you're reading...
Leadership and Activism

Policy, Systems, and Environmental Changes

Over the past year and a half, I have been focused on catalyzing policy, systems, and environmental changes in schools. This is a public health framework for creating population-level change. The thinking is if there is a speeding problem on a particular road there are two likely approaches to reduce speeding. The first is educational–try to get pamphlets into all the neighborhood mailboxes about how speeding degrades the roads, puts children at risk, etc.; post speed limit signs, even hold classes to help people understand the risks of speeding. This process is rather long, labor intensive, and typically has low return. The other approach is install a speed bump. Now after only a few hours of work and relatively low capital investment, the majority of drivers will slow down.

In schools this has meant things like changing what food comes in through the back door of the cafeteria, building school gardens, changing schedules to allow for more time out of chairs, improving wellness policies to support these changes and more.

What I want to know from the co-op is what policy, system, and environmental changes would create sustainable change to promote authentic and student-centered learning?

About Adam Burk

Adam aims to serve the greater good; alleviate unnecessary suffering; and create beautiful, sane human communities in concert with the living planet. Recently, he has helped to rebuild local food systems in Maine in large part through school food services, organized the TEDxDirigo conference, and is a digital organizer with the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA).


One thought on “Policy, Systems, and Environmental Changes

  1. My thoughts so far:

    • States replace high-stakes testing with standards-based portfolio sampling.
    • Higher education overhauls its cynical admissions practices.
    • Testing, textbook, paper, and consumable budgets all get the axe before any other budget cuts can be made.
    • Teachers give up school-provided furniture, materials, space, and technology and get a lump sum annual salary and budget for creating a learning space/experience based on the number of students with which they ended the previous school year.
    • Administrators and teachers become subject to elections.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | September 14, 2011, 5:44 pm

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,103 other followers

Comments are subject to moderation.

%d bloggers like this: