Systems Theory,’Continuous Improvement Theory in Education Today Sherry Neglect Grand Canyon University DEAD 815 April 27, 2011 Introduction In today’s mandated high-stakes testing accountability requirements in education. The response trot today’s educational leaders vary depending on the geographical location and the size of the district In question. The 2014 deadline for meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (PAY)at 100% for all students looms on the horizon and Locusts are responding Walt various strategies walkout Dully arresting ten model for school improvement (Thomas, 2008).
Accountability is being heavily placed on the shoulders of the classroom teachers with the blame game growing and teacher morale at an all time low. The rural middle school in this educator’s district is on year three of falling below PAY and teachers are being forced to retire and/or pushed out which in turn causes communication break downs and anti-trust in leadership. Many strategies have been given new names, been tried and failed to raise standardized test scores. Chronic under performance persists because in the past twenty years of educational reform there has been very little change (Christensen,
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Aaron, & Clark, 2005). Reinventing the Wheel Thomas (2008) believes that open communication and concentration on the processes used within the confines of any unique organization would seem to set the organization on a path for positive change. The fact remains that most schools look at other schools that are successful and try to replicate what that school is doing to meet PAY and keep accountability high and innovative ideas at the forefront of planning, yet Thomas (2008) remarks replicating what is done in one school when implemented doesn’t necessarily work as they imagined.
One should take into inconsideration the school culture and the tensions the new innovative direction will create, in many cases Thomas (2008) believes the schools who try to replicate the innovative programs of others without first exploring the processes and training needed to fully implement the new system wind up failing and abandoning the new innovation as something that Just will not work for their particular problem.
They may adjust the program and try to change parts of it and toss out what isn’t working but in doing so will lose sight of any sort of systematic move toward a cohesive innovative aerogram and will abandon it and go “wheel shopping” again because why should they start from scratch when there is not a need to “reinvent the wheel” (Thomas, 2008, p. 613). When a district has lost its cohesiveness and ability to do what is best for the students, it is rare that the district can Just pull itself up overnight and turn the system around.
Thomas, (2008) and Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, (2005) both advocate a “reinvention” of the strategy plan for turning a district around. “Reinvention requires adults to talk to one another about the process of educating hillier and about their own shortfalls and struggles” (Thomas, 2008). This is not easy for district leaders to admit and to fix it requires collaboration with all stakeholders and this is also an area of difficulty with administrations that want to retain control. When the collaborative processes are allowed to work then it becomes custom designed by the stakeholders that have to live and work with the processes.
The stakeholders that are committed to the process will recognize it as one that was custom designed for the good of the students, it will be intentional and flexible, as ell as, one in which mutual cooperation will benefit everyone involved. True collaboration where a group comes together and accepts change, embraces it, practices flexibility and commits to the training and time needed to tweak the program as it needs it will have a better chance at reinventing the wheel that will continue to move forward instead of sitting in one place and spinning without growth (Thomas, 2008; Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, 2005).
An organizations capableness, according to centerlines, Aaron, & determine what an organization can and cannot do but capabilities come from the recesses the same organization uses to meet its goals. These authors stress that because processes are resistant to change they often cause the very situations that cripple a school system. In the most often used scenario, schools tend to add resources to fix processes that are not working such as teachers, administrators, buildings, technology and funding but adding resources without a systematic plan generally produces disappointing results.
In the district in this community, four years ago there was a total changeover in administration from the superintendent, school board and principals in two of three buildings. The new superintendent was completely different in his methods as he prefers total control and delegating rather than becoming involved in the classroom aspect of the district. The previous superintendent worked with collaborative groups of teachers to address any concerns and operated in that format.
Culture shock ensued and teachers became scapegoats and funding became an issue as those resources were allocated totally differently than in previous years but without gaining input from the stakeholders. In six short months, the culture and community aspect of the district was nonexistent. The five years before the new administration, PAY was met or exceeded every single year. In a four year period the district is 16% below PAY. The method of dealing with this issue at this time is cutting teachers, cutting bus routes and funding for professional development has also been cut.
The processes in this district are gone and replaced by a controlling regime of people who have communicated with the teaching staff or the parents. Processes are the patterns of interaction, coordination, communication, and decision making that educators use to make the best use of the resources made available to them to create a positive school culture (Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, 2005). Adding resources without working on dysfunctional processes is a guarantee of failure in any situation.
