TQM at Work in Schools

Article excerpt

Profitable companies across America are embracing the philosophy that a quality work system for the '90s requires giving responsibility to more people and inviting them to help managers devise ways to achieve higher productivity, higher efficiency and higher quality. If employees have a sense of ownership, they will work better, harder and more efficiently.

In the early '90s, when the Total Quality Management (TQM) concept emerged, team-building and leadership skills became a priority for workforce training. Strength in these areas is necessary if true quality control programs are to be effective.

Improvement is a perpetual revolution for everyone. Educational facilities are no exception to the challenges of America's workforce. The TQM concept is being instituted at all levels of education.

A prime example of the TQM principles working in schools is the recent restructuring of the Wisconsin Technical College Systems (WTCS) certification committee and code that governs licensing or certification in vocational-technical education.

With the advent of articulation agreements and tech prep programs, obstacles concerning staff certification began to surface. As the WTCS Board began looking at this issue, it was clear that this was only one of many problems in the current code. Perhaps the management mindset of the '80s was not working and it was time to look at the quality leadership style of today's progressive and successful companies.

A task force was formed to examine the issues and set a direction for improvement. The result was a definite step forward for Wisconsin educators.

One of the most notable changes was the addition of a teacher representative to the state certification committee. In the past, decisions regarding certification standards and requirements were made by a team composed largely of managers. Teachers were not involved in determining their own certification requirements, nor were their voices always heard in the debate about professional growth plans required for renewing certification. …