Making Lasting Reform Work

By Douglas B. Reeves

When I ask people to tell me the imperatives for effective systemic change, one of the most frequent responses is that “you have to get buy-in from all the stakeholders.” I would like to challenge that notion.

Elected policymakers, such as school board members, often are expected to listen to a wide variety of opinions, but they are not compelled to agree with all of them. What community members need are leaders and policymakers who will listen and also challenge us. Don’t ask us to buy in to your ideas for change; challenge us to envision a future that is better than today.

Challenge us to consider improvements in our educational systems that will happen only if we replace the skepticism associated with the buy-in imperative with the hope and optimism associated with new ideas, practices, and policies.

How do we replace the stagnation of buy-in with the hope for effective change? Education leaders must consider three new ideas for improving practice and policy.

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