The Status of Trust in Education


Reposted from Work on the Work:

I want to start a conversation. I want to explore what I have seen and have experienced as a deeply rooted problem that will not be easily fixed nor entirely addressed in this single blog-post (I’m hoping that this becomes one in a series dealing with this subject).  The teaching profession is suffering from a vexing issue of professional trust.  While that term may be ambiguous and unclear, I hope to make it less so as we continue to think, talk, and discuss the phenomena.  Professional trust consistently arises in all venues of my work. Whether it’s the implementation of standards, adopting curriculum, new evaluation systems, assessment processes, student-centered classrooms, Project-Based Learning (PBL) and on and on and on, the yeah, but mentality of the professionals in the room is as predictable as the sun rising in the east. (One could make the argument that society as a whole has lost trust in our public school systems, but for now, I ask you to hold that thought at bay.)

The typical response, whether it’s with teachers, principals, administrators, departments of education, looks something like, “Yeah, I get x (insert new thing here), but the y (student, teacher, school, district, or state) down the way will NEVVVERR be able to do it”.

The more I work with and talk to education professionals across the country, more frequently I hear this type of declaration.  How did we get to this place?  Is my experience unique? Could this be a barrier that impairs student success? Does the mentality of yeah, but keep each student from being successful?

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