Trust and Verify

The real keys to school improvement

Paperback / softback, 258 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
15 May 2016

Price: £24.99

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This book looks at trust and distrust in educational settings and argues that nations with higher degrees of trust in their professional educators achieve superior results for all students. Not blind trust, however, which if unchecked by some kind of verification system can prove as unproductive for individuals and organizations as intrusive, coercive and time-consuming verification strategies. Both sides of this equation are important. These behaviours are the real keys to school improvement. This accessible and compelling book provides a unique, research-based look at trust and distrust and their impact on school improvement in seven different nations: Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Lithuania, Sweden, and the United States.

  • Dean Fink

    Dean Fink is an international education consultant. With a background in teaching and administration, he has worked in more than thirty countries.

  • Warren Marks

    Warren Marks is an education consultant and Director of LEAP (Leading Educators Around the Planet).

  • Norman McCulla

    Norman McCulla is Coordinator of the Educational Leadership Program at Macquarie University, Australia.

  • Petri Salo

    Petri Salo is a Professor in Adult Education at Åbo Akademi University, Finland.

  • Torbjörn Sandén

    Torbjörn Sandén is Director of the Centre for Continuing education at Åbo Akademi University and Novia University of Applied Sciences, Finland.

  • Eglė Pranckūnienė

    Eglė Pranckūnienė is the founder and Director of the Centre for School Improvement in Lithuania.

  • Jonas Ruškus

    Jonas Ruškus is Professor of Social Work at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania.

  • Lars Svedberg

    Lars Svedberg is Associate Professor and a psychologist working at Karlstad University, Sweden.

  • Tom Whittingham

    Tom Whittingham is Head of External Development, Institute of Education at the University of Worcester, UK.

  • Craig Hammonds

    Craig Hammonds is Director of Graduate Programs in Education at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas.

CONTENTS: Introduction, by Dean Fink; 1. Trust and mistrust: Competing models of policy and practice, by Dean Fink; 2. Trust and verify, by Dean Fink; 3. Australia: Halfway to anywhere, by Warren Marks and Norman McCulla; 4. Canada: At the tipping point, by Dean Fink; 5. Finland: Trust under pressure, by Petri Salo and Torbjörn Sandén; 6. Lithuania: Faster than history, slower than a lifetime, by Eglė Pranckūnienė and Jonas Ruškus; 7. Sweden: A postmodern cocktail, by Lars Svedberg; 8. The United Kingdom (England): Reform in a hurry, by Tom Whittingham; 9. The United States: And the pendulum swings, by Craig Hammonds; 10. Themes, dreams and final thoughts, by Dean Fink and Norman McCulla; Index.

'Dean Fink and colleagues have demystified trust in an international text of significant scope. From Australia to Lithuania, the authors set forth innovative perspectives and a unified body of research linking trust, accountability, school success, economics, and history. Recognizing that both trust and verification are keys to school improvement, the authors ask: what is the delicate balance between the two? The answers are contextually calibrated and multifaceted. Trust and Verify is a treasure trove of deep insights and clear action for school leaders and policymakers.'

Linda Lambert, consultant and Professor Emeritus, California State University, East Bay

'Trust and Verify is a timely reminder of the humanity of all who work in education. Of course we must trust teachers more. But trust alone is not enough, and so we also need rigorous reflective practices too. I particularly like the breadth of opinion in this set of essays. Its message is its medium, with the editor trusting his contributors and being richly rewarded with their insights as a consequence. This book should be read by politicians, policymakers, headteachers, teachers, and researchers as a salutary reminder of our over-reliance on apparently important external data when, at least as often, we need to look more closely at what is going on under our own noses.'

Bill Lucas, Professor of Learning, University of Winchester

'This book extends the research on trust in schools beyond the school house to explore the dynamics of trust and distrust in the policy environment at the national level. Using a common research method across seven countries, Dean Fink and his colleagues have compared the perceptions of teachers and principals across these diverse contexts to reveal both commonalities and places of divergence. Although the findings reaffirm the role that trust plays in the implementation of policy, it also reveals disturbing trends resulting from the movement toward a production model of schooling and the accountability movement. This book makes a useful and welcome contribution to the research literature on trust in schools.'

Megan Tschannen-Moran, Professor of Educational Leadership, College of William and Mary

'Another great read from Dean Fink and his colleagues as they examine the ins and outs of trust, mistrust, verification and the dynamics of system change. The short case studies of seven countries is a special treat as we see local context, but also generalizable insights. In the final analysis, the book gives us a new handle on school and system improvement, but you have to work smartly in your own context.'

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto