Total Quality Education: Profiles of Schools That Demonstrate the Power of Deming's Management Principles

By Michael J. Schmoker; Richard B. Wilson | Go to book overview

APPENDIX

This appendix contains brief descriptions of three school programs that use Deming's basic principles to achieve greater productivity and improvement. They are included to give the reader additional examples of the different kinds of schools that have effectively tailored Deming's principles or some variation of them to their special circumstances.


The Comer School Development Program

This program, developed Dr. James P. Comer, a child psychiatrist at Yale University's Child Study Center, began in 1968 in two elementary schools in New Haven, Connecticut. These two schools served primarily African-American children from low-income families. On the basis of attendance and achievement tests scores, these two schools ranked near the bottom of the city's elementary schools. They ranked 32nd and 33rd. On average students were 18 months below national norms.

By 1986, one of the program's original schools, with no change in its socioeconomic makeup, tied for third place among the city's elementary schools. By the fourth grade, students scored a year above grade level on the Iowa Test of Basis Skills. A more recently established Comer School, Columbia Park Elementary in Prince George's County, Maryland, raised its achievement tests scores from the 35th percentile to the 98th percentile during the period 1986 to 1991.

The same principles that Deming advocates are central to the improvement effort at these schools. The Comer Schools program assumes that change is systemic and depends on all parties involved in a system cooperating and contributing to the improvement effort — a key principle in Deming's philosophy. The program addresses all aspects of the school environment in a systematic and coordinated way, with an emphasis on using every participant's strengths — another key Deming idea. The program calls for an organization and management structure for solving programs — echoing Deming's insistence that problems are

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