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November 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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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


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goodcitizen1 - Um, the Finns have a very powerful teachers' union. http://www.smi... MORE
I completely agree that both, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top are horrible... MORE
Andrew, In Finland they have a unique idea about schools. Instead of being adult... MORE

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