Articles & Podcasts


Why We Can’t Escape the Status Quo in Education

200 years of doing the same thing just won’t cut it
By Michael Fullan — January 09, 2023  3 min read
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This is Part I in a two-part series by Michael Fullan.

The first mystery of system change in education is why has the 200-year-old current system in Western societies not transformed when the majority of people have known for at least 50 years that it does not work?

The second mystery is why “the system,” aside from using technology more frequently, is likely to revert to the status quo even when a pandemic has presented the opportunity to make fundamental change?


Why We Can



Teacher Retention: Who’s Abandoning Whom? | LCL Podcast With Michael Fullan and Joanna Rizzotto

In a follow up to their widely popular Edweek article, the luminary Michael Fullan and seasoned practitioner Joanna Rizzotto discuss the roots of our teacher retention problem—the system of schooling itself. They contend that we need to shift to a humanity-based model where schools and communities can experience greater local autonomy and improve practices from the bottom up. One of the first steps is to have the more centralized figures connect with the people on the ground; the educators, parents, and students who see it all first. Such interactions would truly show teachers and other community member their value and give district leaders the data they need to make the most effective, holistic decisions. As Fullan and Rizzotto see it, teachers—especially those that stick around—have never left their calling, they have just abandoned an outmoded structure that too often isn’t nimble or responsive enough changing times.

Peter DeWitt

Corwin Leaders Coaching Leaders

Here are 6 Reasons Our Students Should Be Seen as Changemakers

Michael Fullan
September 6, 2022

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Peter DeWitt
Opinion Blog


When It Comes to the Teacher Shortage, Who’s Abandoning Whom?

Michael Fullan & Joanna Rizzotto
August 15, 2022

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Peter DeWitt
Opinion Blog


Six Reasons to be Optimistic About Learning in 2022

Join Michael Fullan March 1, 2022 Webinar:
Six Reasons to be Optimist about Learning in 2022

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This post by Michael Fullan is being co-published with Education Week and the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning.
February 23, 2022



The Fast Track to Sustainable Turnaround

How one principal re-energized a struggling elementary school by focusing on coherence and distributed leadership.

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Budgeting for Educational Equity

4 – The Time and Space to Innovate Towards Equitable School Systems


School districts face extreme urgency to safely return students to in-person environments and help them recover from a pandemic that has not yet ended. At the same time, leaders and practitioners are pressing to expeditiously but thoughtfully allocate a windfall of new state and federal dollars – all the while trying to leverage the unique opportunity created by these circumstances to bring about transformative changes to our public school systems.

How can school communities make the most of this moment to innovate towards a greater equality of outcomes for all students? That’s the question we explore in this episode. Education reform experts Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn share powerful ideas and insights from their work. Both have advised school systems in California and throughout the world. They’ve co-authored many books and papers, including their latest, “Right Drivers for Whole System Success.”

Fullan and Quinn help us to look through the lens of equity and learning, emphasizing that education leaders should prioritize engaging all of their students.

The possibilities for investing this influx of new, one-time funding to address inequities is truly exciting. But not so simple. School business officials especially may find themselves caught in a tension, on the one hand focused on fulfilling their important, traditional role of ensuring fiscal health and responsible accounting (including spending down Covid-recovery funds within prescribed timelines) while also being presented an opportunity to help their districts think and act in new ways that can be sustained over time.

Michael Fullan poses this question: “Is it possible to have responsible financial accountability and innovation at the same time?” The answer, he says, is yes.

CASBO CEO and executive director Tatia Davenport also re-joins Jason to put some of Michael and Joanne’s ideas through a school business “reality check.” Tatia describes why focusing on increasing the long-term yield of our public school investments is so critical, plus she highlights why district leaders need more time and space to plan, so they can develop a cohesive strategy with their communities for effectively spending their funds and improving outcomes.


Joanne Quinn is an international consultant and author on system change, leadership, and learning. As co-founder and Global Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, she leads partnership work across eight countries focused on transforming learning. Joanne has provided leadership at all levels of education as a superintendent, implementation advisor to the Ontario Ministry of Education, and Director of Continuing Education at the University of Toronto.

Michael Fullan, O.C., is the Global Leadership Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and a worldwide authority on educational reform with a mandate of helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning. A former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto, Michael advises policymakers and local leaders around the world to provide leadership in education.

Budgeting for Educational Equity is presented by the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), in partnership with WestEdOur series is written and produced by Paul Richman and Jason Willis. Original music, mixing and sound by Tommy Dunbar. John Diaz at WestEd  develops our related written materials. We are grateful to the Sobrato Family Foundation for providing additional support.

The Right Drivers for Whole System SuccessFullan CSE Leading Education Series-01-2021R2-compressed

February 2021
Michael Fullan

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Extending Influence Through the Governance CoreExtending Influence through the Governance Core Fullan and Davis


School Administrator
April 2020

Michael Fullan and Davis Campbell

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The Battle of the Century: Catastrophe versus Evolutionary Nirvana

AEL 42, Issue 1
Lead Article

AEL Battle of the Century

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The Unity of the Human Race: Our Precarious Future

Part One: Education Week Blog
Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground

The Unity of the Human Race_ Our Precarious Future - Peter DeWitt's Finding Common Ground - Education Week

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Most Examples of Deep Learning Are Not Deep Enough

Part Two: Education Week Blog
Peter DeWitt’s Finding Common Ground

Most Examples of Deep Learning Are Not Deep Enough - Peter DeWitt's Finding Common Ground - Education Week

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Going Deeper – ASCD

Educational Leadership
May 2019

Michael Fullan, Mag Gardner, and Max Drummy

19_Fullan Going Deeper Gardner Drummy

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A Unity of Purpose and Action

By Matt Scott
July 2019, Vol 42, Issue 11

Michael Fullan addressing attendees at NAESP’s annual conference. Photo courtesy of Lifetouch®.

