SCHOOL TO WORK AND ITS USE OF CHANGE AGENTS
Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 2 Chronicles 36:14-16
It always amazed me how quickly Israel turned away from God, time and time again, in the Old Covenant. I did not understand how people so blessed by God could so quickly abandon Him. I do now. I see it every day. When churches, Christian organizations, and Christian schools, colleges, and universities begin to seek for world unity through consensus they are doing what Israel did when it abandoned God and turned to the wisdom of man for its daily guidance.
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, how long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. AND THE PEOPLE ANSWERED HIM NOT A WORD. (I Kings 18:21) There are only two opinions, God's and mans. God's opinion is not dialogueable, man's is. So what are we doing dialoguing God's Word? This is heresy. We can only say, as Jesus did in the wilderness, "It is written. . ." on matters of God's opinion. We can not say "I think…" or "I feel… ." By doing so, we end up using human reasoning to deviate God's Word from His purpose to use it for ours. To do so means that deviancy is now the norm, that facts (God's facts) are relative to man's felt needs, and that change (heresy) is absolute. This is Baal worship.
And what concord [harmony] hath Christ with Belial? 2 Corinthians 6:15. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other. . .Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24 [C]hoose you this day whom ye will serve . . . Joshua 24:15. The Church is worshiping Baal when it meets at the altar of consensus. The silence from the Church, its lack of response to the compromise being promoted in OBE, TQM, and STW, is the same silence Elijah heard in his day.
SCHOOL TO WORK AND ITS USE OF CHANGE AGENTS
During 1996, the Tulsa, Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce held a series of meetings on School to Work. Dr. Oliver, then Dean of Education at Oral Roberts University, facilitated many of these meetings. The final meeting I attended was interesting in that I had the opportunity to confront Dr. Oliver on the dangers of School to Work. It resulted in the provost of ORU calling my supervisor and suggesting that I no longer be allowed to teach at ORU, stating that I "may have hindered ORU's participation in Goals 2000."
On the handout of that final meeting three authors were recognized as foundational to the cause of School to Work. Thomas J. Sergiovanni was one of them. In his book, Handbook for Effective Department Leadership Sergiovanni gives the many different names used for change agent environments: "Self-renewal programs, organizational development, professional growth plans, and staff development activities." Teachers take part in change agent environments "in workshops at teacher centers, in educational program evaluation, and in target-setting programs."
According to Sergiovanni the chairperson needs to know as well as understand how change takes place and when to take the role of a direct change agent or a change facilitator. When "working directly to bring about change" the direct change role is used. When "helping others to bring about change" the change facilitator role is used. This later role, change facilitator, is to help teachers to become change agents themselves.
Both roles, direct change agent and change facilitator, are related in nature and therefore are "tendencies of use" dependent upon a given situation.
"[T]he level of acceptance required from teachers in order for proposed changes to occur successfully" determines when to use a direct change agent or a change facilitator role. According to Sergiovanni, the chairman usually knows more about the direct change agent role than the change facilitator's role. The direct change agent role follows the sequence of gaining a position of authority, collecting information on those to be changed so they know what is to be changed as well as why it is to be changed, developing a strategy to accomplish the change desired from the teachers, devising a means of communication to accomplish the change, and establishing new training methods and support systems to continue the change process.
Sergiovanni refers to Reddin's change-acceptance scale to identify the level of acceptance required from teachers if change is to take place. The scale ranges from 0-sabotage to 8-commitment:
0 sabotage facilitator role
1 slow-down facilitator role
2 protest facilitator role
3 apathy direct change agent role
4 indifference direct change agent role
5 acceptance direct change agent role
6 support facilitator role
7 cooperation facilitator role
8 commitment facilitator role
The suggestion by Sergiovanni is that facilitators be used on the top and bottom end of the scale and the direct change agent role be used in the middle. If the top end is too hostile he suggests postponing any meetings until better conditions develop later.
