Michael Fullan on “Drivers of Whole System Reform”

The NEA Foundation's 2012 Cross-Site Convening

 

On October 11-12, 2012, the NEA Foundation convened close to 200 leaders in education reform, with union-district leadership teams representing 20 communities, all part of our Closing the Achievement Gaps Initiative and our Institute for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, provided an account of what whole system reform means, focusing on identification of the “right drivers” (those policy levers that achieve better measurable results for students). He began with an examination of those typically chosen in the US to accomplish reform, critiqued their inadequacy, and offered an alternative set that have proven to be more effective. Fullan distilled four criteria by which to judge a driver's effectiveness, useful for sites as they look at their current collaborative work and make plans for its development and refinement. The criteria are:

  • fostering motivation of teachers and students
  • engaging educators and students in continuous improvement
  • inspiring team work
  • reaching all teachers and students
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