During the Pre-K–8 Principals Conference in Spokane, Washington, keynote speaker Michael Fullan highlighted his latest research on deep learning and revealed an inspiring message on how students and teachers respond best if they are focusing on global competencies. Fullan engaged, motivated, and challenged school administrators from across the country to lead students in finding their purpose in life by becoming nuanced leaders.

Overcoming Boredom in Schools

Fullan delivered information to school administrators that shed light on the current state of global education. It wasn’t promising: “Today’s students are bored,” he said. He also noted that inequity in our world is widening, and society is giving schools a bad deal. “The world is troubled, and even 10-year-olds know it.”

But Fullan gave us hope with his research on deep learning innovations: Goodness can evolve but only when special conditions are met, and as a human race, we can help create and meet those conditions when we have unity.

Finding a Purpose in Life

Fullan also challenged us to help students define and find their life purpose by leading and guiding them to see themselves as people who can contribute to bettering our world. Research shows that only 24 percent of high school students are pursuing a purpose for their life. Many focus on just getting good grades as a pathway to college and a career.

In today’s world, that’s not good enough. Students need to be good at learning and at life, said Fullan. His recommendation? Change our students with the following phrase: “Engage the world, change the world.”

New Types of Learning

Fullan explained the types of learning we should be transitioning to so we can be the change agents in our schools. It should be “irresistibly engaging, elegantly efficient, technologically ubiquitous, steeped in real-life problem-solving, and involve deep learning—quality learning that sticks with you the rest of your life and learning that engages the world and changes the world.”

Fullan’s book Deep Learning: Engage the World Change the World breaks down deep learning into the process of acquiring six global competencies, known as the six C’s: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

These competencies encompass compassion, empathy, social-emotional learning, entrepreneurialism, and other related skills to becoming successful in our complex world. Fullan warned, “We will fail to spark the passion of our students if we are not teaching the six C’s.”


To maximize the impact of deep learning on students, Fullan encouraged us to create a shared ownership with teachers and reminded us that successful change processes are a function of shaping and reshaping good ideas as they build capacity. This process comes through the creation of collaborative structures, which must be nourished through teacher learning and development.

According to Fullan, the No. 1 influencer in student achievement was collective teacher efficacy. A successful collective efficacy among teachers can be created in an environment that provides frequent and specific collaboration. He calls it professional collaboration with purpose.

Finally, Fullan redefines the moral imperative as “raising the bar and closing the gap in both learning/academic achievement and in doing well in life.” To close the learning/achievement gap in schools and set up students also do well in life, we, as school administrators, must self-reflect and decide whether we are what he Fullan calls “surfacers or nuancers.” Surfacers treat problems as technical by concentrating on steps to the solutions, whereas nuancers work with key principles that lead to adjustable actions, which involves concepts and practical skills that require deep reflective actions.

Nuanced leaders are curious, humble, loyal to a better future, proud to celebrate success, open, and courageously and relentlessly committed to changing the system for the betterment of humanity, said Fullan. They’re able to connect to people, look below the surface, and change people’s emotions instead of their minds.

Fullan ended his keynote by encouraging us to be leaders who lead, listen, learn, and ask questions. He also encouraged us to model and mentor leadership in others so we could create a collaborative culture in our school to the point we become dispensable. Fullan stated there could be no progress without a unity of purpose and action that involved a sense of collective purpose to make improvements. As nuanced leaders, we can “engage the world and change the world.”

Matt Scott is principal at Creekside Primary in Harvest, Alabama.


California’s Golden Opportunity: Learning is the Work

For the past six years California has been diligently pursuing statewide success in student achievement. They are now poised to go the distance. With a new governor and new state superintendent and an agenda to build on. Read our new report: “California’s Golden Opportunity: Learning is the Work” and see the Six Key Recommendations for success. Watch for one of the most exciting system change possibilities in US education!

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Our Increasingly Troubled World Creates an Engaging Opportunity for Students

Education Week Blog
By Peter DeWitt
April 28, 2019

Today’s guest blog, Part Two of two blogs, is written by Michael Fullan, an international expert on leadership and school systems. 

We know that the world is becoming increasingly troubled because of climate change, unclear and diminished job markets, growing inequity, increased anxiety and stress, wild and unpredictable technology, deterioration of trust, and crumbling social cohesion. This has had an incredible impact on education because in many ways this all plays out in our schools. It also provides a great opportunity to transform schooling so that it simultaneously serves students and society. The new moral imperative in education is not just “college ready” but rather becoming good at learning and good at life.

