Monday, May 28, 2012

Can Schools Learn Something From Successful Nations?

Thomas Friedman's March 31, 2012 New York Times article titled "Why Nations Fail" can tell educational leaders a few things about why schools fail. You can read the full article by clicking (the Times allows non-subscribers to read up to 20 articles for free). He talks about a book co-authored by an M.I.T. economist and a Harvard political scientist that explains why, with great validity, some governments live long and sustainable lives while others fail over a period of time.

Look through the lens of an educational leader when you read this excerpt from the book:

"The key differentiator between countries is institutions. Nations thrive when they provide inclusive political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become extractive and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few."

As Friedman's summary points out, when citizens have faith that their government is fair and receptive to their needs and ideas, they will likely accept what policies or regulations are handed down to them. Can't this apply to school systems as well? Why shouldn't teachers believe in their leaders if those leaders have established a fair and receptive system whereby their concerns and needs will be attended to in honest fashion?

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