
IPP - program yearly fee

BESP trainer (2 days)
IPP trainer (3 days)

BESP/IPP trainer travel (est)


SOI, Inc. Supplies (per school)

BESP Student Modules: language/civics (2 books per student @ $50 each) $1000  
BESP Teacher Answer Key Book 30  
IPP senses kit & supplies 1000  
IPP student workbooks (30 Print modules) 1340  

SOI, Inc. Fees (per year)

1 principal investigator (over 40 weeks-as needed) $9000  
4 mentors (2 for Mon-Wed, 2 for Tues-Thur) -3-5pm for 40 weeks-each 16 hours @ $15/hr. 9600  

IPP coach 40 weeks @ 8 hrs/wk @ $20/hr

refreshments, 160 sessions @ $20/session 3200  
contingency 1800  

For further information on how you and PACT can help underserved, 10-15 year olds, see our You Can Help section.