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EA 020 115 

McCune, Shirley D. 

State Strategic Planning. Policy Issues Paper. 

Appalachia Educational Lab., Charleston, W. Va. 

Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), 

Washington, DC. 

Nov 86 



Publication Sales, Appalachia Educational Laboratory, 
Inc., P.O. Box 1348, Charleston, WV 25325 ($4.00). 
Viewpoints (120) 

MF01/PC01 Plus Postage. 

Cooperative Planning; Educational Assessment; 
*Ednicational Change; Educational Trends; Elementary 
Secondary Education; Futures (of Society); Government 
Role; *Long Range Planning; Models; Operations 
Research; *Policy Formation; Program Evaluation; 
Program implementation; State Action; ^Statewide 
Planning; Technological Advancement; Trend 

Strategic planning is a technique that has been 
developed to help managers and leaders address the need for 
organizational transformation in response to societal change. Its 
elements include external environmental scanning, internal capacity 
analysis, participation and involvement, mission and strategic goals, 
implementation/linkage plans, and monitoring and assessment. This 
monograph addresses the need for strategic planning in restructuring 
education to accommodate the societal changes brought about by 
information technology. After an introductory overvisw, the paper 
addresses the use of strategic planning at the state level, 
suggesting that such planning must be coordinated at three levels of 
state leadership: state policy, state program management, and state 
leadership. A typical model of strategic planning involves five 
phases of effort: (1) planning to plan and establishing a climate for 
change; (2) developing the strategic plan; (3) developing 
implementation plans; (4) implementing and monitoring plans; and (5) 
renewing the strategic plan. A brief concluding section discusses 
strategic thinking and the implications of strategic planning and 
related management techniques for state policy, effective management 
of state agencies, the state support system for leadership 
development, training in change management, and building statewide 
consensus. Appended is a discussion of strategic planning in the 
Appalachia Educational Laboratory's region. (TE) 


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State Strategic 

by Shirley D. McCune 

Md-cbntineht Regional Educational 


Aurora, Colorado 

November 1986 


Appalachla Educational Laboratory 

P.O.Box 1348; Chariestpri, WV2S325 

Funded by; 


U.S. Department of Education 

Policy Issues are prepared by the Policy and Planning Center at the 
Appalachia Educational Laboratory in response to specific requests from 
state-level policymakers. The Center's purpose is to provide information 
to decisionmakers as they consider issues. The papers are prepared 
within a quick turnaround and synthesize current thinking and practice on 
the issue. They typically provide a definition of the problem/issue 
area, discuss what is known from research, review what other states are 
doing, and discuss implications for policy. 

The Appalachia Educational Laboratory (AEL) is located in Charleston, 
West Virginia. Its mission is to work with the Region's educators in an 
ongoing R & D-based effort to improve education and educational 
opportunity. To accomplish this mission AEL works toward: 

• the improvement of professional quality, 

• the improvement of curriculum and instruction, 

• the improvement of community support, and 

o the improvement of opportunity for access to quality education 
by all children. 

Information about AEL projects, programs, and services is available by 
contacting the Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Post Office Box 1348, 
Charleston, West Virginia 25325. 

This publication is based on work sponsored wholly or in part by the 
Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U. S. Department of 
Education, under contract number 400-86-0001. Its contents do not 
necessarily reflect the views of OERI, the Department, or any other 
agency of the U. S. Government. 

The Appalachia Educational Laboratory, Inc., is an Equal Opportunity/ 
Affirmative Action Employer. 



Shirley D. McCune 
Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory 
12500 E. Iliff, Suite 201 
Aurora, Colorado 80014 

Prepared for the Policy and Planning Center 
Appalachia Educational Laboratory 

P. O. Box 1348 
Charleston, West Virginia 25325 

November 1986 



Why Strategic Planning?-The Need 
Use of Strategic Planning At State Level 
Implementing Strategic Planning 


State Strategic Planning 

Why Strategic Planning? ~ The Need 

The impact of societal changes and the transformation of our society from 
an industrial to an information society is being felt in every sector and in most 
areas of daily living. We are aware of m?ny of the structural changes in the 
economy, changes in the nature of work, and changes in America's role in the 
v/orld. What we may not recognize, however, is the impact of these larger societal 
changes on the structure and nature of organizations (including schools) and the 
ways that organizations are managed. 

