One of the key qualities missing in the school reform debate (and, unfortunately, sometimes in our classrooms) is the quality of trust.
I thought I’d bring together a few related resources I’ve seen or written over the years, and hope others will suggest more.
Here are my choices for The Best Posts About Trust & Education:
An open letter to Ed Secretary Arne Duncan appeared in The Washington Post.
Blogging for Reform: First, let’s fire all the teachers… is an excellent post by Alice Mercer. She connects her observation of one of my classes to overall school reform issues and trust.
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions , was interviewed by Learning First’s Public School Insights to learn how his research relates to schools.
I’d strongly encourage you to read the whole piece. Here are some excerpts:
Teachers actually control a very small part of the variance. Parents control some of it. Neighborhoods control some of it. What people decide to put on the test controls some of it. And the weather, and whether a kid is sick, and lots of other things determine the final score.
So when we create these score-based systems, we not only tend to focus teachers on a very small subset of [what we want schools to accomplish], but we also reward them largely on things that are outside of their control. And that’s a very, very bad system.
I think that we just need to get people who really care about teaching. We need to pay them a living wage, and we need to make sure that they are proud of what they’re doing. We need to give them autonomy and flexibility, and we need to put trust in them. And that would motivate them.
I’ve written two related posts:
Here is an intriguing video report on the importance of trust:
The Missing Link In School Reform shares important research about the role of trust and the development of social capital in schools.
The Race Between Education and Technology—Revisited is by Marc Tucker at Education Week.
Berkshire’s Radical Strategy: Trust is from The New York Times and has a lot of applicability, I think, to education policy and to the classroom.
Feedback and additional suggestions are welcome.
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You might also want to explore the over 700 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.