TRUST: TEACHERS' SELF-REPORTED PERCEPTIONS IN WASHINGTON STATE
Davies, Lois A. Milholland
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Trust and trusting relationships appear to be critical resources for schools helping their students to overcome the disadvantages of poverty and language barriers. This study examined and analyzed secondary data of the Washington State teachers' perception of relational trust in schools gathered by the Center for Educational Effectiveness. The Educational Effectiveness Survey was administered to K-12 teachers across the state over the seven-year period of 2002-2009, during the era of No Child Left Behind. Survey questions aligned with Hoy and Tschannen-Moran's (2003) five facets of trust: benevolence, competence, honesty, openness, and reliability. Results from 55,000 teachers in 526 public schools among 97 districts were examined to address the following questions. (1) Has the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act affected levels of trust in schools? (2) Do the five facets of trust have the same or different trajectories over time? (3) Do perceptions of trust vary when analyzing different characteristics such as school level, Social Economic Status, percent of minority students, Adequate Yearly Progress status, Title I eligibility, or participation in school improvement assistance program?What did we learn? Trust levels were moderately high on the measurement scale with a slight upward trend over the first decade of the new century. Four of the five trust sub-scales -- benevolence, competence, openness and reliability - increased between 2002 and 2009. High schools teachers reported lower perceptions of trust than middle school/junior highs and elementary schools. The Social Economic Status had little relation to trust. Race/ethnicity may have made a difference in school trust at over 60% minority. School performance was related to trust. Schools that failed to meet state and federal standards of adequate yearly progress and participated in targeted assistance for three or more years with no improvement had much lower trust scores on each of the trust facets than schools in the first two years of the program or schools meeting standard. Unique factors at the local level appear to influence relationships above and beyond the policies and pressures from the state and federal level.