We must reexamine nearly every aspect of organizational life — the mission, 
goals, leadership, activities, financing, decision making,and accountability in light 
of these societal changes. To ignore the need for a reexamination of the 
organization (and the probable consequences, i.e. the need for renewal and 
transformation) is to place the future of the organization at risk. The complex, 
interdependence of change factors along with the accelerated rate of change 
requires that managers, decision makers, policy makers^and leaders find ways of 
understanding and making positive responses to change. The task of organizational 
leadership at all levels is not simply to keep the organization going or to maintain 
the status quo. It is, rather, to develop a vision of the future potential of the 
organization and to "manage" change. 

One of the techniques which has been developed to help managers and 
leaders deal with change and the need for organizational transformation is 
strategic planning. 

Strategic planning extends traditional planning techniques in a number of 
ways. Strategic planning is an effort to evaluate changes in the larger society and 
determine their probable impact on the organization. These changes represent 
threats to and opportunities for the organization. Next, an effort is made to assess 
the capacity of the organization — what it currently does well, what limitations 
exist and what has to happen to build and strengthen the capacity of the 
organization. In this sense, strategic planning is an effort to develop a "match" 
between changed societal conditions and the programs and activities of the 

Achieving this "match" is a long-term process,and strategic planning is a 
process for change and transformation, not simply an event or a plan. Strategic 
planning, therefore, may be described as: 

• a process for change and transformation 

• a method of organizational and community involvement 

• a method of identifying issues and decision making 

• a method of managing programs 

• a way of thinking and responding 




Elements of strategic planning — external environmental scanning, internal 
capacity analysis, participation and involvement, mission and strategic goals, 
implementation/linkage plans, and monitoring and assessment ~ arc not new. What 
is new is their systematic use in a process which begins with some sense of the 
need for change. The process described thus far could apply to any organization - 
public or private, business or social services, large or small, total organization or 
organizational units. What is its specific application to education and why is it 

A basic characteristic of the information society is that information and the 
ability to apply information is the strategic resource of the society. The society is 
fueled and driven by our increased ability to use and apply information — an 
ability made possible by the information technologies. 

In the past fifty years,grcat strides have been made in information 
technologies — the telephone, television, satellites, calculators, records, cable 
transmission, etc. These discoveries provide new ways of storing and transmitting 
data. It was not, however, until Jack Kilby developed the microchip that we had a 
cheap, efficient,and effective way of processing data. In a sense, this ability to 
process presents an extension of the human brain and its capacity to create and 
problem solve. The power of the microchip was the missing piece - the piece that 
sparked and will continue to ignite new technologies and applications of existing 

Despite the power of technologies, they only become meaningful when 
human beings use them as tools to explore the frontiers of knowledge and search 
for better ways of solving common, human problems. If information is the 
strategic resource and use of this information is a key activity of society, it 
follows that those institutions which provide people with the skills, experiences, 
and opportunities for learning how to use information will be of prime importance 
to society. 

Education and training systems are the human infrastructure of an 
information society. The growing realization of the importance of education and 
training is being recognized within all sectors. A recent article in The Los Angeles 
Times (December 7, 1986) reported: 

Developing the best educational system in the world 
is the key to America's strength, according to a growing 
number of citizens — more important than having the 
most efficient industrial production system or strongest 
military force. The Gallup Poll found that nine in ten 
Americans (89%) cite education as very important to the 
nation's strength 25 years from now, while 65% hold that 
view about industrial productivity and 51% about 
military power. 

Austin Kiplinger, in his preface to The New American Boom, stated: 

In 1925 Calvin Coolidge said, The business of America 
is business.* Today I say, 4 The business of America is 
EDUCATION.* Education constructs the foundations of 
technology, and technology in turn provides the track 
for industry and commerce to advance into the 21st century. 




Recognition of the need for the best educational systems began in the late 
1970 f s. Politicians and the business community were first to call for educational 
reform. When these reforms were articulated, they were frequently phrased in 
terms of "How can we improve schools?" The phrasing of this statement ?>upcd the 
response. Educational researchers and educators began with the structure and 
programs of existing schools and identified ways that schools could be "fixed up" 
or improved. This is known as the improvement approach to reform and it has 
become the primary approach for state educational reforms. In many ways,this 
approach has been productive. We have seen substantia! areas of improvement in 
student achievement, understanding of the schooling process, and an enhanced 
commitment to education professions. Missing, however, is a response to the long- 
term questions, namely: "Given changes in our society, what type of institutions do 
we need to prepare youth for a future society and to meet the wide range of new 
educational and training needs? 11 The answer to these questions demands a broader 
perspective and an openness to ways of restructuring education to "match" the 
needs of a changed environment. Restructuring education has been raised in 
recent reports stressing the need for educational reform, e.g. the Carnegie Report, 
the Holmes Report. Restructuring may be exercised with respect to educational 
goals, the delivery of educational services, the roles of educational personnel, 
financing of education, community outrcach,and accountability. 

