Saturday, October 16, 2010

"All Systems Go" - All Means All

I just finished reading an interesting book called "All Systems Go: The Change Imperative for Whole System Reform" by Michael Fullan. I agree with the book’s point of view and the evidence cited for the reasons we have not been able to enact a whole system reform of K-12 public education.

Nova Southeastern University was able to make changes at the university level because it was a new institution with a vision that started with its leadership. The whole institution bought into that vision and was able to implement it within a few years. In order for change to occur and take hold in K-12 public education, reform must start with a vision for all K-12 schools, rather than those that are government-created and supported for specialized populations (such as children with low socioeconomic status).

The thesis of “All Systems Go” says it is imperative that education reform have a vision as well as a strategy for implementing the vision throughout the system. The implementation must start with the buy-in of the leadership (superintendents and principals), then the buy-in of teachers, parents, and all other members of the educational and geographical community. Changing a few schools at a time will not produce lasting change in the public school systems.

There are seven big ideas for whole-system reform, including:
1) All children can learn
2) A small number of key priorities
3) A resolute leadership/stay-on message
4) Collective capacity
5) Using strategies with precision
6) Intelligent accountability
7) All means all

Overall, this book effectively establishes that piecemeal reform will not work. We must be dedicated to changing the whole K-12 public education system at once. Next week, I will be posting about how some of these principles are being enacted by Jack Taub of Emaginos. More information is available at: www.emaginos.com and www.letsgotest.com.

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