Boyer Urges Recognition of the ‘Dignity of Teaching’

By Geraldine McCarty — May 02, 1984 1 min read

Denver--Ernest L. Boyer, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, said that 12 months after the issuance of “A Nation at Risk,” the central theme to emerge from that and the other national reports on schooling is the search for a core of common education for all students.

State-Control Issue

Speaking to a plenary session of the Council on Foundations meeting in Denver on “Public Education in the 1980’s: Beyond the Blue Ribbon Panels,” Mr. Boyer said that in pursuing that search, all who are concerned with or about schooling must recognize the dignity of teaching, because “teachers, in the end, change lives forever.”

Another panelist, Denis P. Doyle, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington-based policy-studies group, warned about the increasing dangers of statewide control of education.

“An absolute passion for school reform has taken effect in 50 state governments,” Mr. Doyle said. Citing the state of California, where between 1972 and 1982 the state share of the education budget climbed from 38 percent to 91 percent, he said, Mr. Doyle asserted that by 1980 state governments had become the dominant partner in education.

‘Delicate Balance’

The impact of the Reagan deficit is to “impose a de facto defederalization of education,” Mr. Doyle suggested. He said that states have a duty to impose certain minimum standards and guidelines but must resist the tendency to increase state control and restrain their impulse to be too narrow and restrictive.

Mr. Boyer echoed Mr. Doyle’s concern, saying that the shift from local to state control “worries me enormously” and that the “delicate balance” between state guidelines and local control must be maintained.

He urged the philanthropists to focus as much as possible on the local school and its people to provide a counterweight to state control. ''If we end up with less power for the teacher in the classroom, we will have failed when the dust from all the reports has settled down,” Mr. Boyer said.

When asked what he would do if he had $500,00 to give to education, Mr. Boyer said that he would give small direct grants to principals and teachers, and provide money to create linkages between schools and supporting outside institutions.

A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 1984 edition of Education Week as Boyer Urges Recognition of the ‘Dignity of Teaching’