Acknowledge the Complexity of Schools


“Blueprints, technical experts, strategic plans and savvy managers simply are inadequate to get complex systems with thousands of reciprocal ties between people to operate effectively in such constantly changing and unpredictable environments. These web-like complex systems of interdependent units adapt continuously to turbulent surroundings. . . .

At the minimum, know that working in a complex system means adapting to changes, dealing with conflicts, and constant learning. These are natural, not aberrations. Know further that reform designs borrowed from complicated systems and imposed from the top in complex systems will hardly make a dent in the daily work of those whose job is convert policy into action.”

–Larry Cuban, “The difference between ‘complex’ and ‘complicated’ — and why it matters in school reform“, a repost of an oldie but goodie on The Answer Sheet

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