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Iowas Blueprint Pickering Response

Iowas Blueprint Pickering Response

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Published by Patrick Hogan

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Published by: Patrick Hogan on Oct 24, 2011
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10/24/2011

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Iowa’s Education Blueprint:Can It Create a Learning System for Iowa to Lead in theInnovation Age?
A Response to and Recommendation for Improving Upon the Proposed IowaBlueprintDr. Trace D. PickeringOctober 24, 2011
 
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Executive Summary
Iowa’s proposed Education Blueprint has created much needed conversation, debate,and discussion. It contains some progressive, interesting, and hopeful ideas for movingIowa education forward. Despite these positives, the blueprint is fundamentally flawed bythe inadequate vision it outlines and the muddled understanding and application of systems theory it uses.The Innovation Age is upon us requiring Iowans to completely re-think and re-prioritize the education we provide to the future leaders and doers of our state. TheUnited States created the greatest Industrial Age public education system in the world byusing the best systems thinking of the time – the factory/machine model. The results werephenomenal: America became the greatest economic and military superpower in theworld; and Iowans led in creating high-performing schools for that world.Today, America faces a set of daunting, “wicked” problems that cannot be solved byapplying the systems thinking and methodologies of the past. Iowa must lead once againby redesigning the very foundations of our learning system to meet the new realities of the Innovation Age using more appropriate and relevant systems thinking methodology.Getting “on par” with other nations has never been an American ideal. We havealways been the trailblazers and we must once again blaze a new trail, not by focusing oncreating a more improved vehicle like “world-class schools” but by forging a very newvision like, “unfolding the potential of every child.” This paper asks and providespreliminary answers and actions to the question: What would a learning system thatproduced the unfolding of every child’s potential look like? The answers to this questionwill define the structures and processes needed to redesign the “school” we want tocreate.Iowa must develop a rationale and roadmap for redesigning schools through theapplication of today’s best systems thinking – the only type of thinking equipped to dealwith the set of wicked problems we face. By utilizing the best organizational thinking of the day, we can re-position and re-conceptualize the wonderful ideas of the blueprint intoactionable items that methodically create and define what a learning system looks like forthe Innovation Age rather than simply “getting on par” with other nations.
 
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Table of Contents
 Iowa’s Education Blueprint:............................................................................................1Executive Summary........................................................................................................2Table of Contents............................................................................................................3Preface............................................................................................................................4Author’s Assumptions.....................................................................................................5Context and the Problems We Face.................................................................................7Where We Stand Today.............................................................................................11Vision, not Vehicle........................................................................................................13Designing Our Preferred Future.....................................................................................16Challenging Assumptions & Moving Beyond “What Is”............................................17Creating Design Specifications..................................................................................21Creating Images of Possible Structures and Processes................................................22Creating Symbolic Models of the Design...................................................................23Approximating a Design............................................................................................25The Blueprint: A Mix of Hope and Peril........................................................................27A Call to Action............................................................................................................33Conclusion....................................................................................................................34Bibliography.................................................................................................................36Appendix A: A Brief Comparison of the Systems Orientations Related to Education.....38Appendix B: What an idealized learning system would produce for stakeholders..........40Appendix C: An Example of Life in an Innovation Age School.....................................42Acknowledgements.......................................................................................................44Disclaimer.....................................................................................................................44About the Author...........................................................................................................44

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