What It Means to Believe in Teachers

Commentary

In this September 2012 Education Week commentary, Kim Farris-Berg asks, "What if trusting teachers, not controlling them, is the key to school success?"

In his much-lauded speech to the Republican National Convention in August 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made "We believe in teachers" one of his central themes. This prompts the questions: What does it mean to believe in teachers? And, do we?

In the frenetic hunt for ways to fix K-12 public schools, the solution that policymakers and many other education leaders currently embrace is to tell teachers what to do and how to do it. In this commentary sharing research from her book Trusting Teachers with School Success: What Happens when Teachers Call the Shots (Farris-Berg and Dirkswager 2012), Kim Farris-Berg asks: What if trusting teachers, not controlling them, is the key to school success?