Reforming Educational Reform

reformEducational reform is ripe with “distractors” and in need of more “collaboration”, so says John Hattie, chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, deputy director of the Science of Learning Research Centre, and  director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne. In recent reports summarized by freelance educational writer Dian Schaffhauser, Hattie calls into question the significant educational reform initiatives of the past several decades. [1] Hattie classified school choice, class size debates, high-stakes testing, and pay-for-performance models as distractors to effective reform. Hattie placed a emphasis on collaboration regarding a shared responsibility among all stakeholders for the academic growth a students, not just teachers.

In a recent blog postSharhonda Bossier, vice president, advocacy and engagement, at Education Cities, a nonprofit working to dramatically increase the number of great public schools across the country, described the collaborative community effort lead by New York Mayor de Blasio. [2] Regarding the change-leaders, Bossier wrote, they “must develop authentic relationships with all groups to sustain progress”. [2] Bossier recounted community leaders meeting face-to-face with parents to engage them in the educational change process.

National School Reform Faculty (NSRF) focus on the actions of reform that stem from within the school building, specifically promoting and providing resources for the creation of Critical Friends Groups (CFGs). [3]

“CFGs are about collaboration—colleagues working together to improve their work and that of their students, continually striving for excellence through shared goals, norms, and values.” [4]

The best intentions of reform can be derailed by misguided agendas or supported through the works of the many. Collaboration can counter the distractions as long as the collaborators come from within the schools and throughout the community.


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