Difficult as the task of restructuring is, we arc already beginning to sec a 
district response to restructuring. Nearly half of the school districts in the nation 
are implementing some type of improvement effort,and an estimated 300-500 
districts have continued to move into restructuring. These arc districts that have 
redesigned the goals of education (e.g. increased emphasis on self-concept 
development, communications skills, science, mathematics, technology, world 
history, world geography, and second languages); expanded the delivery of 
instructional services (use of information technologies, instruction for developing 
thinking skills, applied instructional methods); initiated programs for new clients 
(early childhood, senior citizens; adult education, business groups); redesigned 
professional roles and responsibilities (principal as instructional leader, teacher 
career ladders, local staff developers); added to financial resources (provided 
services to other districts); strengthened community outreach (business partnerships, 
work with social service agencies, improved communications and activities with 
parents and community groupsfcand expanded measures of accountability (new 
outcomes measures of student performance such as speaking, writing, problem- 
solving, and criterion normcd tests). In many instances, districts have initiated and 
moved to these restructuring efforts as an outgrowth of their strategic planning 

Use of Strategic Planning At State Level * 

If we accept the need for improving and restructuring education, then the 
role and function of state decision makers becomes that of change masters or 
change managers. States have the constitutional responsibility for education and 
the furthering of education. Bringing about the social, political, and organizational 
transformation needed is a task established institutions instinctively resist. Change 
which is not widely understood or is linked to an individual leader is not likely to 
be sufficiently comprehensive or adequate to meet today's needs. 

* Appendix A includes a description of strategic planning activity in states served by the Appalachia Educational 



Strategic planning provides a tool and a mechanism for the planned, 
comprehensive change essential to meet the new role of states in stimulating, 
cncouraging,and managing change. The change process must take place at three 
levels of state leadership — state policy, state program management, and state 

State Policy 

State policy provides the structure for the operation of state education 
programs and for the handling of issues as they arise. The critical issues arc those 
likely to have the greatest impact on 'ducation. Strategy may be defined as 
"exploiting the inevitable and posi'oning the organization in a way to benefit 
from a proper handling of socic'M issues." Strategic issues, those which require a 
response to head off threats or build opportunities, have an evolution of their own. 
Strategic issues tend to be felt first as societal issues, then political issues, 
legislative issues^and litigation issues. The timeline for strategic issues may be 
visualized as: 

Impact of Strategic Issues 





Time - narrowing of options/expansion of liability 

Early childhood education is an example of a societal concern that is 
becoming a political issue, and is likely to become a legislative and litigation issue 
in the future. 

Strategic planning provides a means of dealing with these issues through the 
(1) early identification of issues by environmental scanning; (2) the development of 
a mission or sense of direction to guide decision making; (3) the translation of 
policies/goals into implementation plans; and (4) the systematic monitoring of 

State Program Management 

Management of state programs implementing policies is the area where 
strategic planning applications may be applied most comprehensively. State 
agencies traditionally provide regulatory, rcsearch,and leadership functions. Over 
time, the role of state agencies has begun to change with greater emphasis being 
placed on technical assistance, consulting, training,and other capacity-building 



Nearly all activities of a state education agency may be used to support 
change at the local level. Frequently, the activities of the state agency are not 
designed or coordinated in ways which support local agency improvement or 
restructuring. Strategic planning for the state education agency provides a means 
of updating state programs and providing a consistent sense of direction to local 

State Leadership 

A key element of leadership is the articulation of a direction or vision of 
ways to meet social and educational needs. State leaders can utilize strategic 
planning by (I) using data about societal changes and their implications for 
education obtained by environmental scanning; (2) gaining a sense of what 
programs are underway and what is possible (internal scanning); (3) having a state 
sense of direction set forth in the state mission and goals; and (4) maintaining a 
sense of progress by monitoring the progress of the strategic plan. When used this 
way, strategic planning provides a foundation for leadership. 

Implementing Strategic Plannin g 

Strategic planning could be initiated at a variety of state levels — governor's 
office, state education agency, or legislative committees. The most specific 
educational plan is likely to be one developed by the state educational agency. In 
this instance, strategic planning may be applied to ongoing program management 
with the possibility that aspects of the plan can be used for policy or leadership 

A variety of approaches can be used in strategic planning. The model 
selected should have the following characteristics: 

t it should be futuristic and based on analysis of economic, social, political, 
and educational trends; 

• the plan should include internal scanning to determine the existing 
capacity of the organization and what h needed to accomplish the 
proposed mission and tasks; 

• it should have a statement of assumptions, approaches, missioned goals, 
which provide direction for all groups; 

e it should allow for the involvement and participation of 

representatives or the total population of all groups of shareholders; 

• it should have implementation plans,which outline specific activities to 
attain the mission. 

