Who Is Dr Shirley McCune?

For those doing research into education reform, aka systems education, Dr Shirley McCune entered the scene in 1989 when she was a guest speaker at the 1989 Governor's Conference on Education called by President George Bush, Sr, and held in Wichita, Kansas.

Researchers were, and still are, aghast at what McCune had to say at that conference, and further aghast that governors in attendance applauded her.

What is happening in America today and what is happening to Kansas in the great plains is not simply a chance situation in the usual winds of change.  What it amounts to is a total transformation of our society ...

... So we have to anticipate what the future is and then move back and figure out what it is we need to do today.  That's called anticipatory socialization or the social change function of schools ...

... You have to understand the breadth of the task that's before us.  You cannot think about restructuring of education without understanding that our total society is in a crisis of restructuring and you can't get away from it.  You can't go into rural areas, go into the churches, go into government, you can't go into business and hide, for what we are facing is a total restructuring of the society ...

At the time of this speech, McCune was the Senior Director of Mid Continental Regional Educational Laboratory (McRel) — one of ten regional laboratories under contract to the U.S. Department of Education.  At this time—1989—McCune's resume included work with the National Education Association (NEA), the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the Kansas State Department of Education in developing strategic direction for Kansas schools in the Schools for the 21st Century program.  She also owned a company called Learning Trends, based in Aurora, Colorado, and later in Washington, DC.

Next, we find McCune at Arizona State University as a Research Associate developing School-to-Work programs.

And, as of 1997, McCune was listed as Educational Liaison for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia, Washington, working with her friend, Dr Terry Bergeson.  By all indication, the position was made for McCune.

Also, in 1997, McCune is listed as a contributing author to a publication put out by The Mid-Atlantic Consortium, Inc, Chevy Chase, MD, and the American Youth Policy Forum and National Education Association, both of Washington, DC, called "Educate America: A Call for Equity in School Reform".

McCune has had extensive contact with Washington state.  In 1994/95, McCune held two contracts with the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  The first, in 1994, was for the purposes of providing ...

research and writing assistance and state education reform policies and practices to the Commission on Student Learning; and advise on equity issues in the development process.

The second, in 1995, was for the purposes of assisting ...

the Commission on Student Learning staff and the Subject Advisory Committees with performance issues related to Goal I and mathematics and with development of Goal II Essential Academic Learning Requirements.

Both of these contracts were issued to McCune under the name of her company, Learning Trends of Washington, DC.  As both contracts were initially under $10,000, they were awarded to McCune without having to go through the competitive bidding process.

McCune was also a consultant to Governor Booth Gardner during the time of the Governor's Council on Education Reform and Funding (GCERF), and the subsequent writing and publishing of the GCERF document, Putting Children First.

In October 1989, McCune addressed teachers in the South Kitsap School District, Washington State.  Some of her comments were reported by Terri Minteer, Staff Writer for the Bremerton Sun on October 14, 1989.

When you walk in the building, there's a row of offices.  In one are drug counselors.  One is for social security.  Another, family and child psychologists.  Yet another has a doctor and nurse who do well-child exams ...

... There's a child-care center, and tied into it are classes for teenagers where they learn the importance of child nurturing skills ...

... These are "community learning centers" not just schools ...

... Schools are no longer in the "schooling business," but rather in "human resource development" ...

As far back as 1983, McCune, along with Terry Bergeson, were on the Advisory Board of New Horizons for Learning, an organization based in Seattle and owned by Dee Dickinson.  New Horizons for Learning is very New Age in thought and practice, touting the writings of many New Age authors including Beverly Galyean.  Dickinson was a member of President Bush's (Sr) Task Force on Innovative Education.

The New Horizons for Learning website carries a piece, written by McCune, entitled "Creating the Future".

McCune has authored and co-authored books on education reform and related topics.  In 1986, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), founded by the National Education Association (NEA), published a book written by McCune entitled Guide to Strategic Planning for Educators.  The book is not intended for public consumption ...

This creative management process [strategic planning] is powered by the basic human drive to solve problems—to eliminate discrepancies between what is and what must be. (page v)

The synthesis of technology with educational tasks opens new possibilities for more humanistic schools and educational systems. (p 23)

Change must be manifested at the local level and must be wanted—people must view change as their own and feel that it will help them achieve the future they value and desire. (p 29)

Transformation is the process of shifting our basic assumptions and reorganizing our views of the world, our goals, and our behaviors. (p 32)

Strategic planning is a rational planning process, but it has strong psychological effects on an organization and the people involved in the process. (p 32)

If time is taken to involve affected and interested parties (stakeholders), the plan will become their plan, implementation will be accelerated, and the potential for future conflict and disagreement will be reduced. (p 37)

Information about their [stakeholders] perceptions and expectations must be gathered carefully.  It should be collected after stakeholders have had some opportunity to understand the larger societal changes and the options open to schools. (p 45)

Providing people with data before asking for their opinions and ideas about what schools should do leads to different responses and outcomes. (p 59)

... as a representative sampling.  This book was used as the textbook for a class in Strategic Planning at Drake University, Adult Education Graduate Degree Programs, Spring Semester, 1997.

In 1996, McCune co-authored the book The Light Shall Set You Free with Dr Norma Milanovich, both claiming to be channelers for the Ascended Masters.  The book is definitely an inside look at the beautiful side of evil, giving an insightful look into the religion practiced by so many advocating transformation to systems governance.

Resource References:

McCune, Shirley; Guide to Strategic Planning for Educators; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Alexandria, VA; 1986.

McCune, Shirley and Dr Norma Milanovich; The Light Shall Set You Free; Athena Publishing; Albuquerque, NM; 1996.

Minteer, Terri; "Blueprint given for schools of the future"; Bremerton Sun; Bremerton, Washington; October 14, 1989.

On the Beam; official newsletter of New Horizon for Learning.

Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; Washington State; Olympia.

Office of Financial Management; Washington State; Olympia.