Magazine article Risk Management

Quality in the Classroom

Magazine article Risk Management

Quality in the Classroom

Article excerpt

"They just postponed the high school graduation competency testing for four years," I heard Shelley say. Shelley is a quality assurance specialist who has two boys in school. Our local school system had previously required seniors to pass a competency exam before they could be released into the world. Apparently, the schools are putting off the testing because students are unable to pass.

Hmmm. This must be an example of the new PDPQ principle that Shelley had shown me in Quality Progress. This American Society for Quality flagship publication pokes fun at its own membership in a comic strip called "Mr. Pareto Head." In a recent issue, the Plan Do Check Act quality process used by quality professionals all over the world is replaced with Plan Do Pray Quit. Someone at the school district must have seen that same strip and found a practical application for it.

Shelley and I continued talking about the lack of quality in schools, and I thought about what happened in my own class. Yes, I am back in school. I recently hit a milestone birthday and was minding my own business at work one day when in walked self-actualization. It briefly wrestled with that even higher hierarchical need that Maslow never spoke of--reality. Bad news: self-actualization won out. The next thing I knew, I was back in school for my masters. I knew it might be a challenge, but now I am not sure I will survive the culture shock.

Take the other night, for instance. "Sorry, but I had to dog sit," a fellow student said as she strolled into class late. I wondered if the professor would buy this excuse for her tardiness. No reaction. Then imagine my response when I looked back to the doorway and saw her excuse tagging along behind her ... was that a Pekinese!? Wowzer! This was a first for me. There was a dog in my class and I did not even have to register for Canine 101.

I looked at the other students for a reaction. Nothing. Was I the only one in class' wondering why the "student" next to me was a dog? "He has an abscessed tooth," the dog owner said, as if that qualified the dog for attendance. What has happened to quality in the classroom? When did things start to deteriorate?

I flashed back in time to when my younger son was in the fourth grade. He came into the house saying that he had to be at his friend's house by eleven o'clock that morning. …

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