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The Human Side of School Change: Reform, Resistance, and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation



The Human Side of School Change: Reform, Resistance, and the Real-Life Problems of Innovation

Robert Evans

ISBN: 978-0-787-95611-0 January 2001 Jossey-Bass 336 Pages


In this insightful look at school reform, Robert Evans examines the real-life hurdles to implementing innovation and explains how the best-intended efforts can be stalled by educators who too often feel burdened and conflicted by the change process. He provides a new model of leadership along with practical management strategies for building a framework of cooperation between leaders of change and the people they depend upon to implement it.

Changing Paradigms.

The Meanings of Change.

The Culture of Resistance.


Implementation: Tasks of Transition.

Substance: New Agendas, Old Problems.

Staff: Understanding Reluctant Faculty.

Setting: Assessing Organizational Capacity.

Leadership: Old Paradoxes, New Promise.


The Authentic Leader.

Clarity and Focus: The Power of Concentration.

Participation -- Without Paralysis.

Recognition: Reversing the Golden Rule.

Confrontation: Avoiding Avoidance.

Reach and Realism, Experience and Hope.
"A unique, superb, and penetrating analysis of the human side of educational change. Evans knows the human realities of change and portrays them vividly in both individual and organizational terms. His discussion of hope and realism in the final chapter is a gem." (Michael Fullan, dean, Faculty of Education, University of Toronto)

"Evans certainly understands what gets in the way of real school change and what the simple, key elements are that can make it happen. No board member, superintendent, or school principal should make one more decision or host one more meeting without reading this book." (Judy Cunningham, principal, South Lake Middle School, Irvine, Calif.)

Evans has written a realistic yet hopeful book that sets a new standard for providing the leadership needed to implement school improvements. An engaging and much-needed update of the critical, but often overlooked, human side of change. (Thomas J. Sergiovanni, Lillian Radford Professor of Education and senior fellow, Center for Educational Leadership, Trinity University)

School leaders will find this book realistic about the difficulties of change, rich in practical advice about school improvement, and useful in showing how to transcend the limits of their own experience to practice effective leadership. (Thomas W. Payzant, superintendent, Boston Public Schools)