In partnership with schools and systems in eight countries, we (see our team below)  co-developed a framework that enabled us to pursue, discover, and develop radically new learning ways for students assisted by their teachers. It starts with six Global Competencies:

Character – Proactive stance toward life and learning to learn, grit, tenacity, perseverance and resilience, empathy, compassion, and integrity in action.

Citizenship – A global perspective, commitment to human equity and well-being through empathy and compassion for diverse values and worldviews, genuine interest in human and environmental sustainability, solving ambiguous and complex problems in the real world to benefit citizens.

Collaboration – Working interdependently as a team, interpersonal and team-related skills, social, emotional, and intercultural skills, managing team dynamics and challenges.

Communication – Communication designed for audience and impact, message advocates a purpose and makes an impact, reflection to further develop and improve communication, voice and identity expressed to advance humanity.

Creativity – Economic and social entrepreneurialism, asking the right inquiry questions, pursuing and expressing novel ideas and solutions, leadership to turn ideas into action.

Critical Thinking – Evaluating information and arguments, making connections and identifying patterns, meaningful knowledge construction, experimenting, reflecting and taking action on ideas in the real world.

To support the six Cs we developed four learning pillars: partnershipshigh-yield pedagogylearning environment, and leveraging digital technologies. Finally, we identified three sets of enabling conditions at the schooldistrict and policy levels.

We have often observed that 80 percent of the best ideas come from leading practitioners. In this partnership, two powerful ideas emerged from the work that were at best implicit in the initial framework: one we ended up calling “engage the world, change the world,” related was the necessary and profound relationship between “learning and well-being.”

Engage the World, Change the World
This is Dewey, Freire 2.0. Deep learning can only occur if the learner is examining the world they live in and having an eye to improving it. It is not so much that this represents a good thing to do, but rather it is the only way to live—the only way to learn in complex society! You can’t learn if you don’t engage the world, big or small. And you can’t learn if you are not intimately linking your learning to how to improve the situation.

Students love to understand and do something about things in the world that need attention—whether it is addressing homelessness, protecting the garden from predatory birds, learning how to address inequity, dealing with severe living conditions, or examining the future of jobs. The best way to learn anything worthwhile is to engage the world with the idea of understanding it with an eye to changing it for the better. It was Kurt Lewin who observed: “If you want to understand something, try changing it.” Our motto is “engage the world as a learner, and you will inevitably find yourself in a change situation.

If school could become an institution of engaging the world with the natural idea of understanding it, deep learning would flourish. Masses of students would learn more and develop an active penchant for improving things.

Learning and well-being as partners
Getting to college—getting to the best college—has distorted learning. Certainly students and parents can be the worst culprits. The current scandal of Hollywood actors paying their way to get their children clandestinely into the best universities is a case in point. And many a student has expressed and acted in a way that explicitly said: “I’d rather have a good grade than participate in deep learning.” But something else is happening. Stress and anxiety are increasing for all students regardless of SES. The greater the emphasis on learning at all cost, the greater the anxiety. It is not easy to correct this, but such a perverse system serves only about the top 20 percent. And, as it turns out, it doesn’t even serve them well.

We are finding that students and their parents respond to the argument that learning and well-being are intimately connected. They know that you can go through school, get good grades, and still not be good at life. They know that many students who are doing well academically are stressed out and not necessarily heading in the right direction. In effect, they have a deal with the devil. Do well at all costs regardless of the consequences.

And then we have the majority who are not being served by the present system. They suffer from all the prejudices of the present system that limits their opportunity, as well as the conditions under which they live.

Increasingly, all groups suffer in the present system. Students across the spectrum are stressed. One of the natural outlets for addressing the situation is deep learning. Broadly, I think that most students are ambivalent. Many of them want the grades, almost at any cost. But we also have found that once well-being is introduced, there is a tendency to want to develop it. We use the term “connectedness” as a proxy for well-being. In our work, learning and well-being are treated as equal synergizing partners. This is not a matter of ‘”bolting on” SEL to enhance academic grades. It is the recognition that the new moral imperative puts learning and well-being on equal footing.

In short, we see an increased attention to the notion that learning and well-being are natural allies. Students see it, too. They intuitively know that deep learning and connectedness must be integrated as one phenomenon.

All and all, in the two blogs presented, we have the measures required to address the massive and growing inequities that are relentlessly trending in society. Deep learning, as we practice it with our partners, is good for all students but is especially effective for those students who are most disconnected from schooling and society.

Society is becoming increasingly complex. Ironically and worryingly, at the same time student engagement in schools is dramatically decreasing. We need to reverse this trend

The future of humankind depends on the massive mobilization of students as agents of change. Such mobilization requires partnerships with students and adults. This can be done through the two learning pathways discussed in the companion Part 1 Blog (the ‘pedagogical’ and the ‘political’ pathways), combined with the two powerful phenomena discussed in this blog—integrating “engaging the world” and well-being. It is no longer far-fetched to suggest that societal survival depends on these four forces in concert.

Michael Fullan, O.C., is the Global Leadership Director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and a worldwide authority on educational reform with a mandate of helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning.

For more information from our team, see: Fullan, Quinn and McEachen, Deep Learning: Engage the World Change the World (Corwin  2018), and Dive Into Deep Learning: Tools for Engagement. Quinn, McEachen, Fullan, Gardner & Drummy, Corwin, in press).

