Buy in—It is now and has been (for the last thirty years) the name of education’s game. Given the proposed direction that federal leadership has for education, districts and schools will be vying for parent trust. They will be challenged to gain and maintain the trust (buy in) of parents for their children’s attendance to schools. Before this administration announced their agenda for public education, however, buy in had already been an essential component within schools.

Buy in is an essential component of successful leadership.

Teachers’ buy in to a school leader’s vision and direction serves as a gateway for the united effort of a school community. Students’ buy in to a teacher’s instruction opens their minds for growth as they give and receive information within the learning environment led by the teacher.

The same type buy in required of teachers and school leaders was absent from Secretary of Education, Mrs. Betsy Devos’ address to Bethune Cookman University’s graduating class. As a result, her plan to share words of inspiration was greeted with resistance.

In this video I talk about how Mrs. Devos’ experience at Cookman’s commencement ceremony paralleled that of a classroom teacher.

No matter what position we hold in education, our title will not stand the test of teaching and leading if we neglect the needs of people we should be serving. It is true that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Showing people genuine care comes through understanding them as people and then committing to teaching and learning with them to bring about a positive change for everyone. That is how lasting impressions are made on people’s lives.

This is where Mrs. Betsy Devos’ experience paralleled that of a classroom teacher. Apparently, many graduates at Bethune Cookman University did not buy in to what she stands for as an educational leader. Buy in is essential; lack thereof stifles a teacher or leader’s positive impact or influence on any type of learning.

People might hear what you say, but they definitely watch what you do.

If we (as educators) are not speaking to the needs of others, and then walking that talk, establishing credibility and getting buy in will be a great challenge in our quest to serve.