William Glasser, a well-known educator, shares his knowledge with his readers in “The Quality School”. The concepts taught in his book are used throughout the world as guidelines for effective education. Glasser’s ability to relate complex concepts in a manner that makes understanding simplistic adds to his book’s productiveness. Not only does the author give the reader information for daily life, but what he relates concerning the educational system can be applied to school systems past and present, for his material and ideas are not dated.
Glasser describes his perception of a quality school and how teachers should teach within the quality school. Such a school pivots on his most important point that a Quality school system can no longer boss but instead lead, which allows a strong teacher/student relationship that enhances learning. Quality learning takes place within reassuring relationships between the two. According to Glasser there are five pillars of a quality school that stems from his belief in the importance of communication. They are:
1. All students do competent work plus some quality work.
2. No discipline problems.
3. Very high test scores.
4. Elimination of almost all learning disabilities.
5. A joyful atmosphere for students to learn and teachers to teach.
The Quality School hinges on Glasser's previous work with the method of Control Theory. Much like Total Quality Management, a method widely used in business practices, Control Theory incorporates motivation and coercive management theories to motivate those in "lead-management" positions in schools, such as principles and teachers. Glasser focuses on discouraging the "boss-management", a scientific management approach employing fear, coercion, and intimidation in the hierarchy of the school system, and encourages "lead-management" in teachers and principals. Because of district office bureaucratic power struggles, Glasser feels lead- management usually must be initiated at the building level. He sees teachers and principals as leaders who can make a real difference in producing high quality American schools. The solution lies with understanding the nature of management itself. The Quality School asserts that management techniques are the best evidence we can find concerning the factors undermining the theory of motivation. Success relies on systems that are ultimately geared to the production of quality work, and not to the production of statistics based on tests and examinations, which are abominations.
Control theory can be implemented into the curriculum as early as kindergarten with the concept of a Quality World. It is possible for small children to understand the five basic needs and how they relate to making the world a better place. It is necessary to reflect on what quality is when reading Glasser's book. Quality does not result from inspection.