Driving to Distraction

21 Sep

Suddenly everything I am reading about system reform is using the term, “drivers”.

First, is Sir Michael Barber’s book Deliverology 101 – a book about the process of system reform through identifying the “drivers” that either impede or support our efforts in program planning.  It really was helpful for me to go through his step-by-step process in identifying what we are doing, evaluating if it is working, and naming the drivers that are working, or sabotaging the efforts altogether and continues with what to do about it.  Great help.

The next article I pick up is Michael Fullen’s Choosing the Wrong Drivers for System Reform!  Have they been talking?  The beauty of Fullen’s article is, he actually names what he believes are the wrong drivers right up front – unlike Barber who expects us to figure it our for ourselves.  He also lets us know which are the good drivers.  The challenge now is to determine if I agree with Fullen’s list or not:

  1. Accountability: using test results as reward/punishment
  2. Individualism: promoting individuals over groups
  3. Technology: assuming it will work magic on its own (this one really caught my attention, but upon further reading, I have to agree with him completely)
  4. Fragmentation: over integration within the system.
These make sense, but since we don’t give merit pay in Ontario for test results, # 1 falls off my list of worries because I don’t believe we transfer people or punish/reward in any way because of EQAO.  (At least I hope not).
But I think he should have added: too-tight control by the state – I always remember the term: not too tight, not too loose when it comes to letting systems work through reform in ways that reflect their cultures and needs.  I am shocked at how many directives and funds are sent to our board with such tight restrictions included, that may or may not even fit within our organization structure.
I am wondering if I have the steering wheel at all, so why do I worry about drivers?


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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Musings



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