The Public Trusts Teachers. . . To Do What Exactly? by Kim Farris-Berg

The Public Trusts Teachers. . . To Do What Exactly?

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Ed Week

Guest Column by Kim Farris-Berg

Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) and Gallup published the results of their annual poll of "The Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools" back in August 2013, and one of the findings has been on my mind ever since. That is, 72 percent of Americans have trust and confidence in the women and men who teach in public schools. Among Americans under the age of 40, that number goes up: 78 percent trust teachers!

That's an exciting statistic, and it was widely reported and celebrated. Yet it seems to me that, "Do you trust teachers?" is an opening question that deserves some follow-up. I can't shake my desire to understand: What, exactly, does the public trust teachers to do? The answer to that question is important for teachers, unions, legislators, and others to know, especially in the context of public policies such as the Common Core and tying teacher evaluations to test scores.

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