With nearly 2 million students not returning to schools and educational institutions after COVID, David and Andrew explore the question "how do we create quality education systems so students are excited to come to school - and stay there?"
0:00:02.8 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 David P. Lanford, who has devoted his life to applying Dr. Deming's philosophy to education. And he offers us his practical advice for implementation. Today's topic is, "Quality is not your problem, it is the answer to your problem." David, take it away.
0:00:30.4 David P. Lanford: [laughter] Thank you, Andrew. It's good to be back again.
0:00:32.6 AS: Great to be with you.
0:00:33.8 DL: So and thinking about this topic, we want to think about what is quality in education and just some of the stats that are coming out in the United States alone, something like 1.3 million students have not returned to the school systems after the pandemic. So.
0:00:56.2 AS: That's unbelievable.
0:00:58.0 DL: The public school systems.
0:01:00.4 AS: Right.
0:01:00.5 DL: And, the stat I heard in the universities is they're down 600,000 students from where they were two years ago before the pandemic. So...
0:01:09.4 AS: So we're talking about almost 2 million students not coming back?
0:01:13.9 DL: That's right. So there's the pandemic caused a lot of systemic shifts. Some of them good, some of them not so good, but it also pointed out a lot of glaring issues that were going on and... In trust in the system, so to speak. And when parents started to find out what was going on with these Zoom meetings online and what a class was like, and the quality of the education and what was going on, many of them just started to make decisions about why should I keep sending my child [laughter] to a school like that if that's what they're gonna do. I was listening to a sports channel just a couple of days ago, and there were just the two guys that were on the channel, discussing sports in the morning. Well, one father was really upset because he said it's the last week or week and a half of school, and all my child is doing is watching movies in almost every class.
0:02:20.4 DL: And granted that it's the end of the school year and they're wrapping up and they're doing things at the end of the school year. But when the kids come home and mom or dad says, "Hey, what did you do at school today?" And they say nothing, which is a very common answer. We tend to think, "Oh, it is just... Oh, they're just kids, they are just kids and just can't remember," etcetera, but that's really not the case. In a lot of cases, there is nothing going on. And so when parents figured out that, okay, I could either do homeschooling. I could send my child to private school. I could go to a charter school, there's a whole lot of the other options there that I can explore and we could actually make this happen.
0:03:15.2 DL: And is that a better experience? Is it a better quality experience? So the topic today about so many schools are not worrying about the quality of what they're doing and they want to start just trying to force parents to get kids back into schools or the same way at the universities, not making a shift in what it is they're doing and just expecting that, oh, well, these students are just gonna come back. But another shift, I think systemically since this is about Deming and education and the system, is that a lot of students during the pandemic didn't go to college and they found out there's some really high paying jobs out there now [chuckle], and you don't need a college degree. And why would I... And since college is attached to debt now, so why would I incur a huge amount of debt and end up with a job that pays less than what I could make if I don't go to college? So that...