School districts continue to allocate resources the way they have always been allocated with a large percentage going to salaries and instruction, operations, administration, transportation, professional development and food services. This backs up the theory Thomas (2008) reiterates about reinventing the wheel, if resource allocations do not change then processes become stagnated ND the only way to combat this is to replace the existing processes and develop new ones to build new capabilities (Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, 2005, p 547).
According to both Thomas (2008) and Christensen, Aaron, & Clark (2005) because educational system’s capabilities are resistant to change in the way resources are managed this creates major obstacles for reinventing schools. Adding resources has the least potential to push systematic change in that when the resources are added without planning and implementation processes very little change occurs. In allocating resources for hiring teachers, and educating students the system is assistant to any sort of change, other than when resources are cut, teachers are cut first.
In this respect, the process is contributing to the accountability problem instead of forming a means to a solution. Currently in the school district mentioned above, in the past four years the teacher number has been reduced by eleven with enrollment increased. At the middle school level where the building houses 4th-8th graces Ana all graces are MAP tested, Instead AT Tour teachers per grace level teen have been reduced to three teachers in each grade level increasing class sizes upward to 25-28 students per class.
Middle school teachers get one 50 minute plan period a day and have an average of 78-80 per grade. Last year, the district was successful in receiving a 5 million dollar bond issue for making improvements to infrastructure, building repairs and classroom expansion. The bulk of the bond issue is being spent on a 6000 square foot administration building for three administrators and three secretaries. Bus routes were cut this year with buses no longer traveling down gravel roads creating a potentially dangerous situation for many of our rural students.
Children who participated in ports had to pay $25 for each sport participated in and this is a district with 48% free and reduced lunch students. As Thomas (2008) and Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, (2005) both point out the allocation of resources when used and distributed carefully and reallocated where necessary can contribute to a school’s success, however, when stakeholders are not included in the loop then misuse of allocated resources become a part of contention in the communication and collaborative efforts in a district.
Application to Address Issues In exploring “reinventing the wheel” the current situation in this particular district is virtually at a stalemate. Factions have formed, resentment is rampant and the current administration operates on their own agenda without collaboration with the parents and teachers of the district. Mandates are handed down, teachers are asked to resign and test scores have plummeted.
According to the matrix proposed by Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, (2005) when stakeholders do not agree with the districts goals, leadership tools such as vision statements are considered irrelevant and when teachers do not agree with the actions the leadership team is taking to fix what is wrong then the training programs used will continue to be ineffective. In this satirist’s case the leader is only using tools that do not match or help the deteriorating circumstances in the district so the possibility of success is highly unlikely.
Thomas (2008) backs this up with the fact that large conglomerate businesses that are spiraling out of control will dismiss an entire leadership team and hire a whole new team to come in and work with existing employees to tackle change. In reinventing the wheel it is sometimes necessary to bring in a powerful school leader who has the power tools necessary to create a sense of urgency in the crisis the school is experiencing and forcefully redefine the schools’ processes Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, 2005, p. 50). In getting all stakeholders to agree to this in a school district would prove to be very difficult so to create long range change would require a fundamental and systemic transformation and this can only happen if we start from scratch by creating a new educational organization that has the freedom and flexibility to manage their resources and develop their own processes that are conducive to their cultures (Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, 2005, p. 550).
Thomas (2008) believes that schools are afraid to reinvent the system because breaking a long standing mold is difficult to do. Cotter (2005) in his eight step model for change advocates the first step as creating a sense of urgency and getting a collaborative team together to help recreate a solid vision, get stakeholders on board Ana Jump on ten change Downward. In tins particular solution ten only meet that seems feasible is to reinvent the wheel and get a change oriented leader at the helm to lead the change efforts.
When the change team is able to get educators, parents and administrators to redefine the vision and goals and work together to tackle the issues then positive change can be attained by any organization (Cotter, 2005). Teachers who feel alienated would most likely respond with enthusiasm to have input into the processes as would parents. The long range effects of total buy-in by all stakeholders of new vision and goals will perpetuate growth over time even with mandated standardized testing and PAY goals.
