Changing the FBI

J.J. Brazil’s article “Mission: Impossible?” details the pace of change going on within the FBI’s IT Department has some interesting parallels with the pace of change in education. I am sitting here reading this article thinking to myself that the descriptions that Brazil is using to describe the pace of change within the FBI and the obstacles to that change have direct counterparts in schools.

Here are a few samples:

People who know the FBI best–including many who’ve spent their careers
there–would say that its culture, leadership philosophy, and links to
the political arena make major change in “the bureau,” as it is also
known, highly improbable. It is, they argue, just too entrenched, too
bureaucratic, too rigid, too old, too slow to understand and execute
the scale and sweep of change that needs to happen.

And speaking directly of the human resources within the FBI:

It possesses impressive pools of talent, determination, tools, and
dedication. But it tends to be a risk-averse, plodding, highly
politicized work environment with a bunker mentality that doesn’t
easily absorb outside criticism and input.

It looks to me that the large-scale change in any organization dependent on bureaucracy is more than just throwing laptops at employees or changing a policy. It looks like it’s also a salesman’s job. But it also draws positive comparisons when we look at the quality of the employees in the two professions.

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