Implementing strategic planning is an effort which must be maintained over 
a period of time if it is to have a "pay-off." A typical model of strategic planning 
involves five phases of effort. These include: 



Phase 1: Planning To Plan and Establishing A Climate For Change 

Four primary activities arc usually implemented during the planning- 
to-plan phase. These include: 

External Scanning 

External scanning calls for the identification of economic, 
social, political, and educational trends and their implications Tor 
schools. When possible, trends should be delineated at the national, 
regional, state, and local levels. This analysis of trends should 
include a listing of issues which arc likely to impact state and local 
educational systems. 

Internal Scanning 

Internal scanning is a comprehensive audit or analysis of the 
effectiveness of the organization. States need to examine finances, 
programs, human resources, and state and local educational outcomes. 
Internal scanning should provide an analysis of organizational 

Community/Organizational Education 

Asking individuals their opinion about educational needs is 
likely to produce familiar answers because people draw on their past 
experiences. When people have an opportunity to learn about current 
and future trends, they arc likely to provide a different quality of 
response. Any strategic planning effort should inciudc an adequate 
effort to give staff and members of the shareholder community an 
opportunity to develop an understanding of possible futures before 
surveys or needs assessment activities are undertaken. 

Stakeholder Input 

An important consideration in decision making is the 
perceptions of stakeholders or persons who have a stake in the 
organization — legislators, business groups, educators, agency staff, 
students, etc. Surveys, seminars, interviews or other data collection 
techniques may be used for gathering these perceptions. 

Gathering the data necessary for the strategic plan may seem like a 
great deal of effort, but it has a purpose beyond the initial formulation of a 
strategic plan. It provides a framework for the establishment of a data ba£t 
and a management information system. Most of the data Is needed for a 
variety of purposes* Using this process offers an opportunity to establish 
coordinated procedures for data collection, and analysis contributes to *hc 
overall effectiveness of the organization. 



Phase 2: Developing The Strategic Plan 

When the scanning data has been compiled and analyzed, a group of 
key individuals should be assembled at a retreat or seminar to (1) examine 
the data; (2) identify implications and issues for education; (3) develop a 
preliminary mission and goals statement; and (4) design plans for obtaining 
reactions to the proposed strategic plan. 

The critical purpose or the strategic plan is to provide a sense of 
general direction rather than outline specific programs. Strategic plans 
commonly include a statement of assumptions and/or philosophy, a mission, 
and strategic goals for achieving that mission. 

Phase 3: Developing Implementation Plans 

When the strategic plan has been refined and adopted, 
implementation plans should be developed, which outline specific programs 
and activities for achieving the mission and strategic goals. These plans 
should reflect the activities of various units of state education agencies. 
Implementation plans may include activities not included in the strategic 
plan, but they should be consistent with the strategic plan. These plans form 
a structure for evaluation of programs and personnel for the agency. 

Phase 4: Implementing and Monitoring Plans 

Implementation of most plans requires careful preparation. Staff 
assignments, timelines, resourccs,anrt staff preparation activities must be 
given careful thought. As this managerial planning is finalized, procedures 
for monitoring the progress of the plan should be specified. Monitoring 
provides the data necessary for evaluating the impact and progress of the 
strategic plan. 

Phase 5: Renewing The Strategic Plan 

Strategic plans must be evaluated periodically and evaluated 
according to changing external and internal conditions. This evaluation 
should be reviewed by the group developing the plan, and other groups of 
interested stakeholders. The plan may be revised or updated to reflect 
changing needs or views. 

Strategic planning contributes to the management process in a number of 
ways. These are outlined in the following tabic. Moving the plan to strategic 
management and strategic decision making should be a goal for all strategic plans. 



Strateeic Planning 

Strateeic Management 



Environmental scanning 


Shared understandings 

\jbxiernai ana internal ) 

iniormation oystem 

Quia DaSc 



Base for decision- 

Common sense 


of direction 


Implementation plans 

Activity coordination 

Linkage among units 


Stakeholder involvement 

Stakeholder involvement 


Elements of strategic planning may be used without moving through the 
total process. Environmental scanning (both external and internal) is essential for 
policy development and leadership. Adaptations may be made as needed. 

