The Quality Initiative in American Education

Article

Caplan, Frank   (1989, ASQC)   Quality Services Inc., Smithtown, NY

Annual Quality Congress, Toronto, Ontario, Canada    Vol. 43    No. 0
QICID: 3643    May 1989    pp. 694-699
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Article Abstract

Our long-term ability to survive as a nation excercising leadership in world affairs depends on numerous factors. Among the most important of these is continual improvement of our products, services, and government. While much needed improvement in such areas can be obtained through the efforts of dedicated professionals, the climate in which they currently must operate is, in many cases, one of mistrust, misunderstanding, and outright fear (particularly, fear of change and fear that the Quality functionary will achieve political advantage within the organization).

These conditions and fears primarily arise from a virtually complete lack of knowledge of the Quality Sciences on the part of most of our countrymen. This means, for example, that bills which affect our ability to compete on a quality basis are written in the Congress and the state legislatures by people who are unaware of the quality implications of what they are doing. These bills are then reviewed and voted upon by people with a comparable lack of understanding, become law, and are administered in the same vacuum.

It means that most newly-hired employees in business and industry at any level start their jobs with no real knowledge of the quality level they should expect to produce and may generate substandard work for a long time, especially in small companies, before they finally learn what is really required -- if they ever do. It means that schools lose sight of their responsibility for service to their "customers" in the education of the students and waste their resources in unrelated actions.

Basically, what is needed is to incorporate appropriate portions of the subject matter of the Quality Sciences into every course taken by anyone in the United States from Kindergarten through Graduate School. Our entire society needs to become thoroughly at ease in the area of Quality, in all its implications, to be able to compete in the future.

As an approach to achieving this objective, contact has been made with some state and local education agencies, with some of the college associations and accreditation bodies, and with the U.S. Department of Education. This paper provides a status report on those efforts and an indication of accomplishments which may be expected by and in the 1990's.

Keywords

Government,U. S. Department of Education


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