“Whatever level of human capital schools acquire through hiring can subsequently be developed through activities such as grade-level or subject-based teams of teachers, faculty committees, professional development, coaching, evaluation, and informal interactions. As teachers join together to solve problems and learn from one another, the school’s instructional capacity becomes greater than the sum of its parts.”1
This quote from Harvard professor Susan Moore Johnson may make perfect sense to you. Our systems and organizations, however, are largely structured around individual values. As such, a primary goal is to optimize and reward performance at the individual level. So, while some of us (perhaps many of us) might agree that a team’s capacity can exceed the sum of individual members’ capacity, we generally have a difficult time translating that knowledge into action—for example, rewarding individual behaviors that enhance team dynamics. Part of the problem is that there’s still a lot to learn about how teamwork and collaboration are effectively nurtured.
Despite much hue and cry from what must be a relatively small group of Americans, the U.S. Department of Education is moving on with a variety of policies that will undermine the institution of public education. Do Americans really value public education?