ERIC Number: ED387922
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Oct
Total Quality Management: The Emperor's Tailor.
Alexander, Gary C.; Keeler, Carolyn M.
Conversations among educators, business leaders, legislators, and educational reformers have generated support for the application of Total Quality Management (TQM) to education. This paper considers whether TQM is indeed the solution to education's problems. After a brief explanation of TQM theory, the paper is organized around four broad issues related to the TQM model--the application of a business model to schools, the culture of language, the use of the metaphor of school as factory, and the implicit role of administrators in the TQM approach. The paper argues that TQM is yet another management model imposed on schools as the "one right way" to achieve educational reform. The dangers of using language that narrowly defines teachers as managers and students as workers are discussed. It is suggested that educators use a metaphor based on education rather than on business, and develop a culture of caring within schools rather than the climate of the factory. Administrators should be viewed as stewards practicing moral leadership rather than as management. TQM, on the other hand, promotes a metaphor based on factory organization and structure, the language of business, and corporate-leadership authority to restructure education. The appendix contains a list of W. Edwards Deming's 14 principles. (Contains 84 references.) (LMI)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A