When does 1910 = 2014?

 

In 1910 William Howard Taft was president of 46 states. Thomas Edison demonstrated talking movies. Mark Twain and O. Henry died. Mother Theresa and Dizzy Dean were born. So was my father, August Merz, Jr.

And The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching published Medical Education In the United States And Canada by Abraham Flexner, with an introduction by foundation president Henry S. Pritchett.

Flexner and Pritchett could hardly have known how relevent their 1910 report would be to teachers in 2014.

See for yourself by substituting “teacher” for “physician” in this quote and throughout this post.

Pritchett wrote, “As a rule Americans, when they avail themselves to the services of a physician, make only the slightest inquiry as to what his previous training and preparation have been.”

This quote may well come up in a seminal encounter this week when19 National Board Certified Teachers meet on Capital Hill with members of Congress who are Board-Certified physicians. They will discuss parallels between the professions.

Jodi Moskowitz, a participant, provides a link to Flexner report and writes about the upcoming meeting in her recent post, The Medical Model, What Can Educators Learn From It? The piece is worth quoting at length:

What can we as educators learn from all this? EVERYTHING! By streamlining education preparation programs, we can better prepare future teachers. Once teachers complete university programs and student teaching, they need residency schools – much like doctors enter residency hospitals. Consider what your first year of teaching was like. Most of us had informal mentoring programs at best; this is causing a huge teacher-turn-over rate. In residency schools first-year teachers can be mentored by the most accomplished of teachers who will already work there. By valuing these accomplished teachers and teacher leaders, we can elevate our profession to just that – a true profession.

She concludes by saying the meeting is a starting point and asks where it will go from there. I hope it leads in two directions.

First, I hope teachers and doctors will someday soon discuss issues encompassed in these quotes from the Flexner Report:

[Medical] Educational institutions … are peculiarly sensitive to outside criticism and particularly to any statement of the circumstances of their own conduct or equipment, which seems to them unfavorable in the comparison with that of other institutions.

And:

The fundamental sciences upon which medicine depends been greatly extended.

And:

The quality of the training varied with large limits with the capacity and conscientiousness of the master.

Second, I hope that teachers will organize similar meetings with engineers and lawyers to discuss the parallels we have with those professions, too.

But first, let’s see what comes from next week’s meeting.

 

Sandy Merz

I grew up in Silver City, New Mexico and went the University of New Mexico, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. After working for the U.S. Geological Survey in remote regions of western New Mexico, I moved to Tucson to attend graduate school at the University of Arizona, earning a Master of Science degree in Hydrogeology. While working as an intern hydrologist for a local county agency, I started doing volunteer work that involved making presentations in schools. At that moment I knew teaching was the path to follow. It must have been a good decision because I’m still on the path after thirty-two years. My teaching certificates are in math and science and I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education. After teaching engineering and math and elective classes at the same school in downtown Tucson my whole career, I’ve moved to a different middle school and district on the edge of town to teach math. In addition to full time teaching, I am actively involved in the teacher leadership movement by facilitating National Board candidates, blogging for Stories from School Arizona, and serving on the Arizona K12 Center’s TeacherSolutions team. In January 2017, Raytheon Missile System named me a Leader in Education and I’m a former Arizona Hope Street Fellow.

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