Challenges to Education for the
James L. Morrison and Larry L. Leslie
from Morrison, J. L. &
Leslie, L. L. (1975). Challenges to education for the professions. Education,
Undersupplies of professional workers, "crisis" service modes, and out-moded delivery systems have increased the cost of, and reduced the availability of, many professional services. Unless professionals can alter their service modes and delivery systems to more effectively meet social needs, there is little hope that our major social problems will be solved. In this paper it is argued that professional schools must adjust enrollments to meet public needs and must reorganize their curriculums in order to inculcate a broader sense of social responsibility on the part of neophyte professionals and thereby assist in altering existing service modes and delivery systems.
to Education for the Professions
popular magazines, and professional journals are currently devoting
a great deal of attention to
problems in the education of disadvantaged children, the chaotic state of our
welfare system, the pollution and exploitation of our natural resources, the
shortages of physicians, the high cost of medical services, and the jamming of
court dockets. These are problems
which not only depress the standard of living of our population, but may also
serve to threaten the stability of our society.
People feeling, and thereby knowing,
that they are not getting good education for their children or the proper
medical care and legal services they deserve, become increasingly frustrated
with their lot in life and with the legitimacy of the social order.
These frustrations, combined with unemployment or underemployment and
real or perceived discrimination, were no doubt in part responsible for the
tragic and extensive civil disturbances experienced in the last decade.
is the authors' contention that the under-supply of professional workers and
outmoded delivery systems of many professions have added to societal problems in
America. At present we simply do not have a sufficient number of physicians to
render health care to everyone. We
are the last industrial nation in western society without universal health care.
We have slipped from the sixth ranked nation in infant mortality in 1950,
to fifteenth in 1961, and eighteenth in 1967.
The proportion of pregnant women receiving prenatal care is declining by
about two percent per year. These
statistics can only be explained by a broad inequality of medical treatment;
poor people simply do not receive health care.
to a recent article in U.S. News &
World Report, we presently have 155,000 fewer nurses than needed, and by
1975, it is expected our deficiencies will be nearly 200,000. Medicare and
Medicaid programs are certain to aggravate our present situation as are plans to
convert nurses to physicians' surrogates. Further,
one half of all children reach age 15
without having visited a dentist; and it takes little imagination to
speculate about extant dental services for the poor.
the first time in generations the teaching profession is no longer one of
insufficient numbers. To the
contrary, it appears that one important task now is to encourage colleges and
schools of education to reduce the number of candidates they admit.
The immediate employment situation is such that teacher oversupplies are
the case within most secondary fields everywhere, and in elementary education in
all but the remote geographic areas. In
spite of this, there is little evidence that education faculties are curbing
enrollments even though to do so would be a relief to the hard-pressed higher
the question of quantity comes that of quality.
Educational research has made possible a new "enlightened era,"
and within a few colleges of education, a handful of scattered school districts,
a few individual schools and some isolated classrooms, the enlightened age seems
surely to be finally upon us. However, away from these centers of enlightenment and
innovation, the picture does not appear to have changed in the past 50 years.
Across the nation, in by far a majority of cases, the typical classroom
remains one of neat rows of chairs, all facing the front, where a dominant
teacher is delivering her lecture- if she is one of the more ambitious
individuals. Otherwise, students
are involved in "individualized instruction" which means, as applied
in the typical case, they are reading the chapter on their own and answering the
questions at the end.
the disadvantaged school the situation is no better and no worse except that
here students will not survive in spite of the ineptitude of the teacher.
Here the teacher is unlikely to have any understanding of and less
tolerance for the culture of the disadvantaged student.
She has almost certainly not been schooled in the psychology and
sociology of the disadvantaged, and cultural pluralism is a concept beyond her
wildest imagination. In sum the
situation is in desperate crisis.
prevailing service mode and delivery system of the medical services field is as
dysfunctional as that in the teaching profession.
Physicians are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and
are not specifically trained in preventive and community medicine.
