Teacher says public shouldn’t take business model and view students as products
I read with interest Mr. Glogowski’s letter urging public schools to adopt a business practice to improve efficiency—a methodology called Six Sigma.
He stated, “If the educational system pursued a business-quality standard for education, and achieved the business standard of Six Sigma, they would have just 1 person out of the last 100,000 students to pass through the school system not graduate with a functional high school education. We are not coming anywhere close to that standard.”
He insisted that public schools strive for a “Six Sigma quality education product.”
Curious as to his view of students as “products”, I began to read up on this technique that promised such incredible results. Wikipedia states Six Sigma “… seeks to improve the quality of the output of a process by identifying and removing the causes of defects and minimizing impact variability in manufacturing and business processes.”
I spent most of my professional career as a teacher in Orleans County, and I can say with certitude that I never envisioned my kids as a products that I was stamping out on a production line. Maybe this method was revolutionary for Motorola and General Electric when it was adopted in 1986. “Removing causes of defects”? Some kids have troubling home environments, some come to school hungry, some have learning disabilities, and brains don’t all develop at the same rate.
I don’t think any teacher today who cares about his or her students would seriously equate the classroom experience as some kind of manufacturing process, striving for “defect-free” high school graduates.
We are talking about people—human beings here. Teachers today are doing the best that they can dealing with evolving human intelligences and emotions on a one-to-one basis. A school system where only one student in 100,000 would be “defective”? That kind of thinking defies logic.