Sergiovanni's concern is beyond the structural change of the school system. His concern includes internalized changes made by the teacher—"in what teachers believe and how they behave." He quotes Sizer in regards to the importance of changing teachers if changes in education are to take place. "Any theory of school reform must start with teachers: they control the system. Subtle matters—their self-esteem, pride, loyalty, commitment—are crucial."
Sergiovanni builds his foundation for the change facilitator's role on Chris Argyris and his theory of intervention. Intervention requires the collection of valid information to base the change on. This is what I call thesis interrogation. Here listening skills are required, not traditional listening skills where the person asking the questions is seeking facts on which to change himself, but rather transformational listening skills based upon detecting the conflict between the facts and feelings of the person answering the questions. In this way the change facilitator has the information required to bring his "client" into cognitive dissonance and start them on the pathway of internalizing change.
After the valid information has been collected, the change facilitator is now able to take the teacher into the second condition of free, informed choice. This procedure allows the environment of change to be free of restraining factors so the client, teachers in this case, can feel free to express themselves (discreetness) while keeping their individual dignity (autonomy).
The last stage, internal commitment to do the process of change, is the outcome desired: where all teachers participate in promoting the process. Therefore the process of change becomes self-perpetuating among the teaching staff itself. The process of change is not accomplished until the internal commitment of the school community (culture) is towards perpetuating the process of change. Any teacher who refuses to go along with the process of change faces the horrible experience of alienation by their peers.
Through the use of relationship building techniques, engineered by the change agent/facilitator, the traditional structure of teaching is being replaced with a new structure, today referred to as transformational outcome-based education. Those who resist such change are defined as 0 to 2 on the list above. Reddin has a change-reaction checklist to help the change agent/facilitator best know how to categorize (restraining forces-driving forces) and thus better respond to those who resist. His list helps place the resistor on the force field analysis chart as developed by Kurt Lewin. Thus the resistor is more easily processed by the change agent/facilitator.
Sergiovanni recognizes the work done by Warren Bennis, a major change agent researcher, as essential to understanding the process of change and what pitfalls to avoid. Bennis transformed the State University of New York "from a sleepy university" to the "Berkeley of the East." He gives some warnings concerning who and what to watch out for when bringing change to a client system. Bennis's book The Planning of Change (2nd ed.) is a major source of information on how change takes place in controlled environments.
James B. MacDonald's article "Helping Teachers Change," in James Rath's book The Supervisor: Agent for Change in Teaching covers the ethics of change. Change is acceptable as long as it is done in a "democratic" environment. He writes, "Teaching is a complex integration of behaviors and single behavior chains cannot profitably be integrated onto the teacher's behavioral system." Change can only fairly take place from a selection of options. Change is not to be set by and outside of the person desiring change but by the conditions of needs, perceptions, readiness, and motivation of the individual.
Sergiovanni then builds on the work of Kenneth Benne "Democratic Ethics and Social Engineering." Progressive Education, vol 27, no 7 (1949); 204. It should be noted that this article is also found in the book Human Relations in Curriculum Change, edited by Kenneth Benne. Human Relations is a major work on how to use curriculum to change not only teachers, but children, administrators, parents, and the community. It covers all the basics of what is going on in education (OBE), work (TQM), and government (STW) as well as Church Growth.
When one considers all the material being printed on how to change the beliefs and values of teachers, parents, workers, and leaders, it becomes apparent we are in the midst of a major religious war. The only problem is, the traditional American has not caught on yet. "In God We Trust" is being replaced with "In Man as god we trust."
Teachers are caught in the middle of this war. Teaching is an honorable profession. The problem is not the profession, it is in the method being used by that profession. When we have socio-psychologists manipulating and deceiving teachers, who help shape the minds of the next electing populous, our nation is in great peril. Sam Blumenfeld was right in his book N.E.A. Trojan Horse in American Education when he warned Americans of the dangers of contemporary education.
We need to support good teaching methods and expose bad teaching methods. Unless we do so these change agents will control the lives of our children. America wake up! If you don't soon, you will die in your sleep. You may be dead already.
© Institution for Authority Research, Dean Gotcher 1997-2015