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             The concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) was developed by an American, W. Edwards Deming, after World War II for improving the production quality of goods and services. However, American corporations did not embrace Deming's concepts until the Japanese, who adopted it starting in 1950 to resurrect their postwar business and industry, used it to dominate world markets by 1980. In turn adopting Deming's philosophy, American corporations regained global prominence through the outwardly dichotomous ideas of increasing productivity and quality while cutting costs.
             At the same time, American education systems were ostensibly in a similar crisis, as detailed in the U.S. Department of Education national report "Nation at Risk"(1983). Some 23 million American adults, 13% of all 17-year-olds and 40% of minority youth were deemed functionally illiterate. The College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) declined from 1963 to 1980, with average verbal scores falling over 50 points and average mathematics scores dropping nearly 40 points. Business and military leaders complained recruits could not perform increasingly technical job functions without remedial education. (USDE 1983). It was not at all surprising that TQM was identified as one solution that might translate benefits from the corporate world to education. What has been the result twenty years later?.
             What is Total Quality Management?.
             Total Quality Management has as many names (Total Quality, (TQM), Quality Improvement, Customer Focus, etc.) as it has definitions. In essence, most definitions contain elements of the following as described by Siegel and Byrne (1994): "Total Quality Management is a philosophy and set of principles that uses leadership, quantitative methods, systems thinking and empowerment to continuously improve an organization's capacity to meet current and future customer needs" (p.18). Leadership in the definition means that TQM must be championed from the top down.


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