The Systemic Change Process in Education: A Conceptual Framework

Journal Name:

Publication Year:

Abstract (2. Language): 
This paper provides a conceptual framework for a systemic change process, both to help researchers advance knowledge about how school districts can engage in paradigm change, and to help educators and policy makers understand the big picture for such change. The conceptual framework is comprised of key ideas that have emerged from the authors’ experiences in facilitating change in school districts, and from a review of the educational change literature. The authors first present an argument for the need for systemic change. They then present the conceptual framework, which is comprised of six elements that are important for any systemic change process to succeed: broad stakeholder ownership, learning organization, understanding the systemic change process, evolving mindsets about education, systems view of education, and systems design. The description of each element includes suggested activities for implementation. Finally, the authors recommend that policy makers address each of the elements within the framework, and that educators and scholars explore how the interrelationships and interdependencies of the elements can lead to successful educational reform.



Akoff, R. L. (1981). Creating the Corporate Future. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Argyris, C., & Schön, D. A. (1978). Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.
Banathy, B. H. (1991). Systems design of education: A journey to create the future. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications.
Banathy, B. H. (1992). A systems view of education: Concepts and principles for effective practice. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications.
Banathy, B. H. (1996). Designing social systems in a changing world. New York: Plenum Press.
Bohm, D. (1996). On dialogue. New Fetter Lane, London: Routledge.
Caine, R. N., & Caine, G. (1997). Education on the edge of possibility. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.
Capra, F. (1982). The turning point: Science, society, and the rising culture. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Clinton, H. R. (1996). It takes a village and other lessons children teach us. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Darling-Hammond, L. (1996). What matters most: A competent teacher for every child. Phi Delta Kappan, 78(3), 193-200.
DiBella, A. J., & Nevis, E. C. (1998). How organizations learn: An integrated strategy for building learning capability. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Drucker, P. F. (2001). The essential Drucker: Selections from the management works of Peter F. Drucker (1st ed.). New York: HarperBusiness.
Duffy, F. M. (2002). Step-Up-To-Excellence: An innovative approach to managing and rewarding performance in school systems. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education.
Duffy, F. M. (2003). Courage, passion and vision: A guide to leading systemic school improvement. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Education and the American Association of School Administrators.
Duffy, F. M., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2008). The school system transformation (SST) protocol. Educational Technology, 48(4), 41-49.
Duffy, F. M., Rogerson, L. G., & Blick, C. (2000). Redesigning America's schools: A systems approach to improvement. Norwood, Mass.: Christopher-Gordon Publishers.
DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. E. (1998). Professional learning communities at work: best practices for enhancing student achievement. Bloomington, Ind. Alexandria, Va.: National Education Service; ASCD.
Fine, M. (1993). Parent involvement - reflections on parents, power, and urban public schools. Teachers College Record, 94(4), 682-710.
Forrester, J. W. (1999). Systems dynamics: The foundation under systems thinking. Retrieved October 13, 2002, from http://sysdyn.mit.edu/sdep/papers/D-4828.html
Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces: Probing the depth of educational reform. London ; New York: Falmer Press.
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fullan, M., & Stiegelbauer, S. M. (1991). The new meaning of educational change (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education: Teachers College Press Teachers College Columbia University.
Goodlad, J. I. (2002). Kudzu, rabbits, and school reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 84(1), 16-23.
Hammer, M., & Champy, J. (2001). Reengineering the corporation: A manifesto for business revolution. New York: HarperBusiness.
Jenlink, P. M. (1995). Systemic change: Touchstones for the future school. Arlington Heights, Illinois: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing, Inc.
Jenlink, P. M., Reigeluth, C. M., Carr, A. A., & Nelson, L. M. (1996). An expedition for change. Tech Trends, 21-30.
Jenlink, P. M., Reigeluth, C. M., Carr, A. A., & Nelson, L. M. (1998). Guidelines for facilitating systemic change in school districts. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 15(3), 217-233.
Joseph, R., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2005). Formative research on an early stage of the systemic change process in a small urban school system. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(6), 937-956.
Louis, K. S., & Kruse, S. D. (1995). Professionalism and community: perspectives on reforming urban schools. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.
McCombs, B., & Whisler, J. S. (1997). The learner-centered classroom and school: Strategies for increasing student motivation and achievement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Morgan, G. (1997). Images of Organization (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.
Mulford, W. R. (1998). Organizational Learning and Educational Change. In A. Hargreaves, M. Fullan & D. Hopkins (Eds.), International Handbook of Educational Change (pp. 616-641). Norwell: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Newmann, F. M., Wehlage, G., & Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools. (1995). Successful school restructuring: a report to the public and educators by the Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools. Madison, WI: The Center : distributed jointly by the American Federation of Teachers Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development National Association of Elementray School Principals The National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Reigeluth, C. M. (1993). Principles of educational systems design. International Journal of Educational Research, 19(2), 117-131.
Reigeluth, C. M. (1994). The imperative for systemic change. In C. M. Reigeluth & R. J. Garfinkle (Eds.), Systemic change in education (pp. 3-11). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.
Reigeluth, C. M. (2006). A leveraged emergent approach to systemic transformation. TechTrends, 50(2), 46-47.
Reigeluth, C. M. (2008). Chaos theory and the sciences of complexity: Foundations for transforming education. In B. Despres (Ed.), Systems Thinkers in Action: A Field Guide for Effective Change Leadership in Education. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.
Reigeluth, C. M., & Stinson, D. (2007a). The Decatur story: Reinvention of a school corporation – Collaboration: Developing partners in education. The Indiana School Boards Association Journal, 53(3), 13-15.
Reigeluth, C. M., & Stinson, D. (2007b). The Decatur story: Reinvention of a school corporation – Culture and climate: The personality of school governance. The Indiana School Boards Association Journal, 53(4), 11-13.
Reigeluth, C. M., & Stinson, D. (2007c). The Decatur story: Reinvention of a school corporation – Leadership and empowerment in Decatur’s school transformation. The Indiana School Boards Association Journal, 53(2), 13-15.
Reigeluth, C. M., & Stinson, D. (2007d). The Decatur story: Reinvention of a School Corporation – Mission and values for Decatur’s school transformation. The Indiana School Boards Association Journal, 53(1), 17-19.
Richter, K. B., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2006). A systemic change experience in Decatur Township. Tech Trends, 50(2), 35-36, 50(2), 35-36.
Sarason, S. B. (1995). Parental involvement and the political principle: Why the existing governance structure of schools should be abolished (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Schlechty, P. C. (1990). Schools for the twenty-first century: Leadership imperatives for educational reform (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Schlechty, P. C. (2005). Creating great schools: Six critical systems at the heart of educational innovation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday.
Senge, P. M. (2000). Schools that learn: A fifth discipline fieldbook for educators, parents, and everyone who cares about education (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday.
Squire, K. D., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2000). The many faces of systemic change. Educational Horizons, 78(3), 145-154.
Stringfield, S., Ross, S. M., & Smith, L. (1996). Bold plans for school restructuring: The New American Schools designs. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Tyack, D. B., & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering toward utopia: A century of public school reform. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Watson, S. L., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2008). Community members’ perceptions on social, cultural changes and its implication for educational transformation in a small school district community. Journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change, 5(1), 45-65.

Thank you for copying data from http://www.arastirmax.com