A Declaration of Professional Conscience for Teachers
Teachers, it is time to reclaim your profession. Endorse Kenneth S. Goodman’s A Declaration of Professional Conscience for Teachers!
Since the original publication of the Declaration, the attacks on teachers and public education have escalated dramatically. In the name of reform, accountability and standards, federal policies have so severely constricted teachers’ ability to exercise their professional judgment to enhance student learning that many have left teaching or chosen a different profession. Every day, public school teachers nationwide face the real problems of inequitable school funding, childhood poverty, decaying buildings, and test-driven mandates. Yet, teachers are being blamed for the problems of our public school systems, teacher certification has been devalued, and job security is being unfairly threatened.
We urge all teachers to stand tall in defense of the profession and the welfare of their students. Please read the key points of A Declaration of Professional Conscience for Teachers below and endorse it now!
To view and download the full Declaration Document please visit Richard C. Owen Publishers at http://www.rcowen.com/rcoprfdv.htm.
Signing this petition is just one step. Please join your fellow teachers and families at the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org/ and become an active supporter of this grassroots organization.
We are all in this together.
by Kenneth S. Goodman
As teachers we make the following declaration of professional conscience:
• We will make the welfare of our students our most basic criterion for professional judgment. We have no greater accountability than that we owe our pupils.
• We will work with parents and policymakers to formulate programs that are in the best interests of our pupils. We will work with our students to personalize these programs.
• We will respect all learners. We will cherish their strengths, accept and strive to understand their language and culture, seek to further their personal values, tastes, and objectives.
• We will oppose methods, materials, and policies that have the intent or effect of rejecting the personal and social characteristics of our students.
• We will, in all matters, and in all interactions, deal with our pupils fairly, consistently, honestly, and compassionately.
• We will do all we can to make school a warm, friendly, supportive place in which all pupils are welcome. Our classrooms will be theirs.
• We will provide guidance and leadership to support our students in the development of problem-solving, decision-making, and self-discipline.
• We will help them build a sense of respect and support for each other. We will help them appreciate and respect those who differ from them in culture, language, race, color, heritage, religion, sex, weight, height, physical strength or attractiveness, intelligence, interests, values, personal goals, or any other characteristics.
• We will not use corporal punishment on pupils of any age for any offense. We believe violence begets violence. We will not use marks or schoolwork as punishment. We will seek causes for problems and work with pupils to eliminate the causes of antisocial behavior rather than simply control the symptoms.
• Neither will we use tangible, extrinsic rewards such as candy, prizes, money, tokens, or special privileges as a means of controlling behavior. We regard all institutionalized forms of behavior modification as immoral and unethical. We will work with pupils, building on intrinsic motivation in all areas of curriculum and development.
• We will accept the responsibility of evaluating our pupils' growth. We will make no long- or short-range decisions that affect the future education of our pupils on the basis of a single examination no matter what the legal status of the examination. We will evaluate through ongoing monitoring of our pupils during our interactions with them. We will strive to know each pupil personally, using all available professional tools to increase our understanding of each and every one.
• We are teachers. We are not actors following scripts. We are not technicians servicing an educational machine. We are not delivery systems. We are not police officers, babysitters, petty despots, card punchers, paper shufflers, book monitors. We are not replaceable by machines.
• We are professionals. We have prepared ourselves for teaching by building knowledge of human development, human learning, pedagogy, curriculum, language, and cognition. We know the history of education. We know the competing philosophies of education. We have carefully built personal philosophies that provide us with criteria for making teaching decisions in the best interests of our pupils. We have a broad liberal education and an in-depth knowledge of the content areas in which we teach.
• We will use our knowledge base to support our students in their own quest for knowledge. The real curriculum is what happens to each learner. We, as teachers, are the curriculum planners and facilitators. We will not yield that professional responsibility to the publishers of texts or management systems. We will select and use the best educational resources we can find, but we will not permit ourselves or our pupils to be controlled by them.
• We will continually update our knowledge of education, of our fields of instruction, of the real world, because of our professional dedication to use all means to improve our effectiveness as teachers. We expect school authorities to support us in our professionalism and self-improvement. And we will oppose all policies that restrict our professional authority to use new knowledge or new pedagogical practices on behalf of our students.
• We believe that schools can well serve pupils, parents, and communities if the teachers in them function as responsible, dedicated, and compassionate professionals.
To that purpose we make this declaration of professional conscience.