Distrust and Educational Change

Distrust and Educational Change Overcoming Barriers to Just and Lasting Reform

Katherine Schultz
paper, 176 Pages
Pub. Date: March 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-297-3
Price: $34.00

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Distrust characterizes much of the current political discourse in the United States today. It shapes our feelings about teachers, schools, and policies. In Distrust and Educational Change, Katherine Schultz argues that distrust—and the failure to recognize and address it—significantly contributes to the failure of policies meant to improve educational systems. The strategies the United States has chosen to enact reform engender distrust, and in so doing, undermine the conditions that enable meaningful educational change. In situations in which distrust—rather than trust—predominates, teachers and principals are reluctant to transform their educational practice.


Schultz reminds us that trust is required for educators to do their jobs well, and that current policies and practices have upended trust. She makes a convincing argument about how distrust has come to rule the decision-making processes of many in power, and how poor decision-making, at least in the US, may be due to the rise and overuse of high-stakes testing. She also alludes to the ways in which distrust now permeates many of our democratic institutions—her analysis may help us understand why. — Linda Nathan, executive director, Center for Artistry and Scholarship

The book is fundamentally a call to action, one that recognizes and appreciates the knowledge and experiences of students as participants, teachers as professionals, and community members as meaningful stakeholders. — Rafael E. Alvarado and Royel M. Johnson, Teachers College Record

Katherine Schultz makes a significant contribution to literature, illustrating the ways in which distrust (and the failure to address it) undermines the success of educational reform efforts. — Rafael E. Alvarado and Royel M. Johnson, Teachers College Record

For leaders engaged in serious reform efforts and dealing with extreme community resistance, this book could serve as a useful resource. — School Administrator

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to establish critical, successful, and lasting educational reform. — American School Board Journal

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About the Author

Katherine Schultz is Dean and Professor of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Her scholarly work has focused on the research, development, and dissemination of practices that support new and veteran teachers working with marginalized populations in high-poverty areas. Her two recent books, Listening: A Framework for Teaching Across Differences and Rethinking Classroom Participation: Listening to Silent Voices, address these issues. In particular, she is interested in talking and writing about educational issues for a wide array of public audiences. Since coming to Colorado, one of her areas of focus has been to work with the faculty to develop place-based partnerships including student teaching, professional development, research, policy, and community-engaged projects in three areas: Northeast Colorado, Lafayette (in Boulder County), and the Five Points area of Denver. She has examined and lived the issues of distrust as a teacher, principal, professional development leader, school board member, faculty member, dean, and concerned citizen.

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Blog Post: "The Distrust Beneath the Recent Teacher Strikes"

Other books in School Reform, General

The Middle of Somewhere

Edited by Sara L. Hartman and Bob Klein

Other books in School Reform, General

The Open System

Landon Mascareñaz and Doannie Tran

Other books in School Reform, General

The Great School Rethink

Frederick M. Hess

Books From This Author