Book Review

Malcolm and Me: How to Use the Baldrige Process to Improve Your School

By Richard E. Maurer and Sandra Cokeley Pedersen

Reviewed by Charles Rudiger
Professor of Educational Leadership
and Technology,
Dowling College, Oakdale, N.Y.

Richard E. Maurer and Sandra Cokeley Pedersen, two major players in the Pearl River, N.Y., school system’s Baldrige Award recognition, have prepared a compact and readable text on how the district used this process to its significant advantage.

In Malcolm and Me: How to Use the Baldrige Process to Improve Your School, the co-authors use a narrative story line about the district’s mission statement (“Every Child Can and Will Learn”) and its goals to support that vision. The three goals are to improve student performance, project quality principles to the community and its stakeholders, and maintain stability and cost effectiveness.

Maurer, a superintendent, and Pedersen, a community relations director, indicate that the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award process can be used in any education organization, whether a university, public system or private school or a department within a college.

They point to the success of the process generally, noting that the 55 companies earning Baldrige awards since 1988 have geometrically outperformed the S&P 500 stock market index. The Pearl River schools, the authors contend, have experienced across-the-board improvement in academic performance, a high degree of community support and an increase in “market share”—the percentage of students returning from private schools to the public system.

The Baldrige Award, named after the late U.S. secretary of commerce, is based on the principles of Six Sigma, ISO9000 and W. Edwards Deming’s concept of continuous improvement. To date, there have been five awardees in the education category.

(Malcolm and Me: How to Use the Baldrige Process to Improve Your School by Richard E. Maurer and Sandra Cokeley Pedersen, ScarecrowEducation, Lanham, Md., 2003, 88 pp., $17.95 softcover. Log on to www.aasa.org to order. AASA members receive a 20 percent discount on Scarecrow titles.)