Techniques of strategic planning may involve a number of related concepts 
and activities. These include: 

Trends Analysis 

Maintaining a data base of information and trends is a necessary 
activity for the state education agency and other state agencies. Following 
developments to determine trends, trend variations, and the progress of 
trends is an essential framework for state policy and program development. 
These data are also important for local districts. 

Change Management 

Helping education systems move from bureaucracies>which tend to 
resist change>to more open change-oriented organizations is a major task for 
the education community. Providing staff development and incentives for 
managers to move from maintenance of the status quo to the management of 
change must be a high priority for every organization. 

Issues Management 

Trends analysis as used in strategic planning provides insights to 
guide the internal development of the organization. Trends analysis also 
serves to identify ways of redirecting the negative aspects of trends or in 
some instances, revising the trends. The use of trends as a means of 
designing community outreach, public relations, ?obbying»and other 
influence methods is an integral part of organizational work. 



Strategic Thinking 

Learning to think futuristically and strategically is not easy. The 
individual must use analytical skills to assess data, develop conceptual skills 
to identify relationships and possibilities, integrative skills to grasp the H big 
picture" or the whole of the situation, psychological skills to be open to the 
future and change, and organizational skills to insure the survival of the 
organization and leave it in better shape than it was found. 

Strategic planning is one method of dealing with changed organizational 
conditions in our society. It reflects our growing understanding that decision- 
making, leading, managing and policymaking must change in response to a changed 
society and a changed context for the future of education. 

The implications of strategic planning and the related management 
techniques include the following for state policy makers and state agencies. 
Strategic planning has relevance and importance for: 

« state policy, the handling of social/educational issues, and the decision 
making process; 

0 the effective management of state agencies and the development of state 

• the state support system for leadership development — to be utilized in 
preparing leaders and assisting them in the exercise of their leadership 

e a key change management technique, which should be made available to 
local administrators and board members through preservice and inservice 
training programs; and 

• a method of building statewide understanding and consensus regarding 
the future, the role of education in the future, and the necessary steps for 
actualizing that role. 

In short, strategic planning and its related management and educational 
methodologies, is a priority area for every level of state activity. It is an 
important tool for systematic change and gaining a sense of control over realizing 
our desirable future. 








Strategic planning involves the development of comprehensive 
long-term plans that take into consideration changes in society and their 
probable impact on the organization. It is, in effect, a process that 
attempts to develop a "match" between changed societal conditions and the 
programs and activities of the organization. A telephone survey of state 
department of education personnel in states served by the Appalachia 
Educational Laboratory (Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) 
reveals current state activity regarding strategic planning. 

Tennessee State Board of Education officials report that Tennessee 
has made a "major investment" of time and effort in strategic planning in 
the last two and a half years. The effort has, in part, been directed at 
the creation of a master plan for education in Tennessee. 

The legislative base of this effort was the creation in 1933 of a 
new state board of education, administratively separate from the state 
department of education. The new board has broad authority in the area 
of policy; its major function is strategic planning. The new board is 
comprised of corporate leaders whose training and professional work make 
them intimately familiar with the use of strategic planning. The board 
issues an updated version of the Tennessee master plan each year. 

The board encourages all the state's 141 local school districts to 
develop their own strategic plans. Over half the districts have a 
strategic plan in place; others are in the developmental stage. 





West Virginia 

West Virginia 1 s major strategic planning effort in education is 
attributable to a state supreme court decision in 1982. The decision mandated 
development of a master plan for education in West Virginia. The plan was to 
include high quality educational standards, proposals for educational 
financing, and proposals for school facility construction. The plan was 
subsequently developed by a number of task forces and implemented as State 
Board of Education Policy 2510. Implementation is based on short-term 
compliance statements and long-term, 20-year goals. 

The plan directs counties to develop 4-year plans for county excellence. 
Parts of the plan are to be used by local school districts for assessment of 
county educational programs. The results of the assessment form the basis on 
which local school personnel identify priorities for school improvement. 
District personnel then establish goals to be addressed in local strategic 
plans. Work coward these goals is monitored by school site councils, 
structured locally, except for the provision that a majority of members be 

Since the compliance statements are optimal (high-quality) standards 
rather than minimal standards, Policy 2510 provides for exceptions as defined 
by the state board of education. State department officials say the rationale 
for such exceptions is that the state recognizes that while some counties are 
able to implement high-quality standards, others are not. The department 
expects that improvement will come about as the result of the implementation 
of local plans for county excellence.