Education | School Reform
J762 | 5459 | Gregory

different efforts to change schools, including the one that already seems to
have fallen out of vogue, "restructuring," whatever that may mean to you.
The course has several goals.  It explores the issue of changing schools in
three con-texts.  One is historical, although the "history" might be fairly
recent.  The second is the current context.  One might say that there is a
lot of action "right now" regarding reform, but over the decades that same
assessment has often been true.  A central issue of the course will be that,
with all this recurring action, why has so little changed?  The third
context is a more personal one.  I assume that each of you is here because
you would like to be a more effective change agent.  I'd like you to imagine
yourself a consultant to a change effort in some (hopefully real) context
and develop a process that might actually result in that effort achieving
success. We'll establish a historical grounding by reading Tinkering Toward
Utopia first.  Tyack and Cuban are really the only one of our authors who
attempt to make a case for tinkering.  For most of the others, it's a futile
exercise-rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic-or even a dirty word.  A
key point of their book is that a part of our current task is to dismantle
some very successful and very intrenched success stories of past change
efforts.  Then we'll move to Sizer's Horace's Hope.  Sizer, long an advocate
of a strategy of breaking big schools up into small pieces, makes the
beginning of a departure from that position in his most recent book.
Basically, he finds that all of the success stories of the past 15 years
have been small schools.  The best he can say for altering big schools seems
to be that it will take longer to accomplish than we've given it so far.  In
The Predictable Failure of School Reform Sarason explains some of the
reasons for the conditions that Sizer describes, particularly the role that
current power relationships in schools play in inhibiting change.  We'll
talk about principals' schools and teachers' schools.  Lastly, we'll look at
Fullan's do's and don't's for the change process in Change Forces: The
Sequel.  Along the way, we'll be discussing three position papers that you
will each write on three topics (see requirements) and in small groups you
will be making presentations on some current change efforts.  Lastly, you'll
search the literature on one aspect of the change process and prepare a
formal paper summarizing that literature.