We love to talk about teachers—good teachers, bad teachers. Our entire narrative about schools seems to revolve around finding good teachers and firing bad ones, says Harold Kwalwasser, former general counsel of the Los Angeles Unified School District, for the Washington Post. In a way, it’s not surprising. We love to reduce complex issues to “people stories,” especially when we can paint one kind of people with white hats and pin black ones on somebody else. As appealing as it is, there are two problems with the “good teacher, bad teacher” narrative. The first is that it plants certain unspoken images in our heads, which we often wind up accepting as true without examination. We unthinkingly know what we know—to our peril…

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