Thursday, August 28, 2003

It is very difficult to create a true "learning network". It takes time, real work or data and a safe room, maybe even a facilitated conversation initially. It seems to take all of that at least to support superintendants of public school systems in making real change through insructional leadership. Their work is both complex and public. Real instructional leadership requires the super to become a learner again, and is made even more risky by the leader's exposure to a skeptical and demanding public that is losing confidence in school systems. In the culture of blame that drives public systems today, there may be an assumption that the super already should know it all. Nonetheless, as we find out more about the brain and learning, strategies that were perceived to be fundamental may be found to be less effective than new research-based, data-driven interventions. We expect physicians to renew their skills continuously. Renewal, not just collecting credits, must become the guiding ethos of education. It needs to be OK for superintendants to say we don't know and we are going to find out.