The 80/20 Rule
I recently posted the Five Reasons School Improvement Plans Fail, a cautionary tale featuring the dark side of school improvement. While I think the post offers a good analysis on the common pitfalls of school reform – thanks to DuFour and Eaker, I am not entirely comfortable with the post. It highlighted pitfalls without shaping strategies for avoiding them. The first strategy that came to mind is the 80/20 Rule also known as Pareto’s Principle.
The 80/20 Rule - “20 percent of something is always responsible for 80 percent of the results.”
Think about how school teams spend their time.
- How many hours do they spend writing the plan?
- How many school improvement team meetings do they have after the plan is completed?
In my experience teams spend about 80% of their time writing school improvement plans and 20% of their time implementing them.
Reframing School Improvement
Pareto’s Principle would suggest the inverse. Teams should be focusing 20% of their effort on identifying the “right” activities and 80% on actually implementing them in meaningful, focused ways.
“Pareto's Principle, the 80/20 Rule, should serve as a daily reminder to focus 80 percent of your time and energy on the 20 percent of you work that is really important. Don't just "work smart", work smart on the right things.”
Click here to see original source from quotes as well as more information on Pareto’s Principle.
Image from eHow: How to Do Just About Anything.