Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Lusi, S. F. (1997). The role of state departments of education in complex school reform. New York: Teachers College Press.

State departments of education play a pivotal role in the implementation of state-level school reform. Lusi uses in-depth case studies of two models of statewide school reformÑKentucky and VermontÑto examine the role of state departments of education (SDEs) in the reform process. These two states are attempting to change curriculum, assessment, and governance, among other things. Lusi reviews the literature on systemic reform, bureaucracies, and innovative organizations, and develops a framework of the changes expected when SDEs are successfully implementing complex reforms. The framework is then applied to the two case studies to examine the activity in each state and to judge the consequences of that activity. Lusi concludes that contextual factors are important in influencing the actions of the SDEs; that the internal organizational structure of the SDE influences the reform; that the leadership of the SDE matters; that complex reform requires an active SDE role; that local practitioners seek a more active involvement of SDE staff in the schools; and that regulatory roles on the part of SDEs may be counterproductive in some situations. Lusi articulates the problems faced by SDEs in complex school reform and presents a number of recommendations.

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