In this episode, John and Andrew discuss what "transformation" means in education. John juxtaposes two reports, conducted a decade apart, that have influenced education for the last 40 years: A Nation at Risk and the Sandia Report.
0:00:02.3 Andrew Stotz: My name is Andrew Stotz, and I'll be your host as we continue our journey into the teachings of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Today, I'm continuing my discussion with John Dues, who is part of the new generation of educators striving to apply Dr. Deming's principles to unleash student joy in learning. The topic for today is, Do we really need to transform our education system? [chuckle] John, take it away.
0:00:26.7 John Dues: Andrew, it's good to be back with you. Yeah, I thought... Sort of as a jumping off point from our other conversations, I remember, I think in our first conversation, you mentioned you graduated from high school, 1983 in Cleveland area, went to a solid...
0:00:44.9 AS: Hudson High.
0:00:45.2 JD: Hudson High, good traditional public school in Northeast Ohio. And your question was, if I went back to the high school 40 years later, would it look and sound the same, would it have gotten better? Would it have gotten worse? What's going on with our schools in United States, I think was the basic question, I think... When I answered you, I said two parts, there's the question about what most people probably focus on when you think about that question about Did a school get better? Did the test scores improve or decline over time? And then there was a secondary question of, Did the school transform along the lines of the Deming philosophy? And I think that those two questions would have different answers depending on which schools you're looking at, but I thought it would be interesting to sort of think about this question, Do we really need to transform our education system through the lens of a couple reports...
0:01:48.5 JD: Education reports, one that's well known in our world, one that's lesser known, that took a look at the... At least the test results question in the education sector, and then build from there this idea of whether or not we need to transform our schools. One thing, there's no shortage of calls to transform or some people would use the word reform our schools, and those two words probably in and of themselves, probably have different applications, but we'll use them interchangeably as we go through that question and attempt to maybe answer that over this episode and maybe a couple additional episodes.
0:02:36.7 AS: I find that fascinating as I observe education around the world from my own experience outside of the US, and I look at the US, and I think about the importance of education, the role of education. There's a part of education that you could say is kind of indoctrination in the way a country educates its youth to be a certain way or to understand things a certain way, so I didn't see that part of education when I was young, but now I see every country's got their indoctrination that they do within their school system, so I see it kind of broadly, but I'm just curious, really take us through what you'd like to explain about that.
0:03:20.4 JD: Yeah, I think the sort of start... I think there's this quote in The New Economics where Dr. Deming says that people are asking for better schools with no clear idea how to improve education, nor even how to define improvement in education, and I think if that's... And he's saying this roughly the same time that these reports are coming out, and if that's true, I think what happens is when reports come out about the state of our education sector, it's pretty easy to get pulled this way and that. When you don't have a clear picture in your mind for what schools should look like or how to improve schools, these reports have large impacts. And so the first report is well known. It came out about the same time you were graduating from high school, in 1983 i