Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Finnish school model emphasizes trust
Corroded trust not easily rebuilt
Pasi Sahlberg, the Finnish education expert, is absolutely right [“Finland’s top schools story: Less testing, more trusting,” NWWednesday,” Nov. 14]. Trust among teaching staff, school leadership, parents and students is essential to a well-functioning school system.
Unfortunately, almost everything the education-reform movement and government education bureaucrats impose on schools and teachers actually corrodes trust.
Take No Child Left Behind. This law ultimately reflects and sustains a failure of trust and civility by creating nearly inscrutable regulations that govern what teachers do, thereby making relational trust more difficult.
President Obama’s Race to the Top is no better. Any program that dangles federal money in front of a school district, requiring arbitrary and drastic policies, like dismissing half of a school staff, as a condition of winning the money, encourages district leadership to think of the money over the relationships, and trust further diminishes.
Sahlberg is right enough. But corroded trust is not easily rebuilt by government mandate. Trust me on that.
– Andrew K. Milton, Tacoma