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


Why Pedagogy and Politics Must Partner

Education Week Blog
By Peter DeWitt
April 25, 2019

Today’s guest blog is written by Michael Fullan, an international expert on leadership and school systems. 

Five years ago, we started to work with education systems on “deep learning.” We did this partly because increasing numbers of students were bored with regular schooling—as many as 70 percent were disengaged.

However, we also found that the world was becoming increasingly troubled because of climate change, an unclear and diminished job market, growing inequity, increased anxiety and stress, wild and unpredictable technology, deterioration of trust, increased inequity, and crumbling social cohesion.

Overall, one could say that far from being an agent of local and global improvement, education was increasingly on the receiving end of a bad society.

Through our work, we co-developed with our partners in schools a framework that enabled and supported the work. It focused on six Global Competencies: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

To support the six competencies, we developed four learning pillars that support deep learning: partnerships, high-yield pedagogy, learning environment, and leveraging digital technologies. The competencies and pillars in turn were linked to conditions at the school, district (or region), and system levels.

We found that deep learning well implemented gave students a sense of focus and increased their consciousness of being a learner. I will label this the “pedagogical pathway.” Recently, a new strand is emerging that I will call the “political pathway.” Both of these must be pursued and feed on each other as students negotiate their way through life.

Why Pedagogy and Politics Pathways Must Partner
A pedagogical pathway is paved with “engaging (learning about) the world,” and “changing it for the better.” Pedagogical efficacy is not sufficient for all changes in the lives of our students. It will certainly help the individual do better in life. And many individuals and groups will take up aspects of societal improvement after they leave school, but it won’t be enough to change education policy. What now is emerging is the possibility that pedagogical savvy and political action may make for a surprising combination with students as a force for change.

Ontario has long been seen globally as one of the best-performing education systems in the world. Whether it be the results from the Programme for International Student Assessments (PISA) or from the research that has come out of Ontario focusing on inclusion, equity or literacy, Ontario has shown great success.

Conservative populism has taken hold in various places around the world, where ideology takes precedence over evidence. Ontario’s newly elected government is no exception as it continues its attack on critical fundamentals that heretofore have made Ontario a global leader. The government tried to roll back the sex-ed curriculum to a 1995 version but had to retreat due to widespread criticism. Another action that the government took in March caught people’s attention in a big way—especially on the part of students. The government announced that it would increase class size from 22 to 28 students in high schools, resulting in the loss of 3,500 positions, which would be accommodated through attrition. This meant, for example, that students entering grade 9 would experience their entire high school tenure with hardly any new teachers being hired.

In this context, our work on deep learning is critical to a more informed and democratic future. In the case in hand, and seemingly at the speed of light, the students in the province organized a demonstration that resulted in a protest of more than 100,000 students that occurred on April 4 and was reported by the Toronto Star newspaper. The government quickly dismissed the event as organized by teachers’ union leaders that they called “thugs.”

The students became incensed and sent Premier Doug Ford the following letter on April 6:

We, the provincial organizers of ‘Students Say No’, felt it necessary to release an official statement to Doug Ford [Premier], Lisa Thompson [Minister], and the Ford government as a whole in response to their disrespectful, dismissive, and completely false allegations about the origins of our movement.

‘Students Say No’ was founded by Natalie Moore, a grade 12 student from the Avon Maitland District School Board in rural Ontario [the education minister’s own riding (electoral district)]. Natalie decided to start the walkout after hearing about the proposed cuts that she knew would be absolutely catastrophic to the education system we have here in Ontario, as well as to its most vulnerable students. Quickly, the movement spread across social media, and she was joined by the student organization March for Our Education as well as thousands of students across Ontario. There was absolutely no union or adult involvement at all in any part of our journey, and honestly, I ‘m sure you know this. We would greatly appreciate it if you stopped lying to the people of this province in order to discredit our work.

The movement spread quickly because students care about their education and are begging to be heard. To claim that this walkout was organized, orchestrated, or puppeteered by adults is not only false, but extremely insulting to the young people of Ontario. The attempts to diminish these efforts speak for your government loud and clear: You are scared of us. The youth of Ontario are a force to be reckoned with, and we took this opportunity to show you exactly how strong we are, and you’ve made it clear as day that our strength terrifies you.

What you must understand is that this province is a democracy, not a dictatorship. You can’t ignore, discount, and dismiss the voices of people who are telling you that you’re harming them. You’re here to serve us, not the other way around, and we the students will not stand for having our voices and our lives ignored.

You do not sit in these classrooms. You do not have to take these online courses. You do not suffer from these cuts. The people who see the difference in class sizes and online learning and autism funding are telling you that this will not work for the students of Ontario, and you’re making the conscious decision to ignore us. We are smart enough to know when we are being shortchanged for your own gain. And we are tired of being disrespected—being told that we don’t have the autonomy, the power, or the responsibility to organize ourselves. We are the students, and we’re making our voices heard. It would be wise to listen.


The letter was signed by two student organizers—the first of whom was Natalie, who goes to school in one of our Deep Learning Districts with all of its 10 secondary schools involved in deep learning implementation. 

