COVID-19's Lasting Impact on Education
Report: How to Get the Good Changes to Last
- By Dian Schaffhauser
much of the innovation that's taking place right now in education
will still be around when the instability of the pandemic has slowed
down? That's a question that the Christensen
has tried to understand in a new paper published today.
positive changes taking place in schools aren't simply the ones that
have to do with the virus, the report noted. They're also tied to the
other one confronting America right now: systemic racism, which
"perpetuates inequality and injustice." Both types of
pandemics "deeply challenge our education system."
Schools Change Forever?"
used a framework developed by the late Harvard professor Clayton
Christensen and his colleagues to describe the four essential
elements--value propositions, resources, processes and a revenue
formula--needed to make lasting change in any organization. As the
paper explained, "these four components form a highly
interdependent system, meaning they act on each other and respond to
changes like predictable chemical reactions."
problem is that as organizations--including schools and
districts--mature, those four components making up the model begin to
"calcify." When changes are introduced, "friction"
is generated with the existing resources and processes. The changes
struggle to "gain traction." If there's a hit to the
revenue formula, the change "withers on the vine." When
changes pose threats to values held closely by staff, people resist.
to authors Chelsea Waite and Thomas Arnett, both research fellows at
the Institute, resources on their own aren't enough to generate
lasting change, but resources powering new processes can. To have
lasting effect, new processes need to beat out the "old ones"
in meeting schools' "prevailing priorities." New priorities
need to embed themselves for enduring change because that's how
resources and processes are committed. And change efforts must
continually win out over ever-present legacy processes and competing
priorities to overcome organizational inertia.
report offered a number of recommendations for "cultivating
innovation that persists." Among them are these:
states to give schools the flexibility they need to get rid of old
processes holding back the new ones; and
district leaders to sort out the "desired long-term changes"
from those introduced to deal with emergencies.
also a worksheet and discussion guide that school leaders can use to
work their way through their own organizational model as part of
their change management process.
32-page report is openly available on
the Christensen Institute website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.