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Posts Tagged ‘professionals’

At the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention last week (July 7-11) in Seattle a resolution was passed that called for unionizing charter schools into already existing AFT locals (not separate locals) and called for transparency in budget, student progress, funding, and corporate and private interests. Apparently the AFT already represents 140 charter schools. All of the Baltimore charter schools are unionized and in NYC the AFT runs several charter schools.

Many of us were alarmed by this resolution because of the apparent embrace of the AFT of charter schools with the resultant move to privatization. The strongest objections came from the teachers from Washington, DC, and Chicago. The DC teachers worried about the influence of the private corporations/entities that run their charter schools on collective bargaining. The Baltimore teachers had no hesitation.

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This is my fourth and final post on the academic job market and the future of college teaching as a profession.  Quick review:  in earlier installments I noted the devastation that came to academic employment via the crash of 2008; proposed that recovery from that crash will not restore the jobs lost, either across the whole economy or specifically in higher education; suggested that our profession is a moribund institution; and laid out some lines of action it (for instance, the Modern Language Association) would need to take in order to have a chance of rebuilding its market haven. (more…)

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There are not nearly enough jobs for people with new Ph.D. degrees.  Two-thirds of those teaching English and foreign languages in colleges and universities (with or without the Ph.D.) are off the tenure track.  The numbers are similar in most humanities and social science fields, and far from good in the sciences.  I’m going to leave non-liberal arts fields out of this discussion, noting only that a lot of teaching in, say, law and business is done by adjuncts, too.  In my last blog on this subject (March 12), I said I’d later discuss ways of fighting this change for the worse in academic labor.  It is bad for thousands of contingent workers, and ruinous for our profession.  In this installment I will focus on that last point, and speak of measures that might bring the supply of qualified professionals more in line with the demand for them.  Sorry for the market language, but we are in a market–well, you are; I’m retired–and a profession tries to be a market haven for its members, including those newly certified.
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“Full- and part-time faculty members teaching off the tenure track are professionals who make indispensable contributions to their institutions.”  This point turns up in a February brief by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce, called “One Faculty Serving All Students.”  The Coalition does good work, including this brief aimed at persuading universities and college to treat contingent workers decently.

But take a close look at this way of using the term “professionals.”  It has at least three common meanings.  (1) It often refers to athletes and others who play for a living, in contrast to amateurs.  No problem.  (2) It’s also often used to credit people whose work is skillful, dedicated, based on sound knowledge, and so on.  No problem here, either–except when this meaning blurs into the third one:  (3) a person who works as a recognized member of a recognized profession.
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