Looking Out for #1: Professors, like other professionals in American society, are losing sight of their civic obligations

Donald Downs:

A troubling attitude seems prevalent today in many professional circles: confusing one’s own self-interest or viewpoint with the public interest. This problem is especially troubling in fields that have historically prided themselves on service.
Take universities and their role in training teachers. In April, the Wisconsin Association of Colleges of Teacher Education — the umbrella group representing 13 UW System campuses and prominent private colleges and universities such as Marquette, Beloit and Alverno — announced that its members would not participate in a U.S. News and World Report survey intended to assess the quality of teaching programs.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this survey would be the “first-ever review of the nation’s roughly 1,400 colleges of education” and a response to a 2006 report issued by Teachers College at Columbia University, which claimed that less qualified students are going into teaching.
Teacher quality is of growing importance for at least two reasons beyond the concern noted by the Columbia report. First, reports continue to show American students falling further behind those of other nations, especially in the vital subjects of math and science. Second, many education schools teach progressive pedagogical theories and methods that critics claim are not rigorous enough to prepare students to master arduous subjects.