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Popular Business Performance Excellence Guide Now Available For Education Organizations

Criteria designed to help education organizations improve their services and overall performance are available now from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The criteria are based on the performance excellence criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, managed by NIST in conjunction with the private sector.

"Our greatest challenge to improve education is to insist upon accountability in exchange for the provision of sufficient human and fiscal resources to carry out our missions. The Baldrige Quality Award provides a framework for all educational organizations to demonstrate accountability," said Arnold R. Weber, chancellor, Northwestern University, and a member of the board of directors, Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Foundation.

"The criteria will help education organizations improve performance and will facilitate communication and sharing of best practices, said Harry Hertz, director of the Baldrige Award program at NIST. "The Baldrige performance excellence criteria broadly define the practices that any organization, not just business, need to achieve excellence," said Hertz. "They focus on all aspects of organizational performance, not just on the methods that an organization should use to seek improved results," he said.

Currently, the Baldrige Award is open only to for-profit businesses. President Clinton’s fiscal year 1999 budget proposal includes $2.3 million for new award categories for non-profit education and healthcare organizations. These organizations will be able to apply next year for the award if this funding is approved. In May 1997, the private Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award announced a $15 million fund drive to raise an endowment to help establish an award program for these two sectors, provided federal funding also is available for support.

In 1995, NIST conducted a successful pilot award program to determine the interest and readiness of education organizations to participate in a Baldrige Award program. Nineteen education organizations submitted applications for the pilot. Lessons learned by the participants included the importance of well-defined measures of progress and the importance of partnering with all stakeholders, including parents, boards of education, students and the community. In conjunction with the pilot, NIST distributed over 15,000 copies of education performance excellence criteria modeled after the criteria for the business award. Since then, federal funding has not been available to continue the pilots or to establish award categories.

NIST developed the current performance excellence criteria for education organizations with funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Baldrige quality program was established by Congress in 1987; the first awards were presented in 1988. The award program’s goals have been to enhance U.S. competitiveness by promoting quality awareness, recognizing quality and business achievements of U.S. companies and publicizing these companies’ successful performance strategies.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. NIST was selected by Congress to design and manage the award program because of its role in helping U.S. companies compete, its world-renowned expertise in quality control and assurance, and its reputation as an impartial third party.

Single copies of the education criteria are available free of charge from NIST by phone, (301) 975-2036, or fax, (301) 948-3716.

NOTE TO EDITORS: To contact Arnold Weber, chancellor, Northwestern University, and a member of the Baldrige Award Foundation’s board of directors, call (312) 853-1230.

Released February 9, 1998, Updated November 27, 2017