The professionals

Teachers, we are told (mostly by teachers) are professionals--and they require treatment befitting such. Alas, the facts don't always support the claims. Take, for instance, last week's protest in Los Angeles, in which some 75 percent of that city's public-school educators left their posts and their pupils to stand outside their schools, wave signs, and demand that state budget cuts in education be rescinded. They were prompted to this display of unprofessionalism by the United Teachers Los Angeles, a union led by A.J. Duffy, who noted that any teacher not following his commands "will be crossing a picket line." One's mental image of a professional isn't usually that of a brow-beaten employee who, threatened by union bosses, is forced from his place of work onto the street and there made to march and holler. Professionals generally retain autonomy. They are devoted to their work. They do not leave their jobs whenever legislators displease them. They do not actively undermine the purported goals of their institution. Teachers: if you want to be viewed and treated as professionals, you'll need to act accordingly.

"Budget protest takes L.A. teachers out of classrooms," by Jason Song and Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times, June 7, 2008

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