The subject NYT opinion piece should be a watershed. It starts off with the perfunctory attacks on business practices in education, reformers, market solutions and competition.

But, after aimlessly meandering through the woods, it then remarkably, makes a U-turn and announces that education could learn from the time-tested business strategies of Dr. Deming. Dr. Deming was the quality management guru credited with the mantra “Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.” Better late than never. Research clearly shows the major factors in retention and graduation rates are not financial, SAT scores, or high school grades, but rather the integration of the student into the social and academic life of the institution.

Yes, education is subject to the same human dynamics as other organizations, and it too, can learn the power of creating a culture of excellence to achieve their objectives. Service Excellence is not something to be demonized and avoided by institutions and their faculty, but embraced; it is their competitive advantage.