On April 6, 10,000 teachers demonstrated, many of them inspired by their students but also having their own agenda. On April 10, the Toronto Star published another article with the headline: “Students at North York’s Emery C.I. have always felt left behind. Fighting Ford’s cuts helped them raise their voice.”. The article focused on why the students spoke out and how they felt after they did. There were many great points by the students, but one that stood out is:

“Emery has not been heard before in that way. It really empowers us. It just allows us to say, ‘Well you know, we do have a voice.’ ” And, “We need more than a teacher, we need a student-teacher relationship, because a school is a safe place for us. The school is a place where we forget about our financial problems, we forget about our father being jobless, we forget about our mother being disabled.”

Students, in other words, were speaking for equity and had the sensitivity to know that quality relationships with their teachers are critical factors for their learning and well-being.

The two statements above from students reflect the political pathway of deep learning on the rise. School doesn’t directly prepare students to be political. However, we are finding that deep pedagogical learning (Engage the world, Change the world) predictably makes them more sensitive to their environments, locally and globally. It doesn’t mean that the students will always be right, just that they should be a partner in education improvement that should be taken seriously.

Political sensitivity and action are a natural byproduct of “engaging the world, changing the world.” The stronger the pedagogical base, the more effective the political pathway if the latter is chosen. In this context, our work on deep learning is critical to a more informed and democratic future in dealing with the increasing disrespect for evidence. Is it an accident that those who eschew evidence in relation to their self-serving ideological pursuits seem to disrespect and disinvest in high-quality education that is designed to develop effective problem-solvers. Students in Ontario are serving notice that governments will be held to the same standards of evidence that that they themselves expect as students of a high-quality education system.

Additionally, environments are deteriorating. One item of particular significance is the relentless increase of inequity. We have found that deep learning is good for all students but is particularly good for students who are disaffected. In this domain, the pedagogical and political pathways can combine as a particularly powerful combination. Deep learning students are needed as part of determining societal solutions. The combination of deep learning (the pedagogical pathway) and political action (the political pathway) may turn out to be the strongest force we have ever seen in the cause of social justice and high-quality education essential for the rest of the 21st century.

Michael Fullan, O.C., is the global leadership director, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and a worldwide authority on educational reform with a mandate of helping to achieve the moral purpose of all children learning.

A former dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto, Michael advises policymakers and local leaders around the world to provide leadership in education. Michael received the Order of Canada in December 2012. He holds honorary doctorates from several universities in North America and abroad.

For more information from our team, see: Fullan, Quinn and McEachen, Deep Learning: Engage the World Change the World (Corwin  2018), and Dive Into Deep Learning: Tools for Engagement. Quinn, McEachen, Fullan, Gardner & Drummy, Corwin, in press).

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The Principalship has Changed:
2020 Here We Come!

Principal Connections
Fall 2018, Volume 22, Issue 1

Michael Fullan


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The Fast Track to
Sustainable Turnaround

Educational Leadership
March 2018

Michael Fullan & Michelle Pinchot


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Bringing the Profession Back In:
Call to Action

Published by Learning Forward, this 12-page article, written by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves is a call to action. Building on the Canada study, Fullan and Hargreaves outline an argument for meaningful professional learning and development. They conclude with actions for teachers, systems, and Canada to take to establish a culture of collaborative professionalism.

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Developing Humanity:
Education’s Emerging Role

This 3-page article, written by Michael Fullan for Principal Connections, the Catholic Principals’ Council, addresses declining student engagement in traditional classrooms, the lure of the digital world, and millennials’ motivation to help humanity. The new leadership required is emerging at the school, district and system levels, in part through the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) and six factors outlined in the article.

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Snip20160727_2Inside-Out and Downside-Up: Global Think Piece (February)

The Global Dialogue Think Piece, by Michael Fullan and Steve Munby,  was written to stimulate participants at the Global Dialogue Webinar  to debate the challenges and opportunities presented by cluster-based school collaboration when used as a vehicle for school improvement. Following the Global Dialogue event that took place on February 11, 2016, Fullan and Munby updated their paper to reflect reaction and input from John Hattie, Viviane Robinson and hundreds of other school teachers and leaders.

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Global Jan coverInside-Out and Downside-Up: Global Think Piece (January)

This Global Dialogue Think Piece, by Michael Fullan and Steve Munby,  was written to stimulate participants at the Global Dialogue Webinar  to debate the challenges and opportunities presented by cluster-based school collaboration when used as a vehicle for school improvement.

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Snip Helping HumanityWhy Helping Humanity Should Be Core to Learning

Education research is showing that students are intergenerational change agents and this concept is captured brilliantly in Michael’s new article published in Moving America Forward and NationSwell.

Michael explores the relationship between ‘push’ and ‘pull’ forces in education and explains how helping clusters and networks of schools to implement deep learning outcomes is building momentum. The article is based on a previous report with Maria Langworthy called, A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning which was published by Pearson in 2014 and Michael’s current work with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning.

