Deming in Education
Our schools must preserve and nurture the yearning for learning that everyone is born with.
Joy in learning comes not so much from what is learned, but from learning.
W. Edwards Deming
Dr. Deming believed in a system of education in which students have fun and take joy in learning, and teachers take joy in their work. A system of education that recognizes that each student learns and interacts with the world in his own way. While much of our nation has moved toward standardized testing and emphasizing rewards and punishments as incentives to learn, we believe in a different way - a way that helps students to thrive and grow and nurtures their natural curiosity and desire to create and innovate.
Educators have become wary of people who want to apply business approaches to improve education. They have experienced 15+ years of federally led policies such as No Child Left Behind Act (2002) and Race to the Top (2009) which tied financial incentives to school improvement. During this period, they have seen approaches like performance-based pay and bonuses fail. An over-emphasis on testing and implementing standards has consumed students’ precious classroom time without really affirming whether students are learning how to think. Teachers are leaving the profession because their expertise and creativity are not being respected.
Amidst these challenges the Deming philosophy prepares educators to create high-quality, dynamic learning environments. It gives them a map of theory to better understand their own organization to be more efficient and more productive. In education, we strive to create joy in learning—in students, and in our staff and parents—because when we do, achievement follows. Behavior problems tend to resolve or disappear, test scores go up, more students stay in school, and more teachers stay in teaching.
The Deming method is unique in its approach, which teaches educators to:
- Apply systems thinking
- Understand the psychology of learners
- Implement Deming theory within a system
- Manage variation
The Deming method reflects an inherent respect for the frontline people actually performing the work, believing they have the best solutions to improve. Deming’s insights into management, quality and productivity provide a pathway for transformation in the education system - one that cultivates a student’s innate curiosity and motivation. Educational systems will be transformed by creating learning environments that liberate fear and spark passion in students and teachers. This environment creates vibrant long-term learning experiences, improved performance and a system where the students ”…come out of the school with knowledge in their heads, not merely information.”
While much of our nation has moved toward standardized testing and emphasizing rewards and punishments as incentives to learn, we believe in a different way - a way that helps students to thrive and grow and nurtures their natural curiosity and desire to create and innovate. We will restore joy and motivation in learning and create high levels of student achievement. The end goal? To teach students how to think—not what to think, which is inherently a 21st century skill.