I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately as I have been digging into data from a research project that I have been involved in over the last two years. The big question of the project examined how school board members used research in their deliberation and decision-making. Turns out they only use research that is presented from a trusted source. This might be the superintendent or some other district staff member. It might be an external source that the board member finds on his or her own. The big point is that whether board members consider research in their decision making depends less on the quality of the research and more on the credibility of the person or organization presenting or conducting the research.
What is evident to me from looking at the data, is that the technical stuff cannot give us the answers. We have spent decades and millions of dollars pursuing change in public education, and we have not made much progress. In many ways, we are always changing and never changing. We are focused on the wrong things. Until we focus on supporting the people, we will not successfully transform public education. We can only be successful when we focus on relationships. The Dalai Lama offers these tips: 20 Ways to Get Good Karma.