16 January 2016

Misquoting Deming

It turns out that a common argument for expanded school testing is based on a selective quote of the efficiency expert Edward Deming which reverses its meaning:

If challenged, test fans often quote the late Dr. W. Edward Deming, the world-famous quality guru who showed Japanese companies how to build better stuff than anybody else. In his book, “The New Economics,” Deming wrote, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

Here’s the whole sentence as he wrote it: “It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it — a costly myth.”
This full Demings quote is not a surprise.

One of the central conceits of his theories statistical quality control is that testing is a sign of faulty process and faulty product.

Of course accurate quotes do not matter to the educational reform community. Mendacity is at the core of their modus operandi.

The school reform movement is largely driven by two things, the desire to crush teachers' unions, and the desire to turn public tax dollars into private profit.

Truth is not, nor has it ever been, a meaningful part of their process.


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