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Professional Capital as Accountability

This paper by Michael Fullan, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, and Andy Hargreaves was published by the Education Policy Analysis Archives as one of their ‘Special Series’. It seeks to clarify and spells out the responsibilities of policymakers to create the conditions for an effective accountability system that produces substantial improvements in student learning, strengthens the teaching profession, and provides transparency of results to the public. The authors point out that U.S. policy makers will need to make a major shift from a heavy reliance on external accountability and superficial structural solutions (e.g., professional standards of practice) to investing in and building the professional capital of all teachers and leaders throughout the system. The article draws key lessons from highly effective school systems in the United States and internationally to argue that the priority for policy makers should be to lead with creating the conditions for internal accountability, that is, the collective responsibility within the teaching profession for the continuous improvement and success of all students. This approach is based on the development and circulation of professional capital that consists of three components: individual human capital, social capital (where teachers learn from each other), and decisional capital (developing judgment and expertise over time). In this new professional accountability model, the external accountability that reassures the public that the system is performing in line with societal expectations continues to be an important role of educational systems, but it is nurtured and sustained by the development of strong internal accountability.

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Snip Leadership from the MiddleLeadership from the Middle: A System Strategy

EDUCATION CANADA • December 2015 | Canadian Education Association

The focus of this article, is “Leadership from the Middle” (LftM), first identified by Hargreaves and Braun4 in their evaluation of the implementation of a special education initiative in Ontario.

The middle consists of school districts or clusters of schools. The article shows how districts, individually and collectively can be a force for local and state change. Thus, it gives the middle a major role in shaping implementation, and achieving greater coherence.

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Snip California coverCalifornia’s Golden Opportunity: LCAP’s Theory of Action

California’s Local Control and Accountability Plan: Problems and Corrections

This is the third commentary under the title of California’s Golden Opportunity published by Michael Fullan and others and supported by the Stuart Foundation. The three notes are:

1. California’s Golden Opportunity: A Status Note (November 2014)

2. A Golden Opportunity: The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence as a Force for Positive Change (January 2015)

3. California’s Golden Opportunity: LCAP’s Theory of Action—Problems and Corrections (July 2015)

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Jan 2015 California ReleaseA Golden Opportunity: The California Collaborative for Educational Excellence as a Force for Positive Change

California Forward releases A Golden Opportunity: The California Collaborative for Education Excellence as a Force for Positive Change, prepared in partnership with internationally acclaimed education reform practitioner Michael Fullan.  The paper suggests considerations for the recently created California Collaborative for Educational Excellence.

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Snip Status NoteCalifornia’s Golden Opportunity – Status Note

November 2014

This note is for all those committed to and interested in how California can improve its education performance statewide over the next four years—improvements across the entire system and all of its levels. We believe that there are enough forces aligned to make this result a distinct possibility. The actions and coordinated efforts we outline in this paper are practical and realistic. Our team is working in partnership with a number of groups at all levels of the state. It will be the internal leadership within the state that will lead and cause the change to happen. We are fortunate and proud to be participants in this unprecedented endeavor. This is indeed a golden opportunity for system transformation that occurs once in a lifetime at best.

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Education Plus - July 2014Education Plus: New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Whitepaper

Michael Fullan and Geoff Scott co-authored the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning Whitepaper: Education PLUS.

Published by: Collaborative Impact SPC, Seattle, Washington
July 2014

For more information about New Pedagogies for Deep Learning visit
© 2014 Collaborative Impact

Creative Commons Attribution‐ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Rich SeamA Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

The report by Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy is the first in a new series of publications published by Pearson. It addresses the challenges encountered when trying to implement new pedagogies on a large scale as well as providing examples of changes happening in classrooms, in schools and across a few education systems. Foreword by Sir Michael Barber.

Pearson, January 2014

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JSD Power of Professional CapitalThe Power of Professional Capital

Co-authored with Andy Hargreaves, the article is adapted from a keynote address at Learning Forward’s Annual Conference, Boston, December 2012.

JSD, Vol 34, No 3, June 2013

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New PedagogyCommentary—The New Pedagogy: Students and Teachers as Learning Partners

LEARNing Landscapes, Vol 6, No 2, Spring 2013

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New PedagogiesThe New Pedagogy: Students and Teachers as Learning Partners

Michael Fullan and Maria Langworthy, On behalf of The Global Partnership, June 2013

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Alive in the swampAlive in the Swamp: Assessing Digital Innovations in Education

Co-authored with Katelyn Donnelly, Affordable Learning Fund at Pearson, this report is published by Nesta in the UK and NewSchools in the US.

Alive in the Swamp provides an actionable guide to learning technology that will allow founders, funders, and teachers to make better decisions. It identifies persistent gaps in innovation activity and points to what needs to be done if we are to finally make good on the promise of technology to transform learning. We argue that we should seek digital innovations that produce at least twice the learning outcome for half the cost of our current tools, and to achieve this, three forces need to come together. One is technology, the second is pedagogy, and the third is change knowledge, or how to secure transformation across an entire school system.

The core of the report is the development of an Index that brings these three elements together, and which allows us to systematically evaluate new digital innovations.  We hope that the Index will be used to guide decision making, policy making and innovation effort.

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great to excellentGreat to Excellent: Launching the Next Stage of Ontario’s Education Agenda

As Special Advisor to the Premier of Ontario, Michael Fullan reviews key aspects of the nine year journey working with Premier Dalton McGuinty and sets the stage for the next phase.

