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Monday, May 22, 2017

Why Change is Slow to Occur in Schools?

There's the popular joke that Rip Van Winkle wakes up and the only institution he recognizes is school because it hasn't changed that much.

I was reminded last night about why schools are slow to change.

First, change is messy--it's not a neat, happy set of steps. Instead worthy change creates debate, discussion, and disruption. Similarly, to forward change is to navigate an unpredictable, sometimes tense, path. Yet, if we don't change, and things stay the same, we won't do the good work possible--good work prompted by new research, tools, and knowledge.

Next, change challenges the status quo which makes people uncomfortable. If you've always done it a particular way, you may not be open to a new way.

Change also requires good strategic process. Too often people want change to be quick and easy, but that kind of worthy change is rare--instead good change depends on transparency, inclusion, debate, discussion, reflection, and analysis. That takes time.

Change requires the voice and choice of all stakeholders--change by some for others also is never as rich as change that's supported and forwarded by all stakeholders.

I believe that schools won't change much until we embrace new models of distributive leadership and systematic work. Same structure will not produce new results.

I'm sure that there are many more reasons why schools are slow to change, but as I think this morning, these are the obstacles that arise.