Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Opportunity to Comment: Elevate Educators to Professional Status

As the American Education Historian David B. Tyack asserted in his book, The One Best System, on page 10:

It is more important to expose and correct the injustice of the social system [ie. the educational system] than to scold its agents. Indeed, one of the chief reasons for the failures of educational reforms of the past has been precisely that they called for a change of philosophy or tactics on the part of the individual school employee rather than systemic change---and concurrent transformations in the distribution of power....
It seems to me that a single, yet powerful reform can change the way in which educators think and work, as well as, increasing the compensation they receive. Your comments, pro and con, would be greatly appreciated.

If the current reforms in education, as they relate to staffing the ranks of educators, are to be successful, educator status should be raised to the same level as lawyers, accountants and doctors by professionalizing those who meet education and testing standards set by a self-regulatory body, possibly called the American Education Association.

All currently licensed educators, of Masters level or higher, would receive professional status. This would allow them advantages that could be monetized, including income tax deductions similar to those available among other professionals, such as ALL TECHNOLOGY: HARDWARE & SOFTWARE and ALL MATERIALS FOR OUR WORK ($250.00 doesn't cut it). This would provide an automatic pay increase that local governments would not need to pay, because it would be generated through reduced income taxes and more money retained by educators.

This professionalization process would allow for interns and residents to be trained under professional educators and that should be more effective for education reform as well.

As educators, we should avoid the diatribe that has blemished our positive attitudes and educational backgrounds for decades.

No longer are our ranks being filled by young, naive, single girls whose only options, in earlier times, were marriage and family or life as a teacher. This was the case earlier in our American History, as Carl F. Kaestle carefully explains. In Pillars of the Republic his history of American Common Schools, Mr. Kaestle explains the history of the precursors of public schools.

Historically, the use of cheap labor, young local women, exasperating those who considered teaching a profession. This caused the ranks of doctors and lawyers and accountants to expand and professionalize to prevent the same from happening to their positions in these other fields.

Today, most educators have excellent training, yet now the reformers are going after education graduate schools. This has to end, it seems to me. Professionalize and we will no longer be unsure who is qualified. Professionalize and anyone who can pass the professional educators exam would be qualified to teach. Educators should stand up for themselves and claim their professional status.


NotAMeanGirl said...

I totally agree with you... except on one point. Why a Masters or better qualification? Engineers and many other job titles that are considered "Professional" need only a 4 year degree. Why should it be different for those that EDUCATE them?

mindelei said...

This is the time to call for a change that has been long coming. The profession of teaching does need to be recognized for what it truly is within our culture. This will take change both from within and outside of the profession and will be just as difficult as any other change that is being experienced within the United States as well as on a global level.

I agree that advanced education is a way to begin the identification process regarding who meets the necessary status to be deemed a professional. After all, neither a doctor or a lawyer is considered a professional once they have completed undergraduate school.

Lona said...

I agree. I agree. I agree! After "raising" 5 daughters I earned my Bachelor's degree and my Master's. I view myself as "professional", but would love to be recognized as a "professional" in the eyes of the rest of society. The time has come!

samccoy said...

Thanks for your excellent ideas, @NotAMeanGirl, @mindelei and @Lona. To the question of why a Master's degree. It seems to me that all licensed teachers should be grandfathered into this process. It would only be fair.