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21st century - looking forwardIn Conversation – 21st Century Leadership: Looking Forward

An interview with Michael Fullan- Volume IV, Issue 1 – Fall 2012

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lead the changeLead the Change Series, Q&A with Michael Fullan

AERA Educational Change Special Interest Group – Issue No. 16 – February 2012

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What america can learn from ontarioWhat America Can Learn from Ontario

Michael Fullan – 2 pages

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revivingReviving Teaching with ‘Professional Capital’

M. Fullan and A. Hargreaves in Education Weekly – 3 pages

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choosing driverChoosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform (Summary)

Michael Fullan – 6 pages

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Coaches as System Leaders

Michael Fullan and Jim Knight
Educational Leadership
October 2011 | Volume 69 | Number 2
Coaching: The New Leadership Skill Pages 50-53
6 pages

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driving changeDriving Change Starts with Ignoring Advice on How to Drive Change

Harvey Schacter in The Globe and Mail  – September 2011 – 4 pages

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Whole SystemWhole System Reform for Innovative Teaching and Learning

Michael Fullan – October 2011 – 5 pages

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choosing driver - fullChoosing the Wrong Drivers for Whole System Reform

Michael Fullan – May 2011 – 22 pages

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Learning is the workLearning is the Work

Michael Fullan – May 2011 – 7 pages

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motivate the massesMotivate the Masses: Experiencing is Believing

Michael Fullan – September 2011 – 8 pages

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FACESPutting FACES on the Data – What Great Leaders do!

Journal of Staff Development (JSD) – Lyn Sharratt & Michael Fullan – December 2011 – 14 pages

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CapacityCapacity Building for Whole System Reform

Michael Fullan and Joanne Quinn – 2010 – 5 pages

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Refelctions on the change leadership landscapeReflections on the Change Leadership Landscape

Michael Fullan and Alan Boyle – Prepared for the National College for School Leadership – 2010 – 14 pages

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Power of the PrincipalThe Awesome Power of the Principal

National Association of Elementary School Principals – March/April 2010 – 4 pages

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Role of the DistrictThe Role of the District in Tri-Level Reform

International Encyclopedia of Educational Change – 2010 – 9 pages

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Positive PressurePositive Pressure

Second International Handbook of Education Change – 2010 – 14 pages

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BIG IdeasThe Big Ideas Behind Whole System Reform

Canadian Education Association – 2010 – 4 pages

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Breakthrough - Deepening Pedagogial ImprovementBreakthrough: Deepening Pedagogical Improvement

Article prepared for Myth, Rhetoric, and Ideology in Eastern European Education – 2009 – 12 pages
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Problem of Incomplete Leadership DevelopmentThe Problem of Incomplete Leadership Development

Michael Fullan – 2009 – 12 pages
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Personalized LearningPersonalized Learning

Michael Fullan – 2009 – 13 pages
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Leaders Grown from StressesLeaders Grown from Stresses

Times Education Supplement – April 2009 – 2 pages
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Large scale reformLarge-Scale Reform Comes of Age

Times Education Supplement – Journal of Educational Change – April 2009 – 13 pages
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Fundamentals of Whole System ReformThe Fundamentals of Whole-System Reform: A Case Study from Canada

Michael Fullan and Ben Levin – Education Week – June 2009 – 3 pages
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Have TheoryHave Theory Will Travel

Change Wars – 2008 – 19 pages
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Education for Continous ImprovementEducation for Continuous Improvement

Patio-Revista Pedagogica – 2008 – 8 pages
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Chinese ConnectionsStrategies for Education Reform: Chinese Connections

Dream Beyond the Pacific – Special education publication to commemorate the Beijing Summer Olympics – 2008 – 8 pages
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School LeadershipSchool Leadership’s Unfinished Agenda

Education Week – 2008 – 6 pages
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Purposful Action at WorkPurposeful Action at Work

Introduction to Challenge of Change – 2008 – 12 pages
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From School Efectiveness toFrom School Effectiveness to System Improvement

Journal für Schulentwicklung – 2008 – 12 pages
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Energizing Ontario Education - SummaryEnergizing Ontario Education: Summary

Ontario Ministry of Education – Summary Report – Winter 2008 – 2 pages
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Energizing Ontario Education - FullEnergizing Ontario Education

Ontario Ministry of Education – Full Report – Winter 2008 – 16 pages
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White Paper on EducationWhite Paper on Education: Reaching Every Student – A Smarter Ontario

Michael Fullan – 2007 – 15 pages
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Teaching EffectivenessTeaching Effectiveness: Expanding the Solution

Regional Educational Laboratory – Midwest Summit on Connecting Teaching and Leading – 2007 – 11 pages
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Teachers DebateTeachers for Teacher Excellence Debate

Michael Fullan – 2007 – 6 pages
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A Literacy Leadership Tool Kit – 2007 – 3 pages
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Change is in the airChange is in the Air

Connected – Summer 2007 – 2 pages
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Change The TermsChange the Terms for Teacher Learning

National Staff Development Council – Summer 2007 – 2 pages
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Ontario Pins HopesOntario Pins Hopes on Practices, Not Testing, to Achieve

Education Week – October 2007 – 5 pages
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Assessment for LearningCritical Learning Instructional Path: Assessment for Learning in Action

Carmel Crévola, Peter Hill, and Michael Fullan – Orbit Magazine – 2006 – 5 pages
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Change TheoryChange Theory: A Force for School Improvement

Centre for Strategic Education Seminar – Series Paper – November 2006 – 5 pages
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Leading Professional LearningLeading Professional Learning

