So glad I can share my Commentary in yesterday’s EdSource. Enjoy!
COMMENTARY — SEPTEMBER 14, 2022 — EdSource https://edsource.org/2022/a-trusting-relationship-between-school-home-is-essential-for-excellent-outcomes/678003
MIRIAM KURTZIG FREEDMAN
Credit: Andrew Reed/EDSOURCE
“Return phone calls the day you get them” was Bob’s advice to me in 1988 after he hired me to join his law firm’s startup education practice. Forty-eight hours — even 24 hours — is too long. Do you like waiting for your doctor’s call — the next day or day after — as your anxiety rises?
Return calls (emails, too) even if just to say you’ll be in touch later, or if you have bad news or no news yet. It tells people that you care and they matter. Bob’s advice helped me build trust with clients, colleagues and adversaries throughout my career. After more than 60 years in public education — as a teacher, hearing officer, school attorney, author, speaker, parent and grandparent — I know that trust is often the missing piece in our quest for excellence.
Of course, building trust requires more than just a prompt response to calls and emails. But that simple act is a powerful signal to recipients that their concerns have been heard and someone cares about them.
What is trust? It’s a firm belief that you can rely on the strength, ability, honesty and truthfulness of someone or something. It gives you confidence in that reliance. Distrust is the lack of belief or confidence, suspicion. I believe that a trusting relationship between school and home is basic for excellent outcomes, which is what we want. Schools need trust everywhere — at the front office, in the lunchroom, during special education IEP or 504 team meetings, in the classroom, with students, parents, administrators and colleagues.
In the special education arena, for example, building trust can be an uphill quest, as the law was set up as an adversarial private enforcement system — about rights and procedures without a mention of trust at all. Under the system, parents — the enforcers — have to “advocate” for their children against the very schools and teachers who educate them. The system often damages…