Monday, January 28, 2013

Live Tuesday - Looking at Education Through the Work of W. Edwards Deming

Join me Tuesday, January 29th, for a live and interactive conversation with Gary Obermeyer about the work and philosophy of W. Edwards Deming (see the Wikipedia article on Deming for a good overview).

Deming, who is widely credited with helping to dramatically alter the economy of Japan in the 1950's, argued articulately and with data against the "tyranny of the prevailing style of management" in business, government, and education. His system theory debunked numerical goals, performance-based pay, and the shallow and short-term thinking of "managing by results."

Deming was particularly incensed with the destruction of schools, the ranking of students and teachers, and the inappropriate attribution of problems to those working in the system instead of to the system itself and to the lack of real leadership. "The worker is not the problem. The problem is at the top! Management!"

That's a message we don't hear enough today. Deming was no fly-by-night rabble-rouser, but a highly respected thinker with an incredible arsenal of successful results. So Gary and I will talk about in particular about the difficulties that more thoughtful ideas (truths?) have competing for attention in our "results"-driven education culture today, and what conclusions those who have studied Deming and his ideas might have about education change. We'll also look at Gary's work on virtual communities, and discuss how putting the decision-making about learning as close as possible to the learners can lead to self-organizing schools.

Date: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and an audio mp3 recording is at
Mightybell:  A Mightybell space with interview resources and conversation is at

Gary Obermeyer established Learning Options, in 1986, with a vision of networking innovative educators as a means to transform schools - from a system of factory-style schools to a system of self-organizing schools.

For more than 25 years he has focused his professional energies on networking school-centered change initiatives that engage practitioners in designing, implementing, and learning from their innovative efforts.

The story of how and why he has devoted my career to school transformation is rooted in his own experience as a student in a one-room school (no kidding), as a classroom teacher, and as an elected leader in the National Education Association. 

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