The School Administrator – November 2006 – 5 pages
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Unlocking Potential - ReportUnlocking Potential for Learning: Project Report

Co-authored with Carol Campbell – The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat – Ministry of Education Ontario – May 2006 – 35 pages
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Quality LeadershipQuality Leadership <-> Quality Learning

Paper prepared for the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) – 2006 – 24 pages
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Unlocking Potential - Case StudyUnlocking the Potential for Learning: Case Study Report

Keewatin-Patricia District School Board
Co-authored with Carol Campbell and Avis Glaze
The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat
Ministry of Education Ontario
2006 – 31 pages
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8 Forces8 Forces for Leaders of Change

Michael Fullan, Claudia Cuttress, Ann Kilcher – JSD, Fall 2005, Vol.26, No. 4 – 6 pages
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Resiliency and SustainabilityResiliency and Sustainability

The School Administrator – February 2005 – 3 pages
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PLC Write LargeProfessional Learning Communities Write Large

Chapter in ‘On Common Ground’ by R. Dufour, Robert Eaker, Rebecca Dufour (Eds).Bloomington, Indiana, National Education Service pp. 209-223.
2005 – 10 pages
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Systems Thinkers In ActionSystem Thinkers in Action: Moving Beyond the the Standards Plateau

Forward by David Hopkins – Innovation Department for Education and Skills, UK National College for School Leadership, UK – December 2004 – 24 pages
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The Tri Level SolutionThe Tri-Level Solution: School/District/State Synergy

Education Analyst–Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education – Winter 2004 – 2 pages
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Leadership across the systemLeadership Across the System

Insight – Winter 2004 – 4 pages
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Grade ExpectationsGrade Expectations

Article published in Toronto Life magazine – October 2004 – 4 pages
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School BritanniaSchool Britannia

Article in The Globe and Mail – May 2004
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New Lessons for Districtwide ReformNew Lessons for Districtwide Reform

Co-authored with Al Bertani and Joanne Quinn for Educational Leadership – April 2004
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Core PrinciplesCore Principles as a Means of Deepening Large Scale Reform

Paper prepared for the Department for Education Skills – December 2003 – 16 pages
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Using Data in Leadership for LearningUsing Data in Leadership for Learning

Article co-authored with Lorna Earl for Cambridge Journal of Education – November 2003 – 12 Pages
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Hope for LeadershipThe Hope for Leadership in the Future

July 2003 – 6 pages
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The Schools We NeedThe Schools We Need

A policy audit of education policies in Ontario commissioned by the Atkinson Foundation – January 2003 – 16 pages
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Principals as LeadersPrincipals as Leaders in a Culture of Change

Paper prepared for Educational Leadership, Special Issue – March 2002 – 16 pages
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The Three Stories of Education ReformThe Three Stories of Education Reform

Paper prepared for Kappan Professional Journal – April 2002 – 9 pages
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The ChangeThe Change Leader

Article prepared for Educational Leadership – May 2002 – 6 pages
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Moral Purpose Writ LargeSpiritual Leadership: Moral Purpose Write Large

Paper prepared for the University of Toronto – School Administrator – June 2002 – 8 pages
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Leadership and SustainabilityLeadership and Sustainability

Paper prepared for the National Association of Secondary School Principals – December 2002 – 9 pages
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Accomplishing Large Scale ReformAccomplishing Large Scale Reform: A Tri-Level Proposition

Unpublished paper with Carol Rolheiser, Blair Mascall, Karen Edge – November 2001 – 26 pages
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Implementing ChangeImplementing Change at the Building Level

Paper prepared for W. Owings and L. Kaplan (eds.) – August 2001 – 8 pages
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Whole school reformWhole School Reform: Problems and Promises

Paper commissioned by the Chicago Community Trust – June 2001 – 17 pages
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Saving Our SchoolsSaving Our Schools: The Classroom in Crisis

Article in Maclean’s Magazine – May 2001 – 7 pages
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The Role Of The HeadThe Role of the Head in School Reform

Paper prepared for the National College of School Leadership – June 2000 – 7 pages
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The Role Of The PrincipalThe Role of the Principal in School Reform

Paper prepared for the Principals Institute at Bank Street College – November 2000 – 24 pages
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Technology and The Problem of ChangeTechnology and the Problem of Change

Paper prepared with Gerry Smith (River Oaks Public School) – December 1999 – 17 pages
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School-Based ManagementSchool-based Management: Reconceptualizing to Improve Learning Outcomes

Paper prepared with Nancy Watson for The World Bank: “Improving Learning…” – August 1999 – 32 pages

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Educational Reform as Continuous Improvement

Paper prepared for the Keys Resource Book, NEA – November 1998 – 14 pages
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Education ReformEducational Reform: Are We on the Right Track?

Paper prepared for the Canadian education Association – Fall 1998 – 7 pages
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Leadership for the 21st CenturyLeadership for the 21st Century: Breaking the Bonds of Dependency

Paper prepared for “Education Leadership” – April 1998 – 6 pages
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Systematic ReformCoordinating Top-Down and Bottom-Up Strategies for Educational Reform

Paper prepared for “Systemic Reform” – September 1994 – 7 pages
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Why Teachers Must Become Change AgentsWhy Teachers Must Become Change Agents

Paper prepared for “Educational Leadership” – March 1993 – 13 pages
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