Yet it may be argued that preventative medicine is better suited to the
health needs of the poor. Personal
hygiene instruction, massive inoculation programs, and health education would
probably do more for the health of America's poor citizens than proper diagnosis
and treatment of diseases. There is
no assurance that a person who fails to understand his malady or the potential
of prescribed drugs will care for his person as specified by a physician; in
fact, far from there being assurance, most poor people are known not to follow
their physician's instructions.
social work, it appears that we have abetted a process of "welfare
colonialism" by which the social worker serves to “get the people
adjusted so they will live in hell and like it too." In less dramatic terms
this statement means that we have rendered many of the poor of this nation to a
position of dependence from which they can never escape.
Yet, few issues surrounding welfare controversies have gained as much
bipartisan support as has the principle that welfare should enhance personal
the "man on the street," attorneys appear preoccupied with protecting
criminals from the public, even though the single, original purpose of law was
the opposite of this. To many, the
adversary system seems to have become a game.
Even when the attorney knows his client to be guilty, his goal seems to
be merely "winning." The "ambulance chaser" is perhaps only
a popular stereotype of the practicing attorney, but it is a stereotype
symptomatic of a very real problem within the legal system.
It is a well-known fact and a national crisis that our courts are jammed
to the point whereby the guarantee to a speedy trial cannot be met.
Civil cases often require two or three years to come to trial.
Even criminal cases are seriously delayed; persons accused of criminal
offenses are imprisoned for months, or worse yet for subsequent victims,
they are freed for months pending trial.
we are briefly arguing here, is that undersupplies of professional workers,
"crisis" service modes, and outmoded delivery systems have increased
the cost of, and reduced the availability of, many professional services.
Unless professionals can alter their service modes and delivery systems
in such ways as to demonstrate their responsibility for the health care needs of
the central cities and rural poor, for the
protection of the rights of the general public as well as of the accused, for
the needs of the disadvantaged school child, for the great need for human
dignity and for the protection of the environment, there is little hope that our
major social problems will be solved.
What role do the professional schools bear
in altering professional service modes and delivery systems and in inculcating a
sense of social responsibility on the part of neophyte professionals? First, they can address the problem of supply of
professionals by adjusting enrollments to meet public needs.
It appears that professional schools in the past have been doing little
more than maintaining a balance in supply and demand favorable to their
profession. However, even if
applicants in sufficient numbers would apply and could meet the standards of
professional schools, the problem of supply would still not be fully resolved.
For what is needed is a supply of professionals sensitive to the, social
problems of our society and the relationship of these problems to the
requires that professionals increasingly be made socially aware. The most obvious means to this end and that most often
employed has been to require additional elective courses in the humanities and
in the social sciences. Unfortunately,
however, these courses are often taught as first courses toward the Ph.D. in the
respective disciplines. Often, the
least tasteful of all teaching assignments is the elective, service course.
It would be much more reasonable to teach such electives in an applied
fashion in which the implications of the humanities and the social sciences to
professional service could be developed. To
realize this objective, these courses should be taught within the professional
school by members of the profession involved rather than by members of parent
disciplines. These persons should
be generally concerned about the various social problems and, if possible,
possess relevant experience and formal training.
For example, physicians who have worked in the public health service or
in central-city clinics, teachers who have taught in poor disadvantaged schools,
and engineers who have worked in pollution control should be the teachers of
such electives. Formal
pre-professional education in the disciplines is "frosting on the
organizational changes must be made in professional schools.
We recommend that formal departments or programs be established in such
areas as family and community medicine, educating the disadvantaged,
environmental engineering, etc. Regardless
of inherent dangers, departmentalization is probably necessary to legitimate the
basic philosophy which such departments represent.
also recommend that professional internships take place in agencies located
where social problems exist. Internship
locations have often been selected to insulate neophyte professionals from
experiences that might be trying and frustrating.
Teaching internships, for
example, have characteristically avoided central-city schools, and similar
evasions have often been the rule in other fields.
If carefully designed, reversing such practices could facilitate the
development of social sensitivity, and generate a sense of responsibility among
many young professionals. When
professional schools begin to produce
such professionals in large numbers, the prospects for altering service ends.