Deming’s Principles in Schools

As a long-term follower and advocate of W. Edwards Deming, I recently reviewed “Total Quality Education: Profiles of Schools that Demonstrate the Power of Deming’s Management Principles” by Michael Schmoker and Richard Wilson, published by the Phi Delta Kappa of Bloomington, Indiana.

Here are the approaches that these successful schools have in common based on Deming’s’ ideas.

  1. Purpose: They have a clear, well-defined purpose that centers on academic and intellectual accomplishment. This purpose is vigilantly reiterated and reinforced.
  2. Measurement: They plan carefully and then regularly and relentlessly measure progress for every significant goal. And they use these measurements not to punish but to continually improve the quality of teacher and student performance.
  3. Morale: They maintain high morale by creating a democratic, noncoercive atmosphere that promotes trust and employee commitment.
  4. Teams: They make time for teams to meet regularly to discuss the latest research, share data on progress, and help each other to implement the best methods and improve on them.
  5. Problems: They foster a culture in which employees routinely identify new problems to work on as well as new ideas to improve. And they celebrate their success in addressing these problems.
  6. Training: They continually trust employees in areas where they can most benefit.
  7. Innovation: They recognize employee strengths and expertise by implementing their innovations and suggestions for improvement. They pilot new methods and gather data before instituting them on the large-scale.
  8. Money: They demonstrate that much more can be done with existing resources, although additional funds certainly could accelerate their success. (page 165)