Professional Responsibilities

Phi Delta Kappan, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Professional Responsibilities


SERENDIPITY is a funny thing. And this issue is a fine example of what I mean. Nearly every article in it deals in some way with the professional lives of teachers, from their initial recruitment and training, to their continuing professional development, to ways to foster their collaboration. But that is no accident, fortunate or otherwise.

When the lead article arrived, in which Richard Kahlenberg distills lessons from the reactions he has received to Tough Liberal, his biography of Albert Shanker, I went in search of articles that Shanker had published in the Kappan. There were nine over the years, but his final article, which appeared in November 1996, just months before his death, carried a subtitle that read: "What Must Be Done to Strengthen the Teaching Profession." Clearly, an evergreen topic and certainly a bit of a happy coincidence.

Shanker raised questions about the knowledge base that underlies teaching, about the need for high standards of practice, about rigorous standards for admission to preparation programs and professional practice, and on through induction, peer review, and evaluation. Times have surely changed since the mid-1990s, but not so much that Shanker's final Kappan article doesn't have important things to say to us today--and doesn't step on a few toes along the way. Unfortunately, the official status of this article is "out of print," because it just predates the time when all Kappan articles were made available in the electronic archives. However, this one is being reborn in digital form this month, and interested readers will find a link to a pdf in the Online Exclusives box on page 712 of Kahlenberg's article.

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