Fragmentation affects the internal operations of individual education organizations as well as collaboration across a state’s education entities, including state and district agencies. It is a consequence of disconnected communication, bureaucratic obstacles and competing or redundant efforts—amongst a breadth of other issues.
Our disconnected approaches are holding us back from addressing inequity and creating a better public education system. Too many policies and processes in agencies are created in isolation and evolve without an aligned set of priorities. They ultimately clash and create more tension across agencies, from the state to district level.
Because of fragmentation, new and promising initiatives often fail.
There is often confusion, frustration and a lack of common purpose in program areas placing the heaviest burdens on schools and classrooms to integrate disparate initiatives.
Without recognizing and addressing fragmentation as a fundamental barrier to progress, inequities in education will only grow, hurting students the most.
These fundamental issues cannot be solved in siloes or with one-off solutions. We must come together as public education professionals to address problems in a new way, with a concerted effort to replace underlying barriers and silos with clarity and shared priorities.
Coherence is an approach and mindset that consciously addresses fragmentation, shapes successful policies and solutions and restores the sense of shared purpose that has brought so many people to work in public education: to create a better learning experience for all students. In our definition of coherence, equity is established and understood as a core part of the narrative and concept. There is no coherent system without equity.
Coherence takes an agency specific and system wide perspective to identify problems and solutions, improve collaboration and communication between stakeholders, and build an intentional focus on equity into processes and decisions.
Coherent systems emerge when state and local education officials, school administrators, educators and local communities are involved in shaping decisions. When we work in coherent ways, our policies and solutions are much more likely to do what they’re meant to do and produce equitable outcomes for all students.
By integrating coherence into our everyday thinking, education leaders are in a better position to develop stronger practices and processes that work, despite the complex nature of the public education system.
Coherence is equity focused. It is collaborative. Most importantly, it is effective. We have an opportunity to rethink how we’re creating solutions that improve education for every student.