We have decided not to flood this area with a million resources on systemic reform, but rather to provide you with a few excellent articles that have been recommended by our panelists and discussants.
"Six Challenges for Educational Technology." by Chris Dede
Chris Dede's article sketches a conceptual framework to help think about the process of scaling up from islands of innovation to widespread shifts in the educational practices in a district. He focuses on the introduction and integration of innovative information technologies, but explores issues that are central to most systemic innovations: What is the irreducible core of the innovation that is appropriate for widespread use? How do you identify and mobilize the resources needed to make the innovation a part of the system? How can you convince teachers and other stakeholders in the community that the effort and expense will pay off? What do you envision as the ultimate goal for the innovation what will "victory" look like?
"The Relationship of Sustainability and Generalizability: A critical inquiry" by Dean Fink.
"Ultimately, only three things matter about educational reform. Does it have depth: does it improve important rather than superficial aspects of students learning and development? Does it have length or duration: can it be sustained over long periods of time instead of fizzling out after the first flush of innovation? Does it have breadth: can the reform be extended beyond a few schools, networks or showcase initiatives to transform education across entire systems or nations?" This resource consists of a workshop activity for innovators: a short document and then two questionnaires. The text explains the use of the questionnaires to stimulate your thinking about the sustainability and generalizability of your innovation.
"The Two Solitudes Policy Makers and Policy Implementers: Implications for Leaders." by Dean Fink.
Systemic change efforts are both educational and policy enterprises, and this means that they are subject to conflicting values that differ in their importance to different participants. Fink in this stimulating paper complements Larry Cuban's keynote address admirably, as it explores the nature of the "two solitudes" that are centered on policy makers on the one hand, and policy implementers on the other. He then explores the implications for educational innovation, and especially for educational leaders. "A world class educational system requires more than just attending to rational policy making: it also entails attending to the non-rationality of schools and classrooms, and the recognition of uncertainty. It is upon a bridge of trust, hope, collaboration and passion for excellence in its broadest definition that the two solitudes can finally meet."
"Airplane Thoughts About Sustainability" by Mark St. John
This very engaging, informal, reflection by Mark St. John addresses how sustainability might look different from the funder's or the district's point of view. It discusses the relationship between soft and hard money and the need for districts to develop an improvement infrastructure. Finally, Mark touches on the negative consequences of focusing on student achievement as the marker of an LSCs success. P.S. don't miss his P.S.
"The principles of education reform: Supporting mathematics and science teaching in your school. A Handbook for elementary and middle school principals." by Mark St. John et al.
A research team from Inverness Research Associates conducted a 5--yr study of schools involved in the New York SSI. On the basis of this work, they have developed a rich guidebook to help principals and other leaders understand their roles in the support of innovative math and science in their schools. Much time is spent in exploring the nature of the school culture, the nature of the innovation being contemplated, the concerns and goals of teachers and others, and the structures and processes that can build from these foundations towards a sound, durable change in math and science practice.