Let’s consider this post (and trend) carefully for a moment.
First: What’s a profession?
A profession isn’t comprised of a single individual or a group of like-minded individuals, each independently identifying what constitutes professional practice. Instead, a profession arises when any trade or occupation—like teaching—is transformed through “the development of formal qualifications based upon education, apprenticeship, and examinations, the emergence of regulatory bodies with powers to admit and discipline members, and some degree of monopoly rights” (Bullock & Trombley, 1999: 689).
Armed with that definition, what “profession” advertises that it can churn out “professionals” who are able to empower others within 1 year? Would anyone seek the professional services provided by an MD, lawyer, or engineer whose training consisted of 1 year’s worth of “advanced knowledge, skills, and training”?
Second: What constitutes “professional practice”?
The answer goes back at least 2300 years to Aristotle. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle noted that what today is called a profession’s “practice” (or “knowledge of the practice”) is a mixture of two types of learning: theory (that “advanced knowledge”) and skills (that “training”). In one’s practice, as a professional brings theory and skills to bear, that individual must deliberate about what’s necessary and appropriate given the situation in which one finds oneself with its idiosyncratic circumstances. After all, not all patients, clients, terrain, or students are exactly the same.
To do the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, to the right person (or group), and for the right reason is not only difficult, Aristotle noted, but laudable. Why? Mastery of a profession is the result of “advanced knowledge, skills, and training,” yes, but—it must not be overlooked—that have been tested, honed, and refined into expertise over years of practice.
- an individual with no experience earning a “Masters” degree in Education in 1 year;
- an individual with 1 semester of student teaching experience earning a “Masters” degree in Education in 1 year;
- an individual who has taught in real classrooms for 3+ years and earns a “Masters” degree in Education in 1 year.
Which individual would seem most likely to graduate as a "Master of Education" and able to “empower others through teaching”?
That’s a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious. For example, take Detroit or any other of the nation’s urban centers where these “Masters” practice their craft. 90%+ of public school eighth graders are not proficient in math and reading.
- Those “advanced” degrees allow colleges and schools of education to make a lot of $$$s by churning out “Masters” of Education as quickly and cheaply as they can.
- Those “advanced” degrees allow Superintendents to promote the “quality” of the faculty staffing their schools, impressing Board members and parents.
- Those “advanced” degrees allow faculty members to move up the “steps” to higher salaries, generating interest in such programs for more take-home pay.
- Those “advanced” degrees cost taxpayer $$$s, increasing the cost of education to taxpayers.
Yet, study after study indicates that students are not learning more and, in some places, are learning less than was the case 50 years ago.
In the end, students aren’t learning and taxpayers are paying more for Master’s degree programs that promise to “empower others through teaching.”
Who’s the fool in this narrative?
Let the discussion begin…
To read about the miserable education young people are receiving in Detroit, click on the following link: