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.
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