chapter  18
On the road to quality
ByLewis A. Rhodes
Pages 4

I was halfway out the door heading home when the office phone rang. ‘You don’t know me’, the voice said. ‘I’m a middle school civics teacher in Sioux City. I read your Deming articles’, he continued, ‘and I want you to know that for me Deming is the last great leader of the Enlightenment…. He’s provided the final, and missing, element of natural law.’ Normally a comment like that would have surprised me. But this was one more of a series of unanticipated reactions evoked by an article I had written six months earlier about the acknowledged founder of the quality movement, W.Edwards Deming (Rhodes 1990). What was going on? For example, ‘For an administrator who just “hung it up” after twenty-nine years of trying to influence public education, I found Deming’s words heartening.’ The most frequent reaction, however, was ‘I thought I was the only one who saw possibilities for schools!’