Volume 5 Number 7
IN THIS ISSUE:
2. Promoting Responsibility
3. Increasing Effectiveness
4. Improving Relationships
5. Promoting Learning
6. Implementing The Raise Responsibility System:
How Your School Can Implement the System
Your Questions Answered
Free Mailring/User Group
Impulse Management Posters and Cards
A Comment about the RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
This month’s newsletter is
originating in Dublin, Ireland,
where I had the pleasure of presenting at the European
Conference of the William Glasser Institute of Ireland and
celebrating the 80th anniversary of Bill’s birth.
In the epilogue of my book, I quote the comic character
Dagwood Bumstead when I refer to using a business model for
education. His quote: “You know that makes a lot of sense if
you don’t think about it.”
The United States is operating under a federal “mandate”
entitled, “No Child Left Behind.” The essence of the
legislation is to blame schools for their poor performance
and uses a negative approach with schools that do not meet
the mandate’s requirements. Rather than going into the
details of why the legislation is doomed to inevitable
collapse, I share with you the famous “Red Bead Experiment”
used by W. Edwards Deming. This management guru was the man
who introduced quality in the workplace.
To give you an indication of Dr. Deming’s approach, ask
yourself if you own any product manufactured by a Japanese
company. If you were to choose one adjective that indicates
why you do, the word, “quality,” immediately pops up. Some
may remember how Japanese products were labeled before World
War II. Adjectives such as “cheap” and “shoddy” were apt
describers. Today, the highest award given in Japanese
manufacturing is the Deming Award. A fundamental approach of
Deming was to EMPOWER those involved in any endeavor.
The lack of empowerment and the negative “consequences
if a school doesn’t ‘measure up'”–are two fundamental
defects in the federal legislation.
Dr. Deming used a little experiment to show how the system
itself–rather than the people working within it–was the
major cause of problems. Here is how Deming conducted his
experiment to make his point in his seminars.
Ten attendees are picked and assigned jobs by Deming. Six
are what he called “willing workers,” one was a chief
inspector, two were regular inspectors, and one was a
Deming explained that the company had received orders to
make white beads. Unfortunately, the raw materials used in
production contain a certain number of defects–or “red
Both the white and red beads were in a plastic container.
The six willing workers were given a paddle with 50
indentations in it and were told to dip the paddle into the
container, shake it, and pull it out with each indentation
filled with a bead. Then the workers were instructed to take
the paddle to the first inspector, who counted the red
beads, or “defects.” The second inspector did the same, and
the chief inspector checked their tally, which the recorder
A worker who drew out a paddle with 15 red beads received a
In the next round, the worker who had six red beads drew out
eight, and the worker with 15 drew out 10 .
Deming played the role of the misguided manager and thought
he understood what had happened. The worker who received the
merit raise was getting sloppy; the raise went to his head.
Meanwhile, the worker on probation had been frightened into
And so it continued–a cycle of reward and punishment in
which management failed to understand that defects are built
into the system and that workers have very little to do
No one suggests that the public school system has no room
for improvement or that schools should not be accountable.
But, as Dr. Deming would point out, the system (read
legislation) would be much more successful if it were to
take a POSITIVE approach of EMPOWERING–rather than its
current negative approach of engendering a climate where
superior teachers are leaving education and third grade
students are developing anxiety attacks.
2. PROMOTING RESPONSIBILITY
Schools use detention in an attempt to promote responsible
behavior. The premise is that punishment redirects
irresponsibility. (I wish I would think that the rationale
is not for retribution.)
When giving public seminars, I would often ask how many of
the attendees were in schools that had detention. Most
attendees raised their hands. I then asked how many found
that very often the same students were serving detention.
Inevitably, the same hands were again raised. I then would
comment, “Doesn’t that say something about the
ineffectiveness of detention?”
Perhaps the best paragraph I have read on the issue is from
LouAnne Johnson in her book, “The Queen of Education.”
Using detention as a catchall cure for student
misbehaviors is like using one medicine for every
physical ailment. We would not expect a single
prescription medication to cure a cold, flu, broken
bone, ulcer, headache, heart attack, and cancer–
yet we expect one punishment to address tardiness,
aggression, bullying, emotional illness, inattention,
fear, anger, laziness, excessive talking, defiance,
childness exuberance, alcoholism, daydreaming,
forgetfulness, profanity, truancy, immaturity, drug
abuse, cheating, lying, stealing, and extortion among
schoolchildren. (page 65)
I believe that one can say with great confidence that
detention does not serve its intended purpose. Implementing
“Guided Choices”–the third phase of the Raise
Responsibility System–by ELICITING a procedure or
consequence from young people to help themselves become more
responsible is such a simple and common sense approach that
one wonders why, in the 21st century, schools are still
resorting to such counterproductive approaches as detention.
3. INCREASING EFFECTIVENESS
A poster I had in my classroom:
“I would rather try and fail than not try and succeed.”
