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


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.
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special 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 Teachers’ Unions Are Gaining Ground in a State That Once Forbade Them
With unions now representing educators in its largest district, Virginia is seeing a labor resurgence.
7 min read
Image of a folder and a signed agreement.
Teaching Profession Q&A 'Fundamentally Changing the Conditions' for Teaching
A specialized STEM program builds in more planning time for teachers.
5 min read
Tess Carlson, Biology & Community Health Teacher for SFUSD Mission Bay Hub, demonstrates how to meter a pipet for Ruier Fang and Aldriana Ramos, both 12th graders at Thurgood Marshall, on April 29, 2024, in San Francisco.
Tess Carlson, the founding science teacher for Mission Bay Hub, demonstrates how to meter a pipet for students on April 29, 2024, in San Francisco.
Peter Prato for Education Week
Teaching Profession Problem-Free PD, According to Teachers
Teachers on social media express their PD gripes, successes, and suggestions.
2 min read
Photography of a diverse group of professionals at a conference clapping their hands and smiling.