Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

More Than ‘Professional Capital’ Is Needed

July 17, 2012 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

“Reviving Teaching With ‘Professional Capital’” (June 6, 2012) sets forth a well-reasoned analysis and suggests a well-intentioned approach for advancing the teaching profession. However, the Commentary’s authors fail to consider their own most insightful observation: The main driving force in U.S. education is short-term and nonrenewable business capital, which “favors a teaching force that is young, flexible, temporary, inexpensive to train, lacking in pensions, and replaceable wherever possible by technology.”

These driving forces are corporate-based and are succeeding in restructuring the American educational system to serve their interests. An inexpensive and inexperienced teaching profession using a highly structured curriculum and held accountable to standardized tests produces and reinforces a system that serves as a training institution for developing workers as replaceable parts.

Teachers cannot give students what they do not have themselves. Gone to other professions are many teachers with critical-thinking abilities, self-reliance, and aspirations. Gone is the development of citizenship and civic values. And, going is the idea of schools for a democracy.

Reviving teaching with “professional capital” is an honest and laudable idea. However, the authors miss the underlying factors that have created, and seek to perpetuate, the reduced investment in teachers and public education.

Tedd Levy

Old Saybrook, Conn.

A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as More Than ‘Professional Capital’ Is Needed


Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Science Webinar
Close the Gender Gap: Getting Girls Excited about STEM
Join female STEM leaders as they discuss the importance of early cheerleaders, real life role models, and female networks of support.
Content provided by Logitech
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Scared, Anxious, Worried: States’ New Restrictions Have Teachers on Edge
Even math and science teachers say they're self-censoring and frightened about falling afoul of the policies.
6 min read
Image of caution tape near the teacher's desk in the classroom.
enjoynz/DigitalVision Vectors + EdWeek
Teaching Profession Morning Rituals Educators Swear By to Start the Day Right
From yoga and exercise to greeting each student by name, educators share their best tips for a great start to the school day.
1 min read
Image of a clock on a spiral notebook.
Teaching Profession The IRS Increased the Teacher Tax Deduction. Will It Help?
Teachers use the deduction to offset the cost of classroom supplies.
1 min read
Image of school supplies
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Opinion Teachers Are Not Meant to Be Martyrs
When teachers speak out, they are not waving at you. They are drowning in front of you.
Amanda Slaten Frasier
4 min read
Digital Illustration of a woman lost is a large maze
Mikkel William/E+