If you instill the PERCEPTION THAT SUCCESS IS ATTAINABLE,
people will try. If they do not believe success is possible,
regardless of how easy the task or how smart the person, the
goal will not be attained.
One of the most enduring comments people say about others
who have influenced their lives is, “He/she believed in me.
4. IMPROVING RELATIONSHIPS
It is a hard fact but a true one: We can outgrow friendships
just like we outgrow shoes. Understanding this concept can
significantly help young people who have a strong desire to
want to be like others and want to feel that they are their
friend’s “best friend.” It is often “painful” for a young
person to see their “best friend” associate more with
others than with themselves.
Some good advise for young people (and for older ones, too)
is to find new interests, make new friends, and find fun
things to do. By being your own best friend, you will always
have one friend you can rely on. Learning to like
yourself–HAVING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF–is one
of the most important bits of wisdom anyone can learn.
5. PROMOTING LEARNING
In the following article I refer to the idea that most
things in life are understood in their context. The
following statement may help make my point–and offers
examples showing that English is not the easiest second
language to learn.
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it
was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend
6. Implementing the RAISE
How a school can conduct its own in-house staff development
is described at
Details for implementation are described on the next link at
Topics include differences between classroom management and
discipline, three principles to practice, the three parts of
the RRSystem, and how the RRSystem can be used to
raise academic achievement.
“Building Classroom Discipline” by C.M.Charles is perhaps
the most widely used college text in courses preparing
prospective teachers for necessary classroom skills. The
RRSystem was included in the 8th edition published this
year. The following comment appears on pages 106-107:
“Marshall’s Raise Responsibility System has major
strengths beyond those found in other systems of
discipline. It makes sense and rings true for teachers.
It focuses on developing responsibility, an enduring
quality that remains useful throughout life. It removes
the stress that students and teachers normally
experience in discipline. It is easy to teach, apply,
and live by. It is long-lasting because it leads to
changes in personality. Educators find these strengths
especially compelling, hence, the surge of interest in
In preparation for the 9th edition, Dr. Charles contacted me
for any changes I would like to make. In my remarks
clarifying the RRSystem, I included the following–appended
to Dr. Charles’ remarks:
Marshall notes two commonly raised questions and one
technical question that are appropriate at this point:
(1) Although some teachers initially think that students
will get confused with D, B, C, A levels since many
schools use A, B, C, and D for grading, that this
reversal will confuse students. Experience has shown that
even very young students understand the context of levels
of social development and are not confused because grades
use the same letters. He notes that context determines
meaning, such as when to use “to, “two,” or “too.”
(2) As the term, “discipline,” seems harsh to some, so
some people initially resist the vocabulary terms of
“anarchy” and “bullying.” However, students have no
difficulty with these terms nor do parents when the
entire Raise Responsibility System is explained to them.
3) The technical question: On a rare occasion someone
will state that anarchy is the highest form of
government, not the lowest. Without realizing it, the
person is referring to “anarchism,” not anarchy. Anarchy
means chaos, lack of order, and without rule (a = lack
of, archy = rule). Anarchism is a theory that all forms
of government interfere unjustly with individual liberty
and should be replaced by the voluntary association of
Marshall makes clear that the hierarchy does not teach
either anarchy or bullying–quite the contrary. The
hierarchy explains that when anarchy and chaos exist,
someone or some group will take control and make the
rules for all others.
He contends that this is how societies operated before
1776 when the American Declaration of Independence
articulated a new world view, viz., “We hold these truths
to be self-evident . . . . That to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men, deriving their just
powers FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.” Before this
concept became operational and spread around the world
after the American Revolution and the creation of the
United States of America, societies were granted their
rights from the person who held power.
This is the concept behind level B. Once parents
understand that anarchy and bossing/bullying/bothering
levels are unacceptable, they become supporters and
particularly appreciate teaching the differences between
external and internal motivation, levels C and D,
Marshall used the following letter when he developed and
used the system as a classroom teacher:
Dear Parent(s) or Guardian(s):
Our classroom houses a small society. Each student is a
citizen who acts in accordance with expected standards
With this in mind, rewards are not given for expected
behavior–just as society does not give rewards for
behaving properly. Also, irresponsible behavior is
seen as an opportunity for growth, rather than for
Our approach encourages students to exercise
self-discipline through reflection and self-evaluation.
Students learn to control their own behavior, rather
than always relying on the teacher for control.
We want our classroom to be encouraging and conducive
to learning at all times. In this way, young people
develop positive attitudes and behavioral skills that
are so necessary for successful lives.
You can post questions and learn more about the system at
the free user group (mailring support) at:
IMPULSE MANAGEMENT POSTERS and CARDS
Learning a procedure for responding appropriately
to impulses is described on the Impulse Management link at
A Comment about THE RAISE RESPONSIBILITY SYSTEM
“I am so pleased with the program because children take
responsibility for themselves. I returned to public
education this year and was horrified by the stickers,
tickets, etc. that most teachers were using. It’s demeaning
Megan Fettig, Pre-kindergarten Teacher Austin Independent
School District, Austin, Texas