Can Systemic Change Work In backing up systemic change, Thomas (2008) refers to the Monadic Community Connections School (MAC) in New Hampshire is an example of a school that transformed into a successful progressive school that puts students first with integrity, courage and energy and educational leaders are looking to this school as a model for others (p. 12). At MAC the teachers interact with their students and create personalized learning plans for each student and track data carefully and decisively and it has worked well for MAC.
Hubbard (2009) makes the bold statement that “without the willingness to make courageous, transformation changes, public education risks the likelihood that its many small changes will lead to no change at all” (p. 745). Hubbard (2009) defines systemic change as change in the overall structure and mission of an institution and in this instance schools that set performance/learning goals and activities in which data will show what students can o before moving on to a new set of goals (p. 746).
Cotter (2005) believes that systemic change based on a set of steps that are easily applied to any diverse group can result in positive change and when collaborative efforts are put into the mix the group can accomplish. Many educational institutions who have tried to duplicate the models from other successful school models find that while the innovations are sound, the culture of their district is not such that it can totally replicate what MAC was able to accomplish because a lot of planning and data disaggregating was done to lay the groundwork for the premises that made MAC a success.
The organization attempting to replicate it but not netting fast enough results will likely abandon it and search for an easier model to implement (Thomas, 2008). Districts that have communication issues between administration and staff will have issues because mandates without proper planning, processes and resources are doomed to fail before they begin (Thomas, 2008; Christensen, Aaron, & Clark, 2005).
Effective Schools Framework Integration With the many facets included in Locate & Emcee’s (2002) Assembly Required book with the correlates of effective schools the implication at that time was that by sing that framework schools could move into a more effective delivery of quality education for all if the framework was implemented across the field of education. Locate & McKee-Snyder (2011) support the “reinvention of the wheel” or system as Thomas (2008) suggests in that the piecemeal approach has netted some results and improvements in student learning over the past ten years.
However the authors believe to fully achieve the magnitude of change that will be needed to push for truly detective cocoons change efforts wall continue to canalling ten entrance Delete Ana aloes of decades past, as well as the policies and processes that have been part of public education since it began. Visionary, open-minded educational leaders when empowered can make things happen by designing completely new innovative techniques using the effective schools framework as a guide in paving their way to educational success.
Conclusion As the educational crisis in the United States continues to grow in magnitude and the current outdated methods used are proving ineffective by today’s standards there is a trend according to Cotter (2005) for teachers and other educators to pursue advanced degrees in educational leadership. In order to reinvent the wheel as Thomas (2008) suggests it will take educational movers and shakers and to pull this off educators need to be in positions to change policies and begin movements to change how education is perceived by the American public.
At this time teachers are being blamed for the failures in education; those policy makers pointing the fingers need to adapt to help reinvent the wheel for change. References Christensen, C. , Aaron, S. , & Clark, W. (2005). Can schools improve? Phi Delta Kappa, 86(7), 545-550. Hubbard, R. (2009). Tinkering change vs.. Yester change. Phi Delta Kappa. 90(10), 745-747. Cotter, J. (2005). Our iceberg is melting:changing and succeeding under any circumstances. John C. Wiley, Inc. Locate, L. W. And McKee, K. M. (2002). “Essential attributes and critical components of sustainable school reform.
Assembly require: A continuous school improvement system (15-24). Smokes, MI; Effective Schools Products, Ltd. Locate, L. W. And Snyder, K. M. (2011). “The correlates in action: A continuous school improvement system (131142). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. [pick] Systems Theory/Continuous Improvement Theory Paper In this assignment, you evaluated the merits of these theories and their application to modern education. In developing a 1,750 – 2,000 word assignment you: a) Insightfully identified and defended what you believe to be the most pressing issue facing schools today. ) Selected and Justified a theoretical model work best to remedy this issue. C) Described how you would apply this school improvement theory to the identified issue. D) Discussed the extent to which educational leaders nave uses tins tender to solve salary coeducational Issues. Include Instances In which they were successful and instances in which they were not. ) Addressed how leaders can integrate these theories with the Effective Schools Framework for the support of sustainable change. You supported your thoughts with scholarly research and appropriately cited.
You prepared your assignment according to the PAP guidelines found in the PAP Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract was not required. You submitted your assignment by the end of Module 2. The following is needed for improvements: Introduction needs to present major points Additional citations Paragraph revising Assignment needs reducing in the amount of words A late point deduction was not applied (this time only) due to tornadoes[pick][pick] An error occurred while printing the rubric.