Baldrige in Education

Superintendent’s method used by Boeing, Motorola [the broken link was removed] by Helen Gao

The three M’s – managing for innovation, management by fact and market focus – are unfamiliar phrases to most people in the educational establishment. But don’t be surprised if, in the coming months, leaders of the San Diego Unified School District start spouting corporate-speak. Management principles long embraced by companies seeking a competitive edge are making inroads in the public school system, as Superintendent Carl Cohn pushes the district toward “Becoming America’s best.”

When the training was over, one question on employees’ minds was: “Will the district follow through with Baldrige?” After all, other improvement efforts had come and gone.

Good question. I think the Baldrige criteria can help, but it is not the most effective strategy (it is too often just a surface attempt to apply some “tools” without real change). I believe improvement methods, strategies and tools can work for education but the education area has special factors to consider. I suggest the following resources: David Langford, Alfie Kohnbooks and articles by Kohn, Applying Lean Tools to University Courses, Ivan Webb’s School Improvement website [the broken link was removed], books on education improvement, k-12 education improvement links, Jenks Public Schools – 2005 Baldrige Award [the broken link was removed] – UW- Madison Office of Quality Improvement, Improving Engineering Education

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