||High Performance Management. Trying to produce a vast improvement in student outcomes solely by setting student performance standards, creating new exams, and urging teachers to adopt a new curriculum and use technology in the classroom would be like General Motors trying to match the performance of Honda and Toyota without changing the way it organizes and manages the corporation. The challenge is to produce enormous improvements in quality and productivity without comparable increases in cost. The best industrial corporations - using techniques that go under the general rubric of 'Total Quality Management' - are assigning to the front-line workers many of the duties and responsibilities that, in the past, they assigned only to managers and top professionals. They are getting rid of as much bureaucracy in the system as possible, changing the roles of management and then managing the whole system for quality and performance.
Our design challenge in this arena is to take the principles of the total quality movement as they have evolved recently in the best American firms and adapt them for use in the education context. To do this, we have assembled a group led by the High Performance Management Project at the National Center on Education and the Economy, joined by the National Alliance of Business and industrial firms that have pioneered Total
Quality Management in the private sector, led by Xerox Corporation.
The National Alliance of Business, with assistance from the National Center on Education and the Economy, is currently engaged in a major project to work with Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipients to adapt quality management techniques to education.
Over the last three years, a team of executives loaned by Xerox to the National Center on Education and the Economy has been working intensively with the Rochester City School District and other districts in New York State to adapt the principles of Leadership Through Quality, Xerox's quality initiative. Over the last year, this work has been expanded to include assistance to the Vermont State Department of Education, the Arkansas State Department of Education and other Alliance Partners. The knowledge gained from this work and the National Alliance of Business project will be distilled into a variety of products that will serve as the basis of a technical assistance program to the schools, districts and states in our consortium.