In response to my comments on the state of the profession, a reader writes:

“Actually, I think Schmoker is right. But even if he is not right, we can certainly say educators as a whole demonstrate a low level of professionalism.

For example, we have known professional standards and practices (Marzano, Bloom, etc.), yet very few educators use these best practices. Instead most educators find reasons to reject the standards and best practices. A plumber has standards and best practices. Would you hire a plumber who told you he didn’t really agree with those standards and had his own way of doing things?

Going down the list from Wikipedia on the characteristics of a profession, I find that as a whole, educators do not rigorously meet those characteristics, although we certainly meet some. So, it may be accurate to say we are a non-profession profession, or at a minimum, we do not portray a high level of professionalism. How many professions have unions that engage in collective bargaining? Have you seen physicians, lawyers, and engineers, for example, with such unions?

I would not call this cynicism, but realism. I say it is not cynicism because I have not given up hope that the situation will change, and I know Cain hasn’t either. I still believe we can make a difference and change how we are. The kids deserve no less.”

SC Response
You may have done too good of a job in outlining your argument. This is definitely a case where the Stockdale Paradox (confront the brutal facts, yet be resolute in your belief that you will eventually be successful) provides the only solution. In the short run, the nay-bobs can wear you down, but you can also out think and out work them, and you can maneuver them to a position where they do more good than harm. In the long run (and this is what keeps me going), we have to identify, build and support more leaders who think and act like the typical LYS principal and superintendent (which is not typical at all).

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…