To prepare future-ready students, schools must be transformed from their current bureaucratic form, characterized by rules and sanctions, punitive accountability systems, routines, and standardization of everything, to learning organizations where only the mundane is standardized and standards are used to nurture aspirations and accommodate human variables.
Learning organizations maintain a clear sense of doing the right thing and doing it well, shared commitments and beliefs, common purpose and vision, trust, accountability, and use of standards to inspire. Bureaucracies discourage and are disruptive to innovation and cannot create the dynamic conditions that foster superior performance of teachers and students.
All independent school districts were created by a vote of the people who lived in those districts. Yet today they have become little more than satellite state agencies for enforcing an abundance of state regulations. This shift in power has resulted in multiple layers of bureaucratic regulations that become more onerous and complex with each governmental action.
In response, districts have been forced to act like inflexible and unresponsive bureaucracies, more accountable to policies set by the government and their enforcement agencies than responsive to meeting the needs of their students and the communities they serve.
However, with organizational transformation, our schools will be learner-centered environments with: