The Crisis of Perception in Education: The Scientific and Historic Evolution of Systemic Educational Reform

Cynthia C. Phillips, Western Michigan University


This study presents a literature synthesis that pertains to the evolution of systemic reform. A hermeneutic and heuristic template illuminates the historical tapestry of educational reform. Examination of the antecedents of four waves of educational reform, indicates that an impending paradigmatic shift parallels and perhaps prompts the evolution of systemic reform. The learning organization metaphor builds the synthesis for the following supposition: the history and philosophy of science drive the construction and deconstruction of mental models held by society. The crisis of perception alludes to the possibility that current mental models, established under the Newtonian paradigm, serve to motivate dysfunctional organizational behavior when interpreted through the lens of the emerging quantum paradigm.

This study compares the evolution of systemic educational reform to the nascent practice of the learning organization disciplines. Metamorphosis of organizational metaphors and natural selection of appropriate mental models contribute to the episodic evolution of educational movement.