Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The living history of my Declaration of Professional Conscience
Decades ago I wrote The Declaration of Professional Conscience for Teachers.
It was , of course, a declaration of my own conscience in which I stated what I believed a truly professional teacher could agree with . I hoped it could be the basis for teachers sharing with colleagues, their students the parents of heir students, and their administrators. It was away of saying, "I am a professional. I know what I am doing and why I am doing it."
I believed then that in the North America and in many other parts of the world, including third world countries a generation of dedicated and extremely well prepared professional teachers was emerging who were capable of bringing their students to a higher level of literacy, knowledge and sell-confidence than ever before.
At the same time I have always been aware that there are strong forces in our societies that do not believe in public education They would like to control and limit access to literacy and they would prefer to deprofessionalize teachers.
Over the years the declaration has been republished from time time. At one time every elementary teacher in Venezuela got a Spanish translation.
And recently with the support of Richard Owen it has been widely distributed and found a place in the
new political awareness of teachers and their response to the unprecedented attack on teachers and their unions in Wisconsin and other states. Hundreds of teachers have signed the decalration on Richard Owens's website,. http://www.change.org/petitions/a-declaration-of-professional-conscience-for-teachers
And several schools have declared themselves Professional Conscience Schools.
Bess Altwerger , with Rick Meyer, has done much to promote the declaration as a device for gaining respect for teachers in her remarkable work in organizing the Save our Schools march on Washington and the on-going movement that has resulted.
Perhaps some day we will have a secretary of education who understands that it is only through dedicated, professional teachers that American schools can achieve the goal of educating all of our children to the highest degree of their needs, abilities and aspirations. Then maybe the declaration will hang on the door or wall of the Secretary's office. Or maybe not.