Academic journal article Education

The Role of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Academic journal article Education

The Role of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

Article excerpt

"If you can read this, thank a teacher." A simplistic bumper sticker displayed on numerous vehicles traveling the nation's highway continues to haunt and to inspire those who view it, particularly members of the teaching profession. Is the corollary also true? "If you cannot read this, blame a teacher?"

With the new millennium imminent the age of educational reform concurrently continues to move forward, perhaps even reaching pubescence. Cautious optimism prevails as accomplishments of promising adolescents unfold; so too educators introspectively examine the rhetoric of educational reform and ponder the perplexing question: What will be the fruition of all the efforts directed at change?

The finale of the culmination of the labors and laborers of the change process will generate a multitude of scenarios. Most certainly the year 2000 will bear the hallmark as the "Armageddon" of educational reform. Reflections and recommendations will be pervasive and permeated with a plethora of ideas for best practices and goals for implementation in the second century. Attention will focus on the status of American education versus other industrialized nations; a bountiful array of suggestions will ensue with the theme of providing students with the mandatory tools necessary to compete in a global economy.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1988) concluded in the publication An Imperiled Generation: Saving Urban Schools that the educational reform movement was useless for many children, particularly African Americans and Hispanics (Shujaa, 1990). Emerging from the language of reform, one tenet, not subject to intensive argument, may emerge as definitive: the educational playing field of tomorrow will be very different from that of today.

Will technology be available to every student in each school district in the nation or will the have and the have not phenomenon continue to exist? Will public education represent only children of a predominantly black or brown or reddish hue, i.e., African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans? Will public school teaching be the exclusive domain of a monochromatic, gender-specific, monolingual population: white females? What will a snapshot of a typical classroom of the year 2025 reveal? What will an opportunity to peer into the Oracle at Delphi divulge? What will a venture into the Tomorrow Land of Education reveal?

Some ubiquitous parameters will continue to prevail--the dichotomy of the oppressors and the oppressed. Such terms would seem to be the exclusive province of scholars of political science, but a closer examination discloses that the issue of oppression has important educational implications. In consideration of who represents the oppressor and who the oppressed, a question of definition is fundamental. Are the oppressors the educators of yesteryear, the present and the future? Are the oppressed the children, the adolescents, and the young adult victims of an inadequate, mediocre educational process, perpetuated and sanctioned by well- meaning purveyors of pseudo- educational reform?

A more traditional perspective of the word oppressed evokes the image of the traditionally marginalized groups of our society--minorities, including, but not exclusive of, Hispanics, Native Americans, and particularly African Americans. Other groups also share the retinue--women, individuals with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. Most important of all groups, a group not discriminated against solely on the basis of gender, race, creed, religion or national origin but, nonetheless, sharing the all encompassing title--the educationally disenfranchised, the knowledge dispossessed.

The United States is regressing in attempts to educate poor children, especially poor children of minority families. The rich continue to receive a better quality of education while the children of the poor continue to receive inadequate, substandard educational